Oh, we get so silly at times.
When God wanted to free me from shyness (which I believed simply was what it was), I, instead, wanted Him to help me write such great letters to my friends that they'd write me right back.
When He wanted to deal with me about complaining, I prayed that I'd be able to read the Bible through in a year to keep up with my friends (though I pretended He didn't know that last part).
When He corrected me about being overly sensitive and getting offended over every unkind word spoken to me at church, I wanted Him to make me the best Bible teacher on the planet (so that the planet would sit up, listen and throw flowers to me).
No wonder we grow so slowly in faith, in love, in God. We're too often not even on the same page with Him in His personal notebook with our name on the front. Many is the time I've tried to skip ahead to the more fun pages, the easier pages, when all along God was saying, "Hey Debra. You're not even past page 3 yet. You're still back here in the Basic Chapters."
Bleh. The Basics aren't fun, are they?
Wrong. In God, The Basics are amazing because they're so darn freeing and life changing--and healing.
And they are the most necessary. Page One is the same for all of us: Love God With All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength. But you know? Tons of Christians are 'out there' trying so hard to birth baby Christians without knowing, for themselves, God's passionate (passionate!), unconditional love for themselves. Without having a moment-by-moment love affair happening with Jesus.
We cannot share what we've never even had in the first place.
So today I would say do not despise The Basics. Do not try to skip ahead to the pages in your own personal notebook which God is not even close to reading along with you.
If you haven't yet learned to daily receive God's unconditional, passionate (passionate!) love for you, warts and all, start there. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. (heh). Chuck all your plans for becoming the greatest Christian example in your neighborhood or the best singer in your church or the best darn little Christian, period, that God ever created ... and instead, start with Christianity 1A:
God is love.
He is not mad at you.
He is not punishing you.
He has never made a mistake in His whole life.
He wants to spend every moment of your day loving you, teaching you, helping you grow-up and to laugh with you, cry with you, to walk with you into the supermarket, steering your cart with you, even.
He wants to take the pressure off of you to change yourself and to, instead, let Him change you and set you free from yourself and heal you. Permanently.
Start there. Take whatever time it requires to immerse yourself in that love, be it weeks or months or even years. And then--only then, when God moves--move onto Page 2. God will be waiting there. In love.
I've probably mentioned these books before, but I've been enjoying (again) the Grace Chapel Inn books. Check them out here. (They're numbered for you.) Very cozy stuff.
Oh! And finally (finally!) I read one of Deborah Raney's books. She's been a delightful blogging buddy of mine for years and I finally got it together and ordered Remember to Forget. Gracious. I read it in less than 24 hours, could not put it down and loved it! Check it out here.
Freely you have received, freely give. But notice, there is no giving without having first received.