Do you ever go through times where life has been so nuts and there's been so much crap, so much overwhelming crap that you just start to coast in your faith? And it's not that you mean to, or that you're not wanting to focus on God, but you just get so tired and so busy that you slowly push Him to the sidelines.
At first, it's not that noticeable. You're not spending as much time in the word, or in prayer, but your heart is still there; you're still spending the day singing worship songs randomly and chattering away to God. As time goes on, you still chatter at Him, but you're not really feeling Him there; you've stopped hearing his voice. But life is so crazy, there's so much stress and distress that you don't really notice.
You don't lose faith as you're going along... You stay where you are. You trust God, but you slowly start to feel yourself getting beaten down.
I don't know about you, but my biggest flaw when I hit that point is that it's like I put myself on cruise control. Outwardly, I'm great. I'm passionately pursuing God even when I'm tripping and falling and I am super optimistic about the outcome of everything. But inside? Inside I'm a wreck. I'm still on cruise control, but I'm not stopping at any gas stations to refuel. But just like a car's engine will begin to slow down as fuel runs low, the same happens to us. And I keep pushing forward, refusing to stop and admit that I'm weak. I try to do quick refuels; a little longer prayer time before bed, reading a little snippet of the Word each day, and while I can fool myself for a little while that it's working, eventually I have to come to terms with the fact that I can't hear God's voice and that His will, His Word and His presence are not covering my heart.
But I still try to hide from it. Why do we do that? We know but we just keep struggling. For me, it's a pride issue. I don't like asking for help... I don't like needing help. I have this thing where I have to do it on my own, I have to be strong enough to stand firm and not falter. I hate weakness. I can excuse it in others, but weakness in myself is detestable. So I keep pushing forward, being dragged down by the armour I've put on myself that's way too heavy an too large for me, refusing to admit that I'm dragging myself to my own destruction.
Eventually, we hit a point where we have no choice but to face the fact that we've been on autopilot for far too long and that we're no longer overflowing with God's light.
Our hearts are becoming filled, at that point, with struggles that Christ normally helps us to conquer. Irritation and anger begin to retake our hearts, and the more we try to ignore it, the more predominant it becomes.
But the great thing about God is that He loves us, despite our faults. He'll nudge us and nudge us until we respond. Sometimes, it takes a while for us to notice. Often-times, as soon as that nudging starts, Satan takes the opportunity to bring in someone to knock you away from God's nudges. They bring condemnation for your struggles, and push instead of softly pulling. But God keeps nudging.
And that's where I'm at now. Recognizing the nudge. I've been so hardened by trying to be strong that I've been unable to notice the nudges. But God is incredible. He knows me, He knows my heart, and He waits patiently for the right moment to stir my heart with a flash of emotion, a flash of a state of my heart when I was fully on fire for Him. And that stirring snaps me back. Its a subtle reminder that I need to turn off cruise control and, pardon the cliche term, hand Jesus the wheel.
And I don't know about you, but for me it's that exact thing that shows the depth of God's love for us. Because even when we've lost our focus and taken control back from Him, He still waits to bring us back to His arms so He can carry us through the hard times.