Going Through the Motions

Emily Teterud – Associate Marketing Director

I was listening to a song on the radio the other day with a bunch of lyrics that kind of frustrated me. The content itself was uplifting and a great message. In fact…it was positive and encouraging, if you know what I mean. Haters gon’ hate—I listen to KLOVE sometimes.

But here’s what was frustrating me—there were powerful words sung about Jesus being for us and loving us and being all that we need. What’s not to love about that? I know, right? I believe all of those concepts, truly I do! But, I don’t know that I’ve been experiencing them lately. That’s super scary to admit. Does anyone else sometimes feel like we try to encourage each other or ourselves with the same ol’ cliché churchy phrases and…it doesn’t really help? In a recent message at Central, I was reminded that it’s okay to tell God you’re not okay. It’s okay to wrestle with Him, and He can handle any frustration I throw His way in a skeptical prayer. So, I’ve given Him an earful. And I’m so thankful He still loves my whiny self.

I’ve been in a season lately where I don’t feel like God is answering me in my prayers. I thoroughly check my motives and the things I’m asking for or wanting guidance on. I ask for wisdom, and I take comfort in the fact that He has literally promised to give wisdom generously to those who ask (James 1:5). But then I wait…and I wait…and don’t sense His “presence.” I start over-thinking things like I love to do and wonder, maybe I’m just not recognizing Him and His work. Maybe He knows I don’t have any major problems—that there are others hurting more—and He has other things to worry about. Maybe I’m somehow praying wrong. Maybe I need to put in more effort before He’ll show up in a tangible way. Some of those are clearly lies from the Enemy, but he’s a crafty one, and I’ll admit I’ve let some of them take up residence in my heart.

One thing I’ve been clearly shown as an issue in my life recently is patience. I am a results-driven person, and I don’t like being patient. So, when I pray and don’t see results, it’s defeating and discouraging. I want to identify the problem and move on to a solution that will fix it. So, if I’m being real, I often think to myself—well, if prayer isn’t “fixing” the problem, then why bother? And it’s equally encouraging and discouraging to hear others who have these amazing prayer experiences or God moments where they see such tangible ways of God showing up. Sometimes I feel like I’m jumping up and down waving my arms madly at God and saying, “Hey…I want to experience that too! Can I have some of that?”

So, where does that leave me now? I am SO looking forward to the day when I can look back on days like today and see how God was shaping me and molding me in the midst of His apparent silence. I’m excited to get to a place where I can fully trust, because in this season God was faithful.

For now, I am going through the motions. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it!!? I feel like that’s not what we are supposed to do as believers. There’s even a Matthew West song about it! But let me explain. I believe there is value in remaining faithful to what God has called us to do. And if I only pray and read Scripture and honor God when I feel like it’s getting me somewhere, then what kind of relationship is that? I would hate to look back on a season like this and think, man I wish I would have just kept going and trusting God instead of giving up so quickly.

If you’re in a season of doubt or pain, please keep on trusting God! I say that as a fellow believer who can’t sense how my personal prayer requests will get better, but I am determined to be faithful through this season! God hasn’t given up, but He knows how to best develop our character and our lives for His glory.

Here’s an amazing verse to cling to:

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

But let’s remember that when we choose to trust God, we are choosing to trust His timing, His will, and His plan. I have an inkling that, eventually, “going through the motions” in this season will turn into deeply-rooted habits that are a thriving part of my walk with God. I look forward to the day!

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Going Through the Motions

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About The Author
- I am the programming coordinator at Central Christian Church AZ. I also moderate the Central Teaching Blog. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!