A Nightly Ritual
When I was in junior high, I wrote in a fake leather diary with a bold warning on the cover ‘Top Secret.’ Protected with only a flimsy lock, I took extra security measures to hide it in the back of my underwear drawer. To read it now, makes me laugh, then cringe, then cry. So much unnecessary heartache. Oh what I would say to my precious and impressionable twelve-year old self.
This past week I’ve taken the time to go back and read some more recent history. My blog and before then my Facebook postings (especially during Ian’s multiple recoveries) serve as a sequential personal account. Maybe not as juicy, but still a window into my malleable heart. Whether I acknowledged Him or not, God has been constant. For that, I am grateful.
The Benefit to Me
I’m both humbled and delighted to know how my readers benefit from my honest writing. But, as I look back at the ground I’ve covered, I can’t deny it. The biggest benefactor has been me. A degree of accountability has happened from living my faith out loud. To think about the Lord in the context of what to write about requires that my relationship with Him remain a priority.
But I confess …the luxury of writing less frequently has teased me to consider quitting all together. I mean… it’s not exactly adding to our bank account, or my exercise goals, or even my family responsibilities.
The moment the thought entered my mind, it was as if I hit a rumble strip. You know those patches of rough pavement that alert a driver to pay attention. The intrusive sound and vibration slows you down or at least jolts you enough to realize you’ve drifted to the shoulder. The Holy Spirit reminded me of the importance to stay alert and attentive, for my own sake. He’s right… for me this blog has become an effective tool to guard against potentially sloppy and selfish living.
The way I see it, drifting away from the Lord is just way too easy. And because it’s so subtle, I think it’s the most prevalent offense of our day. The writer of Hebrews would agree.
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
How exactly does it happen? What do we do to drift?…
Wait for it…
We do nothing, and that is the point.
Drifting is deceptive. It isn’t deliberate and never sudden. It occurs so gradually that it’s hardly noticeable. Because it just happens, no wonder we so often find ourselves wondering… how did I get here? If we were honest, here are some possible signs of drifting. Do any apply to you?
- I’ve become less interested in what God thinks.
- Why pray, it doesn’t seem to help.
- My anxiety is worse than ever.
- I’m most interested in me and my comfort.
- I lack purpose and joy.
- I rationalize my blatant sin because everybody does it.
- The Bible isn’t relevant, so why read it?
- I question God’s character.
- I’ve become desensitized to the immorality around me.
- I rarely notice God’s hand or hear His voice.
- When I do connect with Christian friends, I’d rather just chat.
- Occasional zoom church is good enough.
The Current of our Day
In this day and age, the current is STRONG and the undertow unforgiving. Remember when we were all told the church was non-essential? Our culture wants us to believe that lie. Have you noticed the effort to water down the truth by undermining the authority of scripture? The world wants us to discard what doesn’t fit our time. It’s just easier for them if we become lackluster and indifferent.
Pay closer attention Hebrews 2:1 cautions. Why? Lest we drift. Perhaps the author knew that the more comfortable we become, the less attentive we will be to God, His word and His ways.
Did you know that it was the serpent who asked the very first question in the Bible… did God really say that? After 2000+ years, the enemy has not changed his schtick. Some of us who have walked with the Lord a long time may wrongly assume we can take a break and simply rely on what we already know. It doesn’t work that way. No matter how seasoned we are in the faith every one of us is vulnerable to drifting.
Because the Lord knows we’re vulnerable, He provided extra help. The Holy Spirit.
John 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Have you become too comfortable? Perhaps it’s time you dust off the rumble strips in your life. Those people who keep you accountable and those disciplines that keep you vigilant. If you notice that you’ve drifted, God stands always ready to welcome you back.
Heavenly Father, You are my anchor. Forgive me for becoming too comfortable and taking this Christian life for granted. Thank you for my very own rumble strips– Your Holy Word and the Holy Spirit. Help me to pay closer attention so that I recognize the enemy and am aware of my drifting. Especially now, I want to stay vigilant to be ready for your return. Amen.
Toni Hulce says
You are so amazing and each of your blogs brings such clarity to me.
Being housebound, as most of us have been, for so long, would have been longer without your articles on Wednesdays and throughout Lent.
We remain pretty housebound due to medical issues and we are so grateful for our Services on line. We have not missed a single one since the beginning of the Pandemic. Doug’s sermons have been outstanding.
We thank you for the rumble strip blog today-Outstanding. Thank you Deb. I thank God for you.
Wish I could give you a hug sweet Toni. Stay the course. 🙂
Berta Pitzer says
Amen sister!!! The book Healing Codes encourages us to spend 6 minutes 3 times daily meditating on God’s healing word! It’s been a great tool to keep me focused!
Thanks for this reminder too!!
Thank you Berta. It is quite remarkable that words collected on a page from centuries ago can have such an impact.
Anne kole says
Debbie, please don’t quit your blog! I look forward to it each time and you give me many truths to ponder. Today you are giving me a wake up call. I think I have drifted into complacency about God’s word. I read it every day….a few verses, respond in my journal and feel all set for the day. But how often do I truly study it, Read it multiple times, and then meditate on it? Not very often! God’s word has become familiar and comfy instead of challenging. Even in a Bible study class with others, I am complacent. May God forgive me and give me new zeal for his word. Thank you for another heart-opening blog today.💕
Wow… Anne, you set the bar high. But isn’t it true… it’s so much more meaningful when we don’t just approach it as a task to check off the list. Thanks, as always. Debbie
Your ability to express your feelings so well helps me to examine my own drifting. Thank you for providing some rumble strips of your own to my life. Please keep writing!
Ha. I’ve been known to provoke others a time or two. Thanks Margie.
Thank you Debbie! I agree with the others, please do not stop writing. Your light is meant to shine.
Gail, Thanks for being such a faithful encourager. Debbie
I think, “Oh good it is Wednesday, I can read Debbie’s blog.” Your words have inspired and helped me when begin to drift or hit the rumble strips.
God bless you.
Thank you Martha! Miss you. Debbie
Wow Debbie, again God has used a simple illustration of a rumble strip to allow you to present profound truth that we can live out in our everyday lives. This was so pertinent to me as we have driven more than fifty hours on our road trips these last few weeks, and encountered several rumble strips indicating the need for correction. May I be as alert to the Holy Spirit’s rumble strips and not resist His correction as I walk with Him daily. Your blogs are truly a blessing!
Your blog has become so important to so many. Confessions that assure us we’re not alone in our shortcomings. Meaningful scriptures that touch our hearts. And encouragement that can make all the difference. Your blog is one of the ways I can get off those pesky rumble strips that make me lose my focus, my biggest weakness. I’m grateful every day for all the ways our church works to keep me from drifting and, when I do, bringing me back. You’re one of those ways. Thank you, thank you for the tremendous time, energy, thought, and prayer you commit to this blog ministry. I would miss it terribly.
Thank you Dorma. You encourage me.
Randy Ott says
You are soooooo right. My Katherine have been going along with most issues insignificant. Then yesterday, Tuesday, June 22, the oncologist told us I had smoldering myeloma in my bone marrow (12%). Smoldering means it is somewhere between M-Gus and full blown myeloma. We both hugged each other this morning and cried. We are scared. We pray we can put our trust in God to learn his plan. I have a Pet/CT scan next Wednesday, June 30 to determine if I have any bone lesions.
When everything is going OK I forget to pray, to read the Bible.
I ask you and Doug to say a prayer for Katherine and me.
Of course, I’ll lift you in prayer. He does use our challenges to pull us close. Cling to Him, He is up to the task of carrying you through. Debbie
Emmy Browning says
Wonderful blog. Please don’t stop. I look forward to them so much. I often hit the rumble strips when things are going well. It’s a reminder to follow the course at all times. Sometimes hard to do.
Yes. I’m with you. We tend to press in closer to Him in the hard times.
Bonnie Scott says
I look forward to your blogs every week. You have no idea how much GOOD you do for people who are hurting, lost, feeling broken and alone. I feel like we’re all a family in this crazy world – we need to share our thoughts and feelings. You go girl, don’t stop the blogs..!
Awww good to hear from you Bonnie. I miss you. Thx for your encouragement.
Understand the commitment to write consistently, but Debbie, you definitely have a talent here and you have the uncanny ability to hit the nail right on the head, at least for me anyway.
Do what you need to do but I do enjoy and pay attention to your blog.
Thank you Kerry.
Cathie McKenzie says
I rode that Rumble Strip too long and too often in my younger years. I’m doing better now, but still lesrning. You are a huge part of the awareness of God’s Love and Power , “no matter what” , He is with me. There may not be money attached, nor time for workouts Deb, but do step back and digest what is said in here by those who read your heartfelt Blog. I’m a new follower having come in this past Lent,you inspire me with your writing, you challenge me, you comfort me.. If bet you a million Calories that all of us feel very much the same. Is it not so that everything we do in God’s name, is part of His Plan for our lives ?
I honestly never intended to get so much encouragement to continue. This week I was speaking what was on my heart. But thanks Cathie… and everyone else for that matter. I’m humbled to stay the course.
Karen Shope says
Debbie last Sunday night my nephew was killed on his motorcycle on I-40. Did he hit the rumble strip? Yes. Was he paying attention? Probably not at 38 he thought he was invensible. It was determined speed and inexperience caused the accident. Your article reminded me of the many times I have been invensible. Being a Christian for many years I still want to speed and think I know what God wants before I ask Him. At times I want to believe I have the experience to relate to anything. I act in utter disregard to my God’s plan and instead speed head on and think to myself I have this covered but I don’t. As you put it I hit the rumble strips and then wonder why I put myself in a position that could have easily been avoided. I guess what I’m trying to say is rumble strips can be a warning or they can be a deadly reminder of what happens if we go to fast and try to out think God’s plan.
Oh my Goodness Karen. Your insight took my breath away. Lord have mercy for our arrogance that we too are invincible. Prayers for you!!! I am so very sorry.
Karen Shope says
Thank you Debbie. My solid rock is Jesus Christ and I will stand on him to get through this difficult time. It would be to easy to sink in despair and that is what the devil would want me to do. Please pray for Frank he will be going to identify our nephew tomorrow.
Will do! Thx for your living testimony. 🙏💔
Deena Murphy says
Debbie, I so much agree with these other readers. You renew my determination to run the race to win it when I read your heartfelt words. Please know I so much appreciate all the time you must spend to do this. I need to let you know that more often. The other women that I have recommended your blog to look forward to reading it also. I’m praying you will continue. My love to you and yours
Thank you Deena. Good to hear from you friend. For now… I’m staying the course, bi-monthly 🙂
TONI K HULCE says
We are so blessed to be able to read your messages whenever you send them. They always bring light and clarity to my life. Thank you dear Deb.
God bless you and take care of you.
Thank you Toni for your kind encouragement. Debbie