(a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life, usually dull or unpromising: to fall into a rut.)
We all have them. They sneak up on us from behind, clinging to our backs, pushing us down until we are lying helpless on the floor. Ok, so maybe that is a little dramatic, but I sure have felt that way before. Like there is no way out. The energy I need to complete my tasks just isn't there to pull from, so there I am, on my own and lacking the will to do what I should. Cleaning house and doing laundry ruts happen often for me. I get into ruts with my writing - I am in one now, hence the reason for this post. Relationships suffer. My husband gets the leftovers when he should be getting my best. Even worse, I find that when I am in a rut, my spiritual life takes a back seat to everything and nothing.
When I am feeling down and the stresses of my life seem to weigh heavy, the last thing I want to do in all honesty is take time out to pray and read my Bible. That may not be what you'd expect to hear from a pastor's wife, but it is the truth. I have had many days, especially lately, where I just don't feel like praying or journaling. I had a day not too long ago when I was going to write in my prayer journal only to see that the previous entry was the exact same prayer I had in my heart to pray that day. Turns out I have a lot of entries over the course of the past year or two that bear resemblance. On this particular day, instead of trying to see the silver lining, in true rut-fashion, I got angry and decided that I wasn't going to pray. God had heard my request time and time again, and I was tired of talking to him about it. I know, this sounds extremely mature, but it was how I felt.
Honesty is good.
Something I am learning is that God wants me to be honest with him. Even if I am upset, or feeling down - he already knows what is going on inside of me, so I may as well open myself up to having those conversations with him. When I don't understand why the prayers in my prayer journal have yet to be answered, it is ok for me to express that to him. If I am feeling blue or am down for one reason or another, I don't have to pretend everything is ok for him. He knows me - every part. Being real and honest in my relationship with God will only deepen it.
Growing up I developed the mentality that everything had to be right and when I went before God, I needed to have on a good face - I would feel guilty when I experienced depressed days, or if I started to question anything about what he was doing, or not, in my life at the time. My relationship with God was driven mainly by guilt and fear. He doesn't want that at all. He has called me his daughter. As a daughter, I know that I can go to my father on good and bad days and let him see me as I am, not as I pretend to be, and still experience his love, goodness, grace, and kindness towards me. He desires my honesty and is ok when I question or get upset. He wants to teach me things through those times that I otherwise wouldn't be able to learn.
I want to lose the masks.
I don't want to wear a mask in front of anyone, especially not my Father. I don't need a mask because he loves me just the way I am! He is the one who created me, after all. It is a process - both church culture and the culture we enter as soon as we start school is full of people-pleasing that results in a bunch of mask-wearing men and women walking around.
I saw a tweet Donald Miller sent out this week that went like this "The fear of 'being yourself' is akin to people pleasing (and in my twisted way, pleasing God). Don't worry about it. Jesus won't be asking a jury to chime in."
Those words were pleasing to me. God created me. He loves me and knows me better than anyone else ever could. He loves me through my ruts, as well as the most productive and happy times of my life.
What would our churches look like if we all began to live real life in front of each other? No masks. No fake smiles. Just the family of God that we are, coming together to worship and do life.