The best thing I can compare this to is detoxing from a drug. The road to addiction is a gradual one. You aren't sober one day and an addict the next. You start off clear headed, and step by step, day by day you slip a little further into the fog. By the time you've sunk beneath it, clear-headedness is so far behind you that you forget what it felt like. You've lost your footing, and you accept your new normal. You accept the fog.
Then comes detox. Each day you watch the fog clear a little more, and you see the long lost light burst through the breaks. Your eyes refocus, your mind becomes sharp again, and your feet find the ground. Oh, and there's a lot of retching and vomiting, but we won't get into all that.
A few days into my internet detox, the fog lifted. The distractions were gone, and so was my desire to be distracted. Suddenly I was able to have a clear focus on God, and I began to pursue that eagerly. What I pictured in my mind was me running through a field of daisies into some great spiritual awakening. There would be rainbows. There would be dancing. And there would be a new found lightness of spirit. I expected to find something big and great, which I did. What surprised me was its form.
When my great awakening came, I felt anything but liberated. Instead, I began to feel like God was literally pressing down on me with a new burden. A heavy burden. He was being the kind of father that pushes his child, and challenges her to go beyond herself. And for a little while, I tried to push back.
About a week into it all things came together, and I understood exactly what He was trying to tell me.
"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him in the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection of the dead." (Philippians 3:7-11)
Suddenly, I felt like I was on a game show. Things began to click, and the bell began to ding.
"...for the sake of Christ."
"...the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."
"...in order that I may gain Christ..."
"...that I may know him in the power of his resurrection..."
"...and share in his sufferings..."
"...becoming like him in his death..."
"...that by any means possible..."
"...I may attain the resurrection of the dead."
At some point over the past several year I have (mentally) grounded Christ. In my mind, I took the Risen Lord who is seated at the right hand of God, and I began to reel him in. Out of the heavens, back through the clouds, and back into that tomb. I was living as if my Lord was merely a body in a white shroud. A thing of history books and legends. Someone to be admired and emulated. Talked about. Loved. Even someone you hope to someday be reunited with. But not God.
It was when I realized this, and fell on my face before God, that the Son began to rise.
Then came another challenge. A question I found myself fumbling over an answer for. "If you could have all of the blessings of Christ— salvation, peace, and access to God— without actually knowing Christ, would it be enough? Would you be content with his blessings if you didn't have Him?"
It was about this time that the burden that was pushing down on me became heavier than ever. As I began to grasp bits and pieces of what I have been missing, my perspective on the world and the people in it became dire. Suddenly I'm looking at everyone with a big question mark. Do they know Christ? They say they do, but they don't live like it. How can they know Christ and still have so much hate? How can they know Christ and be so content to look like the world? How can they know Christ if they are constantly living by a list of do's and don'ts. How can they know Christ if they have no joy?
More than ever before, I was overwhelmed. Unsure of where or how to begin. And wishing I could go back to the fog. It was easier when things were fuzzy. It was easier when I could just assume that everyone who said they were "saved" was indeed saved. It was easier when I believed that a prayer was salvation. It was easier when I could enjoy watching a movie without questioning whether or not each and every actor on the screen was on their way to hell.
It was midway through the month, and the Son was still rising. But as he rose, the burden became heavier and heavier. My husband would tell you that I turned into the cartoon that has the rain cloud overhead at all times. That's how I felt. But things would soon turn around.
To be continued.