Hungry Haley

it's more than food

FAITH: Living Near to God

Faith, Health, LifeHaley HansenComment

Father, just pull me in close to You. Wrap me up in Your arms and don't ever let me squeeze my way out. My deepest desire, underneath the the most worldly ones that cloud my mind everyday, is to feel Your presence as if it were my backpack, or my shirt, or my earrings. I want nothing to stand between You and me. 

This weekend, Cru hosted its annual Fall Retreat. I could go on and on, writing pages about the friendships I developed, the new faces I met, the beautiful beach-side weather, and how I found vegan options everywhere we went, but I can do that anytime. What's most important here is the paragraph in Italics above - that was my prayer before and during Fall Retreat, but it's transformed since then.

The theme of this weekend was road-tripping with the Lord. One question the speaker repeatedly asked was, "Who do you follow?" with an emphasis on who and not what. At first, I thought, I follow Jesus, duh, but as I stepped back from my ego I realized that sometimes I don't. Sometimes, I follow my parents' suggestions, or a vegan-vlogger on Instagram, or my best friends when I don't know what to do or when I can't hear God's answer to my prayers. "Trace the master," the speaker said, as I sunk into my realization. When I was a kid and didn't know how to color, I traced the outline of another picture. Do I trace God's word and His teachings when I feel lost? Does my life paint a picture of my faith in my Father who saved me? 

When I couldn't bring myself to answer these questions, I prayed those words above, begging God to pull me in and strap me in tight. In Exodus 33:14, the Lord tells Moses that He is with him everywhere. 

The Lord replied, ‘I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest - everything will be fine for you.’
— Exodus 33:14, NLT

The Lord is always with me. The Lord is always with me. The Lord is always with me. Then why do I not feel Him go through those dry spells when I can't feel God there with me? God showed me His answer to that by directing me to Philippians 4:8-9...

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your eyes on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you have learned and received from me - everything you heard form me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
— Philippians 4:8-9

...and I was like, "Ohhhhhh, gotcha." I hadn't been tracing God. I'd been tracing my parents, my favorite bloggers/vloggers, my best friends (no matter how in love with God they may be), and myself. I know that there is no right or wrong way to pray, but I think God was waiting for me to realize that I am the one who needs to draw closer to Him, not Him to me. When I gave my life to Christ, God pulled me in, but as distractions and "to-do's" come about, I let them squeeze in between that heavenly embrace. 

God never disappears completely. He never takes the exit ramp when road-tripping with me. The only time I can't see Him is when I forget to use my windshield wipers to de-fog - when my mind is juggling school, midterms, work, friendships, family, boys, myself, and blah blah blah. While those are all important to a certain extent, by giving them too much attention I inflate my ego, fog my windshield, and involuntarily release myself a little more from that heavenly embrace. 

I want to be aware of my surroundings - my family, best friends, favorite bloggers, schoolwork, etc. - but my deepest desire is to be so intertwined/absorbed/wrapped up in God's presence that my surroundings remain surroundings rather than examples/tracers/too-powerful-distractions. My goal is for my life to paint a picture of God's beautiful love, grace, and mercy. It doesn't have to be pretty, because that might signify too much focus on the opinion of my surroundings. 

I'm not a perfect artist - in fact, I'm not even really an artist according to the world's definition. I am a student holding a pencil, tracing God's image. God is in the car with me on my life's road-trip, and He wants me to (as cliche as this may be) sit back and enjoy the ride. :) 

So Father, this is me taking your hand, buckling myself in to the passenger seat, picking up the pencil, ready to follow you, to trace your steps. As these worldly wants and "needs" cloud my mind, help me de-fog. Honk the horn if You have to. YOU are my deepest desire and my most vital necessity. YOU are the warmest, most comforting and rejuvenating embrace, and I want to live, rest, eat, breathe in Your arms. Thank you for always welcoming me back in :)