A Circle of Words

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 I’m such a talker.
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I can talk about anything, write about anything, and read about anything. Sometimes, I can even make it sound like I know what I’m talking about. But sometimes, I hide behind my words. I’m so busy reading, writing, and talking about something that I’m not actually living it.
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And I find that I’m often approaching God this way. I want to learn all about Him, I want to soak up the rich nuggets of wisdom from others, I want to share what I’m learning. I read good, classic Christian books, subscribe to the blogs of people I admire and respect, and sometimes parrot these lessons and thoughts about God back out in my writing and conversations.
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And none of this is bad, of course. But all I’m doing is running in a circle around God. I learn all about others’ views of God, I talk about my own, and I just keep running, running, running.
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Do I ever slow down to actually come to the center of the circle, where God is? Do I ever stop running around to ask Him who He is? Do I stop this mad race of words and try to actually live them, instead of just creating more hot air?
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Rarely.
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Words are safe. They don’t require me to actually do anything. And I feel like the more I know about God and praying and living and building relationships, the more I’ll actually be successful when it comes to living them out.
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But I never seem to know enough. In prayer, do I spend all my time reading books and listening to sermons by brilliant people about it? Or do I spend some real time on my knees, writing in my journal, daring to try it myself?
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Words are fine. They’re safe and comfortable. But anyone can use them, anyone can spew out thoughts, and anyone can run the mad circle around God without actually daring to do the scary part of slowing down.
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Frankly, I’m afraid. What will happen if I slow down? What will happen if I actually try to apply these things to my life, or read God’s own Word to learn about Him? What if…I fail? What if I take a risk and it doesn’t work? What if I do something wrong, and God doesn’t come through? I’m spiritually paralyzed by the worry – so I keep running, running, and running, hoping to learn all the right tricks and secrets to ensure success, hoping I can avoid this risky thing called trust and faith.
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And then I hear His whisper, “My child, slow down. Come to me.”
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He promises to strengthen and sustain me, promises He won’t let me down. But He calls me to walk away from this word circus, calls me to take a step into the real world. To try it for myself. -
The people who make a difference for Christ are not the ones that sound most theologically impressive. They’re not the ones who have the longest book list or wrote the longest articles. They’re the ones who lived it for themselves, who took the risky, tottering steps and got involved in the messy thing we call life.
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Jesus taught, but He also healed. He ate dinner with prostitutes and tax collectors, called people by name, and interacted and loved them personally.
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Amy Carmichael wrote many beautiful books, but she’s not remembered for her words as much as she is honored for the life she lived. She was no spiritual giant – she was simply a young girl, like me, who was scared to take risks and trust. But life is too short, and the stakes too high, to spend it immersed in words – and she dared to take the step of faith, and to live a relationship with God for herself. She refused to be content with reading about another’s relationship; she dared to love God and love others herself. And she changed lives.
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Perhaps it’s ironic that I’m writing about not writing. And this article is much too long already. So I’m going to stop. With God’s grace and strength, I’ll come to the center of the circle, on my knees, and pray that these truths I’ve been learning would become real in my life. And that He would help me to stop hiding behind words and live.
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Will you step off that merry-go-round and join me?
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