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About two years ago I began a journey.

I guess I didn’t realize it then but now I’ve never been more confident of it. It’s been a strange two years since that solitary winter when I finally began to feel the full presence of God in my life (which I’ll talk more on in future posts). I can’t begin to explain that time in my life but I feel I did it best in a post I wrote on my old Xanga site in February ‘06. Here it is in it’s entirety:

I’m at a place I can’t say I’ve ever been at before in my short 24 years of life. I mean nothing revolutionary has taken place. No blinding light coming down from the clouds or anything. I don’t think true change comes like that, actually. It’s just a slow and steady plucking here and there. A low-pitched hum or a barely audible whisper somewhere out of frame. And I can’t begin to describe it, but I’ve been feeling God faithfully and gently retuning my heart to his.

Because at some point my life got knocked out of tune. And my ears lost track of His voice. And the more out of sync I got, the louder I tried to cover my inadequacies with canned riffs and stiffly regimented lines. Until eventually, every note I played swirled and flailed into fit of cacophony. And every thought gave way to frustration and disappointment. Pride had deadened my heart strings. Fear had bowed my neck. And complacency kicked my soul clean out of key.

And so I flipped the switch. I let silence reign for a while. And for a while I heard nothing. I must say, it was a deafening silence. But one that I needed to hear…And eventually the sound began to trickle back in. As God usually works, it came slowly but surely. And I began to hear him in a whole new way. And started to love Him all over again. It’s funny how simple things become at that point. Loving God: I can hear how cliché that sounds already. Because it’s how I’ve heard that statement all my life. And it’s probably why I became so numb to it: I never truly felt it for myself.

But really, though, what does loving God really look like? It’s the drum He beat over and over while He was here among us: “To come as we are” and just love Him. So basic yet it’s something we struggle to explain. Just like we can’t explain music and how just the right chord or perfect melody can resonate so deeply within us that it rattles our very souls. You can’t define the moving of the soul, it’s something that has to be experienced first-hand. Maybe that’s why we attach so many rules and standards to this thing of loving God. Because we don’t understand it. And we can’t force it upon each other. Just like we can’t force ourselves to love another human. Or harder yet, force them to love us. It’s something we all must hear for ourselves.

So I’ll begin to pluck and pick again quietly, only sure of one thing: I can’t say I know what loving God truly looks like:

But I think I’m beginning to hear what it may sound like.

Much more on this to come.


######Note: This was originally posted on an old Squarespace blog of mine. Most of the references, links and jokes are probably dead.

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Ryan Straits


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