My friend, Debbie Sellmann, has been learning the Immanuel Process that I wrote about in “Walking With Immanuel,” my blog on November 6, 2010. I loved what she sent me in an email, so I’m sharing it here. It will be in two parts.
How Do We Seek God?
by Debbie Sellmann
For a long time, I thought the act of seeking God was something external that I would initiate. What I mean by this is that I would look for evidence of Him in the Bible, in small group discussions, talking with friends about Him, and on Sunday mornings when my pastor would teach us about Him. In other words, seeking God meant moving myself into environments where He’s known and talked about. This has been water and soil for my faith over the years.
More recently, I have been learning that seeking God can also be something internal that I initiate. Instead of physically moving myself into a place or environment where He’s known, I am learning to ask Him, “Where are you in this?” when I don’t sense His presence in the moment.
This has been amazingly effective when I’m having trouble inside with feelings and thoughts that make it hard for me to be “all here.” I know these times because I have no sense of His peace inside, my thoughts are all over the place and my emotions are heightened.
There are a couple of things I notice when this is going on inside me. I’m not relational anymore. I can’t fully participate in whatever is going on in the moment — whether it be a discussion I’m having or a job I’m doing — my mind is divided and I can no longer give all of me to the present moment. I also notice that I’m feeling alone, and all the thoughts I’m having are about me “handling it” by myself.
Moments like this have been going on in my life for as long as I can remember. The effect on me personally is that I have been left feeling pretty insecure about what’s up in my relationship with God. Since I could never predict when these moments would happen, and I couldn’t figure out what to do when they did happen (other than seeking God in an external way, but it would usually take some time for me to even think about doing that), I felt weak and unprotected.
For many years, I bought a lie about myself: “becoming mature in Christ is ‘just beyond my grasp’.” No matter how much I prayed, studied, and dedicated myself to following Him, it never changed the very real fact that these unpredictable moments would happen.
But something has changed. I am learning what to do with these unpredictable moments.
In Part Two we will see what has changed for Debbie.