Neglect and Belief

A lot of my life, I haven't been the best kind of friend. I'm an extroverted introvert. What that means is, at the root of my personality is a person more inclined to keep to himself. However, I operate outside of that root and have a social personality. I'm the turtle that spends a lot of time in his shell, but when I'm out, it would be hard for you to believe I'm the shell type. People who don't know me (like customers or clients at work) think I'm a very social person. People who think they know me think I'm a very reclusive person. People who know me know I'm both. (It also depends on the people. Some people I refuse to be bothered with.) However, like I said, at my roots, I'm more inclined to be involved in things that don't require a lot of people, like reading, writing, watching movies, exercising (not in group exercises), and many other private hobbies. I'm more inclined to call myself reclusive instead of giving such a long explanation. (This, by the way, is a summarized version of an actual explanation from me.) Because I am this way, when I am not passionate about interacting with a person, I am not very vocal.

I hate to say it, but I neglect people. It is not an intentional thing to neglect people. Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in my activities that I fail to look out and remember there are people who want to talk to me. I'm sometimes not in the mood or don't have much to say. Other times, I just don't want to talk. I'm a private person. So, even when I have something to say, I'll keep it close to my chest. (For instance, I was recently, and only briefly, dating a nice young woman. Do you think I told anyone? Nope. I liked her.) However, this kind of behavior can be hurtful to people who don't understand me. They'll send me a message. I'll be involved in something and not feel like responding. Days, weeks, months later, I'm thinking to myself, Hmm, I wonder what so and so is up to.

(Here's the funny thing: when I am passionate about talking to a person, I'm usually neglected.) We've all neglected. We've all been neglected. We all know how it feels. It's terrible when you care about someone, think of them as a friend or more, and that person just doesn't share that same feeling. Perhaps they do, but sometimes they just don't feel like talking to you. It hurts when you call your friend and say you want to hang out, but the person is making excuses. The person might ignore your call and send it to voicemail. Won't return your phone call. Won't return your texts. Some people are upfront that they're busy. Some will just flake and make excuses and not show up to things. They might even show up, but be completely distracted by something on their phone. Throughout all of this, you have reached out and you feel hurt. It's not always intentional. However, whether on a small or great level, feelings are being hurt. Eventually, you might start calling the person less. You might start texting the person less. When that person decides to contact you, you might have an attitude or ignore their call. You'll become suspicious or complain that that person is only contacting you when they need something. If you need them, you get a "not right now", "busy", "hanging out with my friends", "I'm with my boo", or nothing at all. If they want something from you, they're calling and texting you at an irregular level. Neglect is a terrible feeling to have. Again, but it's not always intentional. Sometimes, we don't associate what's happening to us with being neglected. Sometimes, we don't realize we're the person neglecting others. We all have a right to choose who we let into our lives and when.

A lot of us, who carry the title of Christian, or proclaim our belief in God, neglect God. We spend time on work, family, friends, side projects, dates, parties, social networking, and leisure activities. We have so much going on in our lives that sometimes, unintentionally or indifferently, we neglect the one being who truly, deeply cares for us more than anyone else.

God calls us every day. Do we press ignore and send it to voicemail? Probably didn't even hear it ring. It's important that we give God a call every day. If not every day, at least one time more a week than you would call your best friend or close family member. Confide in God about what's going on in your life. If something funny happened, tell God about it, even though He already knows. It's not about the content. It's about the intention and the time. Share everything with God. There is no one in our life who is a greater listener, friend or parent. God wants to hear what you have to say. Whether you believe it or not, God wants you to talk to Him like you would your best friend (perhaps, respectfully, without vulgarity). And, God will respond.

God wants to spend time with you. Do you consistently make excuses for why you can't make it to church? Oh. I have this going on. Oh, I have that. I'm going out of town. Church isn't just the community of people you worship with. Church isn't just a building. Church is on the internet. A lot of churches are broadcasting online. You can go to church anywhere at anytime now by watching a sermon streaming or recorded online. It doesn't hurt to pray and talk to God, invest an hour or two of your time no matter where you are in the world. It can be 10pm on a Sunday night. If you can be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, and all of the other social networking applications checking up on your friends, strangers, and others you simply like to cyber-stalk, you can invest that same amount of time sitting down, talking to God, and reading the Word.

When you go out to eat in public, you don't have to talk out loud, but God is there with you when you're eating. When you're in the car driving to work or home, God is in the car with you. When you're watching TV, God is there sitting beside you. When you're at the movies eating popcorn, God is there with you. When you're at the grocery story picking up produce, God is there examining the apples and the oranges. When you're at the amusement park with your friends, God is there on the roller-coaster with you. When you're at the bar laughing with your girlfriends, God is there watching your drinks. When you're out dancing with your friends, God is there perhaps even shaking His head at what we calling dancing, but He's still there. (God is also there when you're speeding, cursing, lying, having sex outside and without the intentional of marriage, making crude jokes, slandering, manipulating, getting wasted, stealing, and so forth) Everywhere you go alone, God is there with you. Everywhere you go with your friends, God is there with you. The important thing is that you acknowledge Him. Let Him in on the fun. Talk to Him and stop acting like He's not there. Stop neglecting Him. I know it's not intentional. You probably don't even thing about it. But He is everywhere, and He's always there when you need Him.

The most important part of being a Christian is the relationship with God. No matter how much you know the Word, if you do not have a relationship with God, you will falter greatly in your faith.

I know some of you will probably think it's silly. Am I going to walk around everywhere I go talking to God? Why not? You can go anywhere with your friends and talk. What makes God any different from your friends? Have any of your friends done more for you than God has? Why not give God more quality time out there in the world? He's there. Isn't it rude to go out with four people but completely ignore the fourth person? I suspect a lot of people will think you're crazy for walking around talking to yourself. (Since when do we carry the opinions of others higher than our commitment to God?) However, you can think to God. God knows your thoughts and heart. You can walk around thinking to God about everything on your mind for hours. You can talk to God as loud and as long as you want to in a private place.

When I started this blog, I started with the expressed intention of getting to a point at the heart of the issue. In your heart, is God real? We look at God and think of an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent power that performs many great works and loves us. We will say that God is a being who loves. However, how deeply do you appreciate that? God is the first and greatest sentient life.

God is a life with feelings. God feels something about everything we say and do. To His great benefit, He knows the end of the story before it happens. However, God still feels for us during our struggles even when He knows we will overcome. Remember when Jesus wept for Lazarus even though He knew that Lazarus would rise and walk again?

When people say they believe in God, I wonder how deeply their river of faith flows. For me, until my epiphany, I didn't realize how much I was neglecting God. I didn't realize that when God called, I hit the ignore button. I didn't realize that, when God wanted to hang out, I was so involved in my little turtle shell stuff to really get out or invite Him in. We have to start putting God first. We have to interact with God better than we would a person right in front of us, because God is better than every person that ever comes in front of us.

Do not neglect your friends. More importantly, do not neglect God.

Talk to God, anywhere, everywhere, because He is there. Acknowledge that He is there, everywhere you are. This is a valuable practice. It will improve your relationship with God. It will improve you, and everyone around you.

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