I love to read, but I hate to waste my time on books or chapters of books that I don’t think I am going to get a lot out of.  Often when I pick up a book (I read mostly non-fiction right now) it is because there is a specific chapter, lesson, or message that I am interested in.  A lot of times, it’s that particular part of the book that interests me, and I will skip other chapters that don’t seem as pertinent.  I’m not sure that is exactly the smartest way to read books, but I do it quite often.  In a Christian book, a chapter I am really likely to skip is anything with the words Holy Spirit in the title.  “The Power of the Holy Spirit”  “The Holy Spirit in You.”  Whatever.  It’s just a really hard concept for me to grasp, and so I tend to just ignore it. 

I mean, let’s be honest, most people believe in Jesus.  They may not believe in the deity of Jesus, but they do believe He existed.  And, for us Christians, as hard as it is to fathom God sending his one and only son to die on the cross for us, at some point, we usually get it. 

Most people also believe in some sort of God.  It may not be my God, but it’s not like it’s a totally foreign concept.  But when we start to talk about the Holy Spirit, honestly, I get visions of the lady in the flowing dress inviting me in to look in her crystal ball or read my palm.  Being inhabited by a spirit, holy or not, is not only hard to imagine, but guaranteed to get you some strange looks.  My guess is I am not alone in this.  It’s almost like God and Jesus are fine and dandy, but once you start talking about the Holy Spirit, well now, you have really done it.  You have gone off the deep end.  You have taken this faith thing too far.  True?  True!

My thought has always been that God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit are all kind of one, right?  So, I’ll just focus on Jesus and that will be good enough because surely He can fill the other ones in on what I need.  That’s funny to write out, but I really think like that.   And, I bet Jesus probably appreciates it.  However, I also think I have been missing a pretty important part of the equation. 

One big difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament is that in the Old Testament it focuses on God with us and in the New Testament, it focuses on God in us.   I do not know this from my vast studies of the Bible but rather the wisdom of Kyle Idleman in Not a Fan.   I would not have known that or understood it on my own. 

The key to this concept is that most of us believe it is because of our own efforts that we are good Christians.  It is because of our efforts that God works through us.  To quote Idleman,  “When we try to follow Jesus without being filled daily with the Spirit we find ourselves frustrated by our failures and exhausted by our efforts. “  It’s not about our efforts but about the Holy Spirit working in us. 

I have this recurring dream.  I don’t know if dreams mean anything, but this sure seems weird.  My dream is that I am trying to get somewhere, the place varies, but no matter how hard I try or what I do, I cannot get there.  It is a very, very frustrating dream.  And, on the nights I have it, I wake up tired and frustrated.  I can’t help but wonder if this is a comment from Holy Spirit somehow.  “You can keep trying on your own.  You can keep depending on yourself, but you are just going to continue to be frustrated.   AND you will never be able to get to the place that deep down you know you want to go to.  Only I can take you.”

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”  John 16:13 

God never intended for us to be Christians on our own.  He intends for the Holy Spirit to live within us and guide us.  And this brings about the challenge for today.  Let the Holy Spirit live in me and guide me.

So, before you quit reading, I hear the comments and questions already.  That’s fine and dandy, but how do you even do that?  And, how do you even know that it is happening or not happening?   To be quite honest, this is really a new concept for me so I am quite sure I don’t have all the answers or even most of the answers.  But this is what I do know. 

One of the options for my 40th birthday was to go on a trip.  But, I just didn’t feel like that was the best use of my time.  I really felt called to do something different; to slow down for once.  So my gift to myself and from my husband, who is so supportive and good with our children, is this 40 day challenge.  And, it has been so much more of a gift than I could have ever imagined.  For the first time in many, many years, maybe even ever, I am allowing myself to spend time on what matters most, my relationship with Christ, God and the Holy Spirit. 

The steps I have taken so far have made a significant difference in my life and I know this has to be the work of the Holy Spirit.  Life suddenly seems to make more sense.  I am prepared and ready to see the things that God has in store for me each day.  I am taking time each and every day, sometimes a lot of time, to reflect on God’s word and His messages to me.  I have never taken the time to do this before.  Life is busy.  Time is at a premium and I tend to keep myself so busy that I cannot focus on the things that truly matter. 

I can’t help but wonder how many people are keeping themselves so busy, so distracted, that they can’t even hear or feel the Holy Spirit.  They can’t even feel or experience the true joys and blessings that God has in store for us.

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  Luke 11: 13

So, today I will simply continue to ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit and then be still enough to be able to listen and follow my Guide. I don’t want to miss out.