When I first realized that my battle with boredom was really a struggle with a flat faith (Part I), my game plan changed. Instead of thinking I needed to simply change my routine, I realized I needed to address some heart issues. Those issues revolve around connection and comparisons (Part III).
In “Flat Faith,” Kathy Howard says that “what we fail to realize is that our reluctance to seek help will keep us right where we are.”
Kathy also points out that “our culture does not hold up dependence, submission, and subordination as ideals to attain. In fact, the opposite attitudes reign supreme. Independence, self-gratification, and me first are king!”
For several years now, I have touted myself as being a “loner.” What I’ve come to realize is that my pride in being a loner was really a mask for avoiding dependence. I wanted to appear independent and in control of my life. In other words, the ideals of our culture had gotten into my spirit and negatively affected my attitude. And one thing our culture does well is breed discontentment.
My approach to living revolved around independence, and that clearly does not reflect God’s heart.
“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’” (1 Corinthians 12:18-21)
A focus on self-sufficiency and independence definitely do not promote the inter-dependency that the Bible clearly teaches. Discontentment grew for me because my thoughts were fixed on appearing in control and being independent rather than on existing and connecting as a part of the body of Christ.
Like Kathy, I identified with Nicodemus who was “trying to do all the right things” but still felt “disconnected from God.” Unfortunately, this keeping up of appearances really plays into Satan’s hands, since he “loves to trip us up with pride.”
Since, as Kathy says, “God designed the body of Christ to encourage and build one another up,” I realized that I needed to depend on Him to create the relationships and interactions He knew I needed. That’s not happening when I keep to myself 80% of the time.
The reality, as Kathy puts it, is that “your full and complete spiritual growth and maturity depends on other members of the body obeying God. And their growth and maturity depends on yours.”
No wonder I was discontent. I was missing out on much of what God intended to play a part in my spiritual growth, interaction with other believers. And that interaction needed to go beyond weekly church services.
For almost a year now, I have been meeting regularly with an accountability partner. In addition to meeting face-to-face, we also continue our discussions between meetings via email and text. This relationship provides an avenue for practicing transparency and for connecting over how God works in our lives. God used this relationship to bring me to a place that allows me to be transparent in my struggles with flat faith.
This accountability relationship helped me learn the value of connection, and I now more fully understand that limiting my connection with others to an extreme is partially to blame for the boredom I am experiencing.
As Kathy puts it, I need to truly embrace the “symbiotic relationship with other believers to become all God wants [me] to be and to receive everything God wants to give [me].” While I knew the importance of connection, I failed to fully embrace it. The result? Loneliness and a flat faith.
Thank you for continuing on this journey. The next leg, Part III, focuses on the role that comparisons have played in causing my flat faith. Part IV focuses more on the role of boredom, and Part V details my Boredom Battle Plan.
DISCUSSION: What role does connection play in your faith?
Note: Unless otherwise indicated, all direct quotes are taken from “Flat Faith” by Kathy Howard. Also, be sure to heck out Kathy’s guest posts Flat Spots Here and There – Part I and Flat Spots Here and There – Part II.