For a while now, God’s been sort of nudging me in the ribs. “I want you to stop,” He said. “Pause, rest, slow down, shut up and listen for a change.” It took me some time to make out what He was saying over the noise of my TV, computer and MP3 player (not to mention my self-preoccupied mind), but on Monday I heard three words loud and clear: “Turn it off.” So I did. Starting Wednesday, March 31st, I shut down, turned off, and set aside all of the distractions in my life and committed to a week of quietness, focused on Him. The effect was staggering. It’s truly incredible how much easier it is to hear God when He’s the only one you have to listen to – and how convicting some of the things He has to say can be. As a sort of focal point for the week of the media fast, I decided to go through the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. From day one, the message of that book hit me straight in the heart, and it hit me hard. My mind had been so focused on me – what I wanted, what I needed to do, what I had to say – that I had lost sight of who God really is. In my mind, He had become a sort of add-on to my daily life. But as Francis Chan puts it, “God is not someone who can be tacked on to our lives.” This passage from “Crazy Love” sums it up perfectly: “It’s easy to fill ourselves up with other things and then give God what’s left. Hosea 13:16 says, ‘When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.’ God gets a scrap or two only because we feel guilty for giving Him nothing. A mumbled three-minute prayer at the end of the day, when we are already half asleep. Two crumpled-up dollar bills thrown as an afterthought into the church’s fund for the poor. Fetch, God!” It was shocking to see my soul mirrored in Chan’s writing, not because of how scarily accurate he was, but because of how scary the picture was that I saw. How could I have shoved God, my Creator, so far to the side? How could I have ever thought that giving Him my leftovers was okay? The answer lies in my view of God. I thought I knew so much, that I understood God, but that was my first mistake. God is too much for any human to understand, just as surely as the ocean is too big to fit in a shot glass. In assuming that I understood God, I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I did not. In essence, I had forgotten what God is really like. As I read the chapters in “Crazy Love” that detail the immenseness of God, the chorus of a song kept running through my head: “What do I know of you who spoke me into motion? Where have I even stood but the shore along your ocean? Are you fire? Are you fury? Are you sacred? Are you beautiful? What do I know? What do I know of holy?” Those words became my cry to God. “What do I know of you? Who do I think I am to claim that I am greater? How foolish, pretentious – even evil – is it for me to throw to you the leftovers of a life that you give to me in the first place… and could take away in an instant? I don’t want to be that way anymore, but what can I do about it?” Again, Chan is spot on: “If life is like a river, than pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream… We are on a never-ending downward escalator. In order to grow, we have to turn around and sprint up the escalator, putting up with perturbed looks from everyone else who is slowly moving downward.” For about a month now, God has laid on my heart the idea of living life on purpose, not wasting it. But in order to truly not waste my life, I have to chase Him with all that I have. And I have to do it now. I have to choose not to waste today, this hour, this instant, because that’s really all the more life I’m guaranteed. I’m not invincible. This body is not immortal. My window of opportunity to truly love God and others, to make a difference in this world, is incredibly small. I have to seize it now. And that means I have to change the way that I live, the way that I spend myself. I have to run up the escalator, to undergo the transformation from lukewarm to obsessed, from self-serving to all-out, crazy, obsessive, compulsive God-loving. And I need Him to help me, to show me how to love, to keep me on the course so that I can finish strong. Because one day, I’m going to stand before Him, and He’s going to ask me, “What did you do with what I gave you?” And suddenly, any answer but “I loved” is going to seem foolish, because in the end that’s all that matters.