10 Years and Counting

It's been almost 10 years since I started following Jesus and I still fear I don't know how to talk to God.
It's daunting, this idea of talking to God and the audacity to believe that he hears and cares.

So I talk to him like I talk to everyone else. For about 6 months last year the only prayer, and I mean the ONLY prayer I could figure out how to pray is "I'm still here, are you still there?"
Because I didn't know.

I didn't know if he was still there and I really didn't know if I was still here. I felt disconnected and disjointed. I felt like a fish trying to climb a tree.

Sometimes I yell at him. Asking him why I even need to say anything if he is an all knowing God he knows what I need and what I'm going to say before I even say it.
He knows what sin I struggle with and the anger and bitterness I was barely keeping off the edges of my heart at the time.

He knew that night when I said, "Dammit, I'm going to be pissed because it was SHITTY and I was hurt and I am PISSED."
He knew when the anger and bitterness invaded my head and heart and pushed all the hope and joy out into a pile of shit in the alley.
He knew when I started unraveling the stories of abuse and disdain from growing up for the first time.
He knew when I realized that just because it wasn't someones fault, and just because I know they were doing the best they could with what they had didn't mean I couldn't still wish it had been different.

Yet still I struggle. Wishing there was a black and white checklist to tell me if I was doing ok with God or if I needed to adjust something here or maybe there. Because it would be so much easier to just be able to check off a list, to follow the rules and the letter of the law and KNOW for a fact I was doing the right things and saying the right things.

But that's not how a relationship with Jesus is. It's wrestling, it's the gross every day messy relationships we all struggle with. It's a square peg in the round hole of legalism wanting more of my heart that of my blind obedience. Does God want my obedience? Of course he does.

He also wants my heart, and he wants my desire for obedience and my desire for following the heart of the law more than the completed check list of an ambilivent girl.

So I wrestle. I sometimes talk sassy to Jesus because that's how I talk to my friends and loved ones and he is my friend and loved one like no one else.

One day I might realize that the characteristics of my abusers and those that have left me and let me down are not the characteristics of God. I mean, I know that now with my head. But my heart, battered and weary of feeling strung up and locked out is a little more hesitant to comply.

So I hold on, I ask God if he's still there. I read the bible and put the bible down annoyed and pick it back up knowing that the character of God is not based on mood or emotion.

I know that God is good. All the time. I know that 10 years in I feel more entangled in a love affair with Jesus than ever before. It's just messier.