Are You A Cheater?

Jen’s Gem: There are no shortcuts to God.

Yesterday I bought a pair of “cheater” glasses. If you’re not familiar with these, they are essentially reading glasses. Many people over 40 have these and are needed so you don’t have to stretch out your arms fifty feet in order to read things like menus or the newspaper.
For the past year, I have been struggling with seeing things up close. To accommodate this new challenge, I have been wearing my glasses when I need to do my work. The problem however is that I cannot wear my glasses to drive.  Therefore, I have spent the last several months putting in my contacts, taking them out, rinse and repeat.
This in and out all day long became exhausting. I didn’t know if I was coming or going which is what led me to Walmart yesterday. As I perused the selection of glasses, I couldn’t help but laugh. Without my contact lenses, I’m considered legally blind. Interestingly, my high-powered contact lens prescription that enables me to function in the world isn’t able to help me see things up close. So as I write this blog post, I’m basically wearing glasses in addition to my contact lenses!
You may be asking yourself why my near-sightedness is turning into my latest spiritual lesson. I wondered this myself until this morning. In case you haven’t noticed, you are receiving this post a bit later than normal. I typically get my posts done early Sunday morning. However, today instead of typing away in the early dawn, coffee in hand, I was sleeping.

In fact, I slept so late that I barely had time to get ready for church. I could’ve squeaked out a blog post if I really tried, but it would’ve been rushed and without my required dose of caffeine, Lord knows if it would’ve made sense! I’m glad I waited. As I listened to today’s sermon, the final words of my pastor were something along the lines of “God doesn’t cheat. He doesn’t take short cuts.”
We live in a society that is pre-occupied with short cuts. How can we achieve our end goal faster? What can we do to speed things up so that our needs are satisfied?
If we want dinner on the table in fifteen minutes, we hop in the car to the closest fast food drive-thru. If we want to get our question answered immediately, we Google it. If we want to avoid the barrage of options when we call a company, we press *0 to get to a human being. Entire businesses have been launched based on our inability to wait.
Years ago, I fell upon a Joyce Meyer program entitled “Enjoying Everyday Life.” If you’re unfamiliar with her, she is a Bible teacher and runs a ministry out of St. Louis. I’ve no idea how I came upon her program other than it was the grace of God leading me. In minutes, I was hooked. Her teaching was practical and based in Biblical truths. She was funny. She was real. She made some of the complex principles in the Bible make sense and come alive.
I was hooked. Every day I watched her show. I’d take notes. I’d write down the inspired messages I’d get into notebooks. Then I’d tuck those completed notebooks on a shelf, perplexed as to what to do with them. Today it occurred to me what this part of my spiritual journey was all about. I was cheating.
I thought by watching her show and writing down a note here and there that somehow my relationship with God would magically transform into what I wanted it to be. I thought that by listening to her preaching, that my spiritual breakthrough would just happen. I thought I could fast forward my spiritual journey by “cheating” off someone who’d done the work, invested the time, and practiced her faith daily. I was wrong.
I have spent countless hours reading and studying my Bible, attending classes, and in prayer and the  truth is, I’ve only touched the surface. Despite my desire to be at the top of the mountain, I’m in the valley starting the climb. There are times that I wish I was traversing the trails up the mountain, but I’m happy to simply be in the vicinity. I’m light years ahead of where I was five years ago.
Here’s what I’ve learned. You have to do the work yourself. You can’t borrow someone else’s faith. You can’t tag along in their personal relationship with God. You have to build this yourself. There’s no cheating. There are no shortcuts.
You’ve heard the saying that “cheaters never win and winners never cheat.” I want to be a winner in my relationship with God. I want to be all that He has planned for me. Do I want this today? You bet! But I am enjoying the journey as every day I learn a little more about who He is and who I am because of Him. It’s pretty cool.
So while I may need to “cheat” to write this blog post, I am not going to cheat myself out of getting to know my Creator as best I can for whatever time I have left on this planet. While I’m in catch up mode, having lost decades to spiritual seeking gone amuck, my kids won’t have to.
They can see things clearly much sooner than I did without the need for cheater glasses.

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