As Christians one of our top priorities is to have a great relationship with the Lord. At times it feels like no matter what we do, God feels so far from us. If you feel like this please know that God never leaves you and that you are not alone in feeling this way.
I found myself in this cold place about a year ago. I could not understand what was wrong with me! I did EVERYTHING right! I got up early to do a devotion, I was writing daily scripture in my journal, I made sure I at least said a one quick prayer before bed, I volunteered at church, I was in a bible study… You get the idea. In my mind, my heart was constantly wrapping around God, trying to hold on tighter and tighter, but he wasn’t gripping me back. Or so I thought.
I remember back at that point in my life, I was so desperate I even made lists of things I needed to do better to get close to God. I made a list. I was completely missing the point! I was like the Jews that Paul was writing to in Romans. They were so fixated on doing what was “right” and checking off items on their religion list that they completely missed Jesus!
Our biggest problem when it comes to trying to grow our relationship with the Lord is that we often approach Him in a worldly way rather than a Christ-like way. We forget who He really is. We miss the point.
The world likes steps, and plans, and schedules, and “easy”. You can find that nearly any goal has a 5 step program on Pinterest! But that isn’t God. God isn’t waiting for us to finish our to-do list before He welcomes us into His arms. His arms are open before we even write the list!
When I thought I was pouring myself into Christ and holding on to Him so tightly I was very, very, wrong. I was holding onto my ideas of what it means to be a good Christian. I was holding on to power in my own way, by making a plan. Instead of asking God why I didn’t feel close to Him, instead of asking Him to help me, instead of trusting Him… I relied on myself. I did what I thought was the best way to fix the problem. I was holding onto control.
Don’t get me wrong! I would 100% encourage you to do things like read your bible, join a bible study, and many of the other things I put on my list. But don’t do them like I did! These things are good things, but my execution was what was bad. I was simply going through the motions. As if I was studying for a test rather than deepening my relationship with our Father.
When I was reading the bible I was just reading words. Now I see that reading the bible is the best way to get to know God! It is the best way to start to understand who He is. It is His word after all. When I was writing scripture I wasn’t trying to equip myself with the Belt of Truth. I was trying to write as fast as I could, so I could move on to the next thing. Even when I would pray, when I would directly talk to God, I would make a mental outline to make sure I said the things I “needed” to say. I didn’t slow down.
I did all these things that took up time, but I didn’t take any time to really be with God. I didn’t give Him a chance to answer my half-hearted prayers. I didn’t give Him a chance to show me something I needed to read in His word. I didn’t give Him the time to let the Holy Spirit tell me what I should be getting out of the scripture I was writing.
I checked off my list and assumed I did what was “right”. God cares more about your heart being filled with Him than he does about you looking like a “perfect Christian”
My advice to all of you is to not do what I did. If you are worried about your relationship with God, talk to Him first! Spend time with Him, give Him your undivided attention and listen. Our Lord is unlike anything of this world! You don’t need to get through a checklist to get to Him, just go to Him.