Saturday, October 31

The Ultimate Relationship

re·la·tion·ship
noun

// The way in which two or more concepts, objects or people are connected, or the state of being connected. //

We understand relationships; we are a relational culture. We seek relationships. We crave relationships. We require relationships. Most people understand what it takes to maintain a relationship. You call your parents to fill them in on the highs and lows of life. You text your best friend to share something exciting. You spend time with your significant other to stay connected. You share funny stories with your coworkers to create friendship. We do these things rather effortlessly and most of the time without much contemplation because it's natural. So if it's innate to create and maintain relationships, why is it that we stumble with creating and maintaining a relationship with the Lord?

A large part of why people struggle with having a 'relationship' with the Lord is because our minds get caught up in this world. We get caught up in thinking that you can only have a relationship with a physical person or thing- your dog, your parents, your husband/wife. Even the phrases we use to describe how to maintain a relationship denotes the physical existence of another "it's a two way street", "it takes two to build a relationship". But with God, it's not physical - it's spiritual and emotional. Unfortunately we can't call God and have a conversation with Him (wouldn't that be amazing?!). We can't just text Him when something exciting happens during the day or go grab a cup of coffee and share our heart. Our human brains fumble with how to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit.

So how do we have a relationship with the Lord? What can we do to create a strong bond? How can we maintain that love and friendship? If you struggle with going deeper with God, if you yearn to take your relationship from ankle deep to 'all in', then consider these four things to help you get there. 

1. Worship
Worship comes in so many different packages. Traditionally we think of song but worship is a personal expression of your love and joy in the Lord. You can worship through singing, dancing, writing, painting, drawing…anything that is an outward expression of your inner feelings. Maybe you start listening to only Christian music in the car. You could start a photo blog of things that remind you of God's creation. Maybe you want to start journaling your prayers at night. Worship is the way in which you give back the glory to God but find something that you love that glorifies Him!

2. Prayer
Don't get caught up in the number of prayers you give throughout the day; be more focused on the quality of your prayers. Don't get caught up on completely nonexistent rules like "you should pray when you wake up, before every meal and before you go to bed at night". God didn't create rules that you could only pray and give thanks to Him then! I'm the first to admit I can be a little ADD, so sitting down to pray for 15-minutes at bedtime doesn't work for me (#RealHonestMoment: Sometimes I even get distracted at church when the pastor is praying and find myself making a mental grocery list). I encourage you to pray throughout the day, little prayers of thankfulness. On the way to work or school, in the shower, at your desk, at 3:24 every day… whenever! God is listening 24/7 and you don't need to be on your knees listening to Hillsong United in order to be heard. 

3. The Word
Get in the Word. You've probably heard that in many sermons- so what does that mean? Open up your Bible (or Bible App). Get a devotional. Pick scripture to memorize. Read God's word for your life. The Bible is God's tool for us, it's full of advice and wisdom we can utilize and carry with us daily. Maybe reading the Bible is overwhelming (which for me it is), so start small. Pick one book of the Bible and each day read a few verses or a chapter. Start small, remember quality is better than quantity! Spend time with God reading His words and try to 'listen' to what your heart is telling you. 

4. Community
We are created to be relational people. God designed Eve for Adam because it wasn't good for him to be alone. All over the Bible are references to the importance of community and togetherness - a three-cord strand is not easily broken, he who walks with the wise will grow wise… God knew that we needed people around us to support us, uplift us, provide wisdom and love. So surround yourself with those who will do just that. Look at the friends around you: do they help you get closer to God or hinder you? Are you apart of a life group or a small group in your church? Seek our people and settings that bring you closer to God, that grow your faith, and build you up.

A relationship with God is the ultimate relationship. It is the most beautiful, intimate and loving relationship there is available. We were designed and created to glorify God, and all He wants is a relationship with you.