Wednesday, July 11, 2012
So, the thing I've been preaching is transparency... tell your story. However, the Lord reminded me, its not just about what I am overcoming, but also struggles I'm in the midst of. Well, here goes... I'm in a dry spell with my time with the Lord. I want to be in His presence. I want to hear Him. I want to be spiritually hungry. I want to be and have the desire to spend my time with Him. I want that to be the first thing on my mind when I wake. I want to have that consistent and constant communion with Him throughout the day. And I want to know exactly what that looks like... Right now... none of this is happening... I can't really feel Him. My quiet times have lost their quality and are fading fast...So...who moved!?!? ... I did!
What happened? Right now, there is a disconnect in our relationship... Why? The only reason can be because I moved. Sometimes it's in obvious ways... this time is was subtle. How did this happen? This week, I think I heard my answer...When you are focused on "your feelings", you cannot as easily feel Him... because there's not much room for Him. Why? Because He gives differently than the world gives... so it feels different. If you're so enthralled with the world and how it gives... you might be clouding out the Giver of Life (1 Timothy 6:13). For the past 7 weeks, I haven't been feeling my best... physically.. morning sickness for me has been an all day thing. Thankfully, it has not been as bad as stories I've heard... but overall I have felt very blah. I have been focused on this and letting it dictate my days.. how I feel. Even though these are physical ailments, they still produce feelings. So, if you allow it... it's not much different than allowing your emotions to get the best of you when circumstances are dim. When I look back over my highs and lows (closeness) with the Lord, I can't help but wonder if the distance was always a result of my feelings (physical or emotional) at the time. These feelings are only obstacles. All I need is the right perspective.
Our relationship with the Lord is exactly that... a relationship. Take new love for instance, when you meet that special someone ... there is a spark... that "feeling"... it's all you think about, the only place you want to be ... and you will do whatever it takes. However, over time, the feeling fizzles... and without properly cultivating a relationship... it will die. In any long term relationship, true intimacy does not come without work and sacrifice. In order for it to grow, you have to cultivate(nurture) it.. study them...give of yourself... listen, and most importantly, DO IT WHEN YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE IT.
Take marriage. God created a husband / wife relationship to be a tangible example to the world of Christ with his bride (the church). When you marry, you enter into a life long commitment that must be based on more than just a feeling. Because, as mentioned before, feelings are fickle. You will not always feel like loving or even talking to your spouse. (Sorry to burst the bubble for newlyweds ... but it's true). You must CHOOSE to live beyond your feelings, die to self and continue doing what you know you are supposed to in the relationship. That is cultivating... and exactly what I must do in this situation. CHOOSE to cultivate whether I feel "it" or not... regardless of my physical or emotional feelings.
What should you do when you feel a disconnect or distance in your relationship with God?
1) STOP living by your feelings (physical or emotional) and instead live by what you know.... # 1 Truth - HE DID NOT MOVE ... WE DID! He never changes... we always do (Ephesians 4:14). He is always there... we are often busy. You have to determine why or what caused you to move. Deal with it, confess it, and ask the father to bring you back into His presence
Matthew 7:11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
2) Any unconfessed sin in your life? Sin separates...if it's not dealt with, it can definitely cause a disconnect (Isaiah 59:2). Do some inventory and even ask Him to show you if you don't know. Most importantly, deal with it TODAY. If it's a sin you're still struggling with letting go of, still bring it to Him, confess your feelings and ask Him to take it away. Confessing sin makes your heart right and allows the Holy Spirit to do that work that we cannot do (1 John 1:9).
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
3) Persevering through the feeling of not "feeling" it. Perseverance builds character and brings blessing. Continue your time with Him. Tell Him exactly how you feel (i.e.) you don't feel like spending time with Him ... You feel lost and need direction... You're starting to question things. He knows already, so why not open your heart and allow Him to work. (Jonah 2:2)
Romans 5:3-4 ...we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
4) CULTIVATE your relationship!
- Spend time and Nurture = Get a DAILY devotional (Jesus Calling is a fave of mine right now - there is an app to) and develop a habit of consistent PRAYER time (Journaling keeps me focused). I just joined a 21 day prayer challenge with my church (from Sometimes He Whispers)... perfect timing ... it started this week.
- Study = Read and soak in scripture and christian inspirational books filled with scripture, join a bible study, find accountability. Always be looking for ways to grow... you will never know all there is to know about our Creator.
- Give of yourself = SERVE. Many only see the benefit it gives to others... but there is so much more benefit for you and your walk. Check with your church - there are plenty of opportunities... or your local dream center, or equivalent, is a good place to start.
- Listen = MAKE TIME to SIT STILL and listen to God. He normally chooses to speak in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12). De-clutter your life ... if it's too busy and there is too much noise, you will not hear Him.