Sometimes my relationship with God is complicated because my relationship with people is complicated. You remember how we used to set our relationship status back in 2005 when Facebook was exclusive…#goodtimes. Let me make that a little more accurate and say sometimes I complicate my relationship with God because of the complicated nature of our relationships as complex and flawed people who just sometimes can’t get it together. This has never been truer than in the current season I’m walking through. It’s complicated.
As I try to navigate a new normal for myself in regards to Godly community, family relationships, and this nonexistent dating life, I sometimes filter God through what He allowed to happen in life that hurt me, the mistakes I’ve made that haunt me, and what’s He’s not doing that threatens my hope. In this, my go-to is to run, ie isolate myself. Alone is my comfort zone. Lysa TerKuest says it’s better, “Comfort zones don’t have to be comfortable they are simply familiar.” I’m familiar with me. But God warns us best in scripture when He says, “He who [willfully] separates himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.” (Proverbs 18:1 AMP). I admit that in my isolation and putting up necessary boundaries, I also build this barrier between God and me. On my side of the wall, I cry and numb with Netflix and chocolate. On God’s side of the barrier, He’s patiently waiting for me to stop filtering Him through the brokenness of people, including self, and come to Him in all my weariness and find rest (Encouragement: Matthew 11:28-30).
In the messiness of life, it is our perspective that either pushes us into despair or propels us forward in faith. Knowing this, if I don’t feel close to God guess who moved?
Sometimes my perspective shifts and I start looking to the wrong things to fill the void, people to validate me, and the world to give me a vision. Or…I do none of that, and I run away and cry out, “God where are?” To which He gently responds, “Here.”
When I don’t feel close to God, it might be because I’m looking to my past for the answers that won’t help or I’m looking too far ahead thinking I have some knowledge over an all-knowing God. In looking everywhere but up, I forget that God says, “I am,” which means He resides in the here and now and I can stop hiding and accept His offer to help me face today which includes my complicated relationships with complicated people. Lord, help us.
Here are some ways I’ve learned to move towards God:
Find my way in and not out. I am never as alone as the lie I tell myself. Community is hard for me but a necessary part of this faith walk, so I’ve learned to be vulnerable with those closest to me. When I’ve found the courage to say I am not ok, those I do life with can raise their hand and say, “Girl, me either,” and we can gather and move forward together. I recently had a worship night with my Sister’s Circle, and we walked out where scripture encourages us to pray together (Acts 2:42). In a world where so many women scream, “I don’t do friendships with women,” these women have carried me to Jesus when I couldn’t find the strength to walk on my own. Small groups, community groups, life groups, connect groups, tribes, or whatever you want to call them are necessary for this journey with Jesus. Jesus didn’t walk alone.
Embrace forgiveness. God can’t heal what we won’t reveal. He knows, and He desires to heal our hearts from things done to us and the things we’ve done. He invites us over and over into a deeper relationship with Him to experience healing and wholeness. If you don’t feel close to God, there just might be some parts that you haven’t allowed Him access to or that you’re harboring which hinders your own freedom. Forgiving others and forgiving self because we know not what do is often the key to removing the barrier between God and us (Encouragement: Matthew 5:23-24).
Remove God from the filter of man. “God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change his mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19). People in our brokenness hurt each other, we break promises, and we make mistakes, but we have to stop filtering God through this same lens. Only God can change the hearts of people in our lives, and only God can be God to us as we move through it.
Be encouraged that there is nowhere we can run that God won’t find us. He was there in our past. He will be there in our future, but He wants to walk with us now.
The links above are resources I’ve found valuable to help me in my faith walk. They are not paid sponsorships with the organization or writers.