I think that sometimes we Christians forget how special it is that we can have a relationship, a real, close, personal relationship with God.
What stands out about the Christian life, compared to all other religions, is the fact that we can have a personal relationship with a living God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
I was reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young this summer when I came across this entry. (In case you aren’t familiar with her devotional guide, it is written from the point of view of God speaking to us.)
I speak to you continually. My nature is to communicate, though not always in words. I fling glorious sunsets across the sky, day after day after day. I speak in the faces and voices of loved ones. I caress you with a gentle breeze that refreshes and delights you. I speak softly in the depths of your spirit, where I have taken up residence.
You can find me in each moment, when you have eyes that see and ears that hear. Ask my Spirit to sharpen your spiritual eyesight and hearing. I rejoice each time you discover my presence. Practice looking and listening for Me during quiet intervals. Gradually you will find Me in more and more of your moments. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me above all else.1
It is the most incredible thing to me that the God of the universe, my God, speaks to me continually. The same God who spoke me into existence. Who spoke the world into motion. He speaks to me.
And He waits for me to connect with Him. But sometimes, setting aside the busyness of life to connect with Him can be overwhelming.
The call to break busy and nurture our relationship with Him is real and necessary — not just finding time, but making time to stay connected.
Here are three great ways I have found to help me stay connected to God:
When our kids were little, we used to teach them that prayer was simply talking to God. To a certain extent, that is true. But prayer is a conversation, and a conversation is a two-way street. It’s about talking and listening. When I pray, I don’t use a formula, per se, but I do try to make it more than just throwing out my list of needs and wants.
I think of praying as unhurried time with the Lord. I praise Him. I thank Him. And I sit in silence and listen to what He wants for me and from me. I am not afraid to ask God for anything. First John 5:14 tells us,
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us.
I have come to learn that prayer is about so much more than asking God for things. It is an intimate conversation between my Maker and me.
2. Reading the Bible
Years ago, a mentor encouraged me to read a chapter of Proverbs each day. Proverbs has thirty-one short chapters, so reading a chapter a day over the course of a month was easy. Even though I’ve been reading the same proverbs over and over again each month since then, I still read them and think, Wow, I never noticed that one before like that. God’s Word is continually new to us because it speaks to us through the filter of the circumstance of life we are in.
My mentor taught me the SPECKS method, which she created to help people learn to read the Bible. As I read a chapter of the Bible, I ask God these questions:
Is there a…
Sin to avoid?
Promise to claim?
Example to follow?
Command to obey?
Knowledge of God to acquire?
Summary for the day?
Asking myself these questions helps me set aside the clutter in my mind and focus on what God wants to say to me.
On some of my worst days, when I’ve not known what to pray, the act of worship brings me back to the place I need to be. Often I sing in my car. (Mind you, I’m the world’s worst singer. When I sing I make a painful, not joyful noise.) And in the morning, after the kids are off to school, I pour a cup of coffee and sing along with my favorite worship playlist. Just the act of singing along in worship is life-giving. It strengthens me, settling my mind on God and his goodness.
It wasn’t until the last few years that I fell in love with worship time at church. I think I used to be too distracted or focused on myself. Thoughts like, My Spanx are too tight, or Where will we go after church, or I hope Jeremiah isn’t crying in the nursery, used to keep me self-focused instead of focused on the actual act of worship.
But these days, when the whole sanctuary is worshiping together and the presence of the Lord comes in such a powerful way, tears roll down my cheeks. Every time. Mark has learned that I’m okay even when I tear up during the service. The older boys stopped getting embarrassed by me long ago. I can’t tell you enough how much I love worshiping with the body of believers. Luckily my church plays the music loud so my joyful noises don’t ruin everyone else’s worship time. Because my joyful noises really would. I promise.
- Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004), 179.
Excerpted with permission from Breaking Busy: How To Find Peace And Purpose In A World Of Crazy by Alli Worthington, copyright Alli Worthington.
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Breaking Busy in order to be able to have a vibrant and growing relationship with God is something that takes intentionality. It takes saying no to other things, spending specific time with the Lord before everything else fills the calendar, and making a daily choice to rely on God and God alone in every area of life. Yes! I need more of Jesus in my life, more connection with God, and to break busy over and over again as busyness creeps in. How about you? Come join the conversation on our blog! We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full