Was there a time in your life where you felt God pour straight into your soul? As if He really knew you, He loved you, and He was completely aware of where you were at?
If you answered yes, I wonder, is your experience of Jesus’ love a thing of the past?
Becoming A Lost Sheep
When I was in college, I studied the scriptures tirelessly. I received many undeniable answers to prayer. I marveled at His hand in my life.
Marriage made me a better person, a more giving human, and drew me closer to Christ in ways I may never have experienced otherwise. But, in one particular way, my connection to God also suffered: I was too happy!
I tried to consciously share my joy in prayer, but it was short-lived. Slowly, work, date night, and to-do lists got in the way of my quality time with God.
Simply put, unless I had a specific reason to turn to the Lord, I forgot.
Not only that; I also had an incredible husband to turn to in my sorrows.
And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but I once heard a woman describing a difficult period of her life, and, of working through it, she said:
“I realized [my spouse] was my husband, not my Savior.”
And it stopped me in my tracks.
You see, an idol can be anything you put before your relationship with the Lord — from your money, pride, and politics, to your partner, your friends, or your fitness.
As Jesus told Thomas, He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14: 6 KJV).
Forgetting to Look Up ⬆⬆⬆
Over time, this gradual setting of God on the back-burner backfires with a vengeance.
You’ve likely heard this story before:
As a kid, I used to sit in the children’s section and read the bookstore’s copy, before we bought our own.
The author tells of a group of wooden puppets called wemmicks, who label each other with stickers: stars for popularity, and dots for — not-so-much.
After receiving only dots throughout the book, a young boy comes across a girl who has no stickers at all. In fact, any stickers she receives refuse to stick! When he asks, she tells the boy to go and see their Maker. He obliges, and when he inquires about his friend, the Maker says:
For now, just come to see me every day, and let me remind you how much I care.
When my own hardships came along of course I lost sight of my identity! I forgot who I was, because I forgot who I was to Him.
So, how do we intentionally check in with our Maker?
6 Ways You Can More Readily Feel God’s Love
#1: Pick a time and a place to connect. More than morning and evening prayer, try to carve out just 5 minutes a day to think about Him, ask His advice, and consecrate your daily activities for His divine purpose. He will magnify what you can do, and let you know that He is there!
#2: Make your connection meaningful. When you pray, don’t pray on autopilot.
I listened to a great podcast episode the other day, where Josh and Christi Straub discussed the difference between content-based vs. process-based conversation.
Content-based conversation focuses on what happened that day. Process-based conversation focuses on how you feel about what happened that day.
In other words, don’t be all business. Good or bad, make time to tell God how you feel.
#3: Read His word, and listen for His voice. Since starting this journey, I notice the clamor of the world much more. In some ways, focusing on what is in my heart drowns that out, but blogging, social media, and media in general, also lead to more exposure.
There are a hundred different “right” ways to do things. If you want to know which is for you, ask God, not Google. Read His word, and tune-in to His voice. As you allow Him opportunities to answer your prayers, He will remind you how much He loves you.
#4: Act when prompted. The more you act on information God entrusts to you, the more promptings you will receive. Be willing to be on His errand:
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.Matt. 16:25 (KJV)
#5: Ask for help. Depression, anxiety, and other matters of mental and physical health are real and debilitating.
If you consistently feel helpless, or worthless, you may need to seek out the help of trusted friends and family, as well as a professional.
Don’t be afraid. You are not defective. You are enough. And knowing that will change your life for the better. You just have to take that first step.
#6: Share your story. Finally, share you story. Bear testimony of what the light of Christ has done for you. Peace and love multiply as we mourn with those that mourn, and use our God-given experiences to empathize with those who are where we have been.
Remember: you are special, because you are His.
Whether you have never felt, once felt, or currently feel God’s redeeming love, here’s to intentionally taking steps to feel it again and again.
Ideas for Discussion
- When did you first feel His love and know it was for you?
- What helps you “tune in” to His love and tune out of distractions?
- Who are you— in three sentences or less?