Don’t Give Up on Being Close to God

Do you sometimes feel as though other people know God but you’re just going through the motions?

You want to know Him. You do all the things (you think). You worship. You attend Bible Study, and you even do the homework. You’ve been baptized. One of the presets in your car is for K-Love, and you’ve seen all the episodes of The Chosen. You’ve taught church school and even gone on a missions trip.

But, honestly, when you’re alone, you wonder if that’s all there is.

You pray and sometimes it seems as if He answers, but you’re never sure if it was a direct correlation. You don’t get chills or hear any specific “leadings.” When some people talk about God they sound as if they’re friends. You want that but it’s been a lot of years and that’s not your experience.

You know Jesus loves you but you’re wondering if He has other children He likes better.

DON’T GIVE UP!

Jesus wants that closeness with you, too.

How do I know? He left His throne in Heaven to live as one of us, to die on a cross to pay the price we couldn’t pay for our sins. He rose from the dead, and sent His Holy Spirit to empower and guide us. Then, He called to you.

He whispered your name and you responded.

But this is earth, not Heaven. There are people, powers, and problems that create interference – just like static on those old transistor radios we used to keep under our pillows.

The worries of this life. The damage done to us by ourselves and by others. The struggles of living in a fallen world. The imperfect church. The day in and day out-ness of life. False teachers. Distractions. Small failures adding up.

And, topping it off (or orchestrating it from behind the curtain) is an enemy who wants to convince you that God may certainly be great but “He’s just not that into you.” He whispers that you won’t ever feel close to Him. You won’t ever have that friendship for which you’ve longed.

If you were going to have it, you’d have it by now, right?

Not necessarily. Abraham didn’t receive the promised land as soon as he saw it.

I used to feel this way about cooking. For most of my sixty years, I’ve had a relationship with food and was able to cook, but I never was able to make food sing. My go-to for church potlucks was Tostito chips and salsa. Always well-received but not really a recipe to pass on to the next generation.

The thing is, I really tried to be a good cook. I followed recipes. I bought most of the right ingredients. I made a solid effort. But, meh. Nothing special or memorable. No chills. I settled. My family didn’t starve, and my cooking was passable but that was the height I thought I could reach.

Recently, that has changed. My husband now shows up for dinner eager to discover what’s on the menu. I’m enjoying the process and the result. I’m growing in confidence and I’m wondering what else I can do that I imagined I couldn’t.

What changed?

First, I stopped listening to old voices in my head – some belonged to childhood figures, some were my own mimicking those, some were our enemy. Anyway, I shut them down.

Then, I got some help.

I order from one of the boxed meal services. I obtained the right cooking tools. I reorganized my kitchen. I stopped whipping every burner onto high.

I slowed down. I paid attention. I believed the instructions enough to follow them – to a T.

I learned some tricks (YouTube is my friend). I got tips from my son-in-law, the chef.

I stopped indulging my false belief that I couldn’t cook well.

When I let go of false beliefs and expectations, when I invested in the process, it slowly came together.

God adores you. He gave His very Son for you. No good will He withhold from you – especially not Himself.

Don’t give up. You will seek Him and find Him when you seek Him with all your heart.

Stop listening to the voices that lie. God’s Word says He adores you. Believe it. Then, get some help.

Tell God (again) that you want a deeper relationship with Him. Ask Him to send you the right help.

Tell a mature Christian you’re wondering if there’s more to this Jesus life and if you can experience it. Ask others to pray for you to have a breakthrough.

Invest in the tools. They aren’t fancy (much like the boring old vegetable peeler, non-stick pan, and zester I got for my kitchen). A Bible. Prayer. The armor of God. Worship. Belief. Fellowship. Obedience. A reliable guide.

When I feel stale or blocked with Jesus, I shut off every distraction (TV, media, entertainment) for a week. I do only what is necessary for life (shower, work, cook). Every other moment, I make myself available to hear from Him – I read the Bible, walk in nature, make a written list of all my current concerns, and then let them be. I confess my sins, offer thanksgiving and praise, and I sit quietly listening for His voice.

Sometimes there are lightning bolts, but often it’s just a quiet growth, like sitting beneath a tree for an afternoon in the sun. Like the old prescription for TB – just sit still and receive the Son.

Jesus didn’t just come for everyone else.

 He came for you, and He hasn’t given up on getting closer or going deeper. He’ll keep hanging on as long as it takes for you to trust that He loves you and delights in you.

Start now.

 


**Hello Friends, If you’re available the last weekend in October, I would LOVE to have you join me as I lead the Courage and Confidence Retreat at Singing Hills in New Hampshire (Christ-centered confidence, of course)! Just click on the link and take a look at all this lovely campground in the mountains has to offer as we focus on moving forward from hardship in Christ.


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12 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Maureen says:

    Yes… all this!
    YES!
    ❤️

  2. Barbara Latta says:

    Lori, thanks for sharing this. I think so many of us struggle with these feelings from time to time. Turning off all other distractions will show us how to be close to Him. This is what Christ meant when He told us to abide in Him. Like Mary did when she sat at His feet. Blessings!

  3. Mark says:

    Thank you, Lori. I needed this. I’m glad I took the time to read it. Please pray for me that I do what you’ve written . . . what His Prophets wrote . . . what He once wrote on my heart that is still there . . . like His Wounds.

  4. Deb Kreyssig says:

    Ask,seek,knock and keep on asking. He will answer. Great,encouraging word Lori. Thank you!

  5. Desiree says:

    This is beautiful, Lori. It hit my heart in a special place this morning. I related to the cooking story too and it encouraged me to be a little braver with dinner tonight. Thank you for being a voice of truth that helps dispel those old voices.

  6. Jim says:

    Thanks, Lori. This post is JUST what I needed today…for me and for my adult kids.

  7. Clarice James says:

    Thank you, Lori. This was just what I needed to read today.

  8. Sandra Boleski says:

    Thank you, Lord, for using Lori to speak truth to me. I have been struggling with trying to commit to becoming closer to Him. The world and “things” are taking my focus away from getting to know Him more and I have been drifting away…again!! He keeps calling me back and I thank Him using you. He is reminding me that He is never far from me and I recognize He understands my floundering and my need for encouragement to move forward. Thank you Lori for continuing God’s call to share your faith and His council. Blessings, Sandi

  9. John Allen says:

    Excellent reminder–and wholesome words. Especially resonated with: “Tell God (again) that you want a deeper relationship with Him. Ask Him to send you the right help.”

    Yes.

  10. Maxine D says:

    Thank you!!

  11. Rob McCullough says:

    Amen Lori! Thank you for the encouragement! It is so good how All of His Word is True and are Promises to us that He fully intends to fulfill, and we can trust Him and Rely on Him to be there for us!

  12. Karen Ellis-White says:

    Listening is the hardest. Great advice!