3 Things That Have Helped Me Deepen My Relationship With God
Lately, I've been reflecting on my faith journey and how far I've come in my two years of nurturing my relationship with God. I tend to focus on how much work I have left to do on myself and how much further I have to go but I've been trying to be more intentional about acknowledging my growth. As I do so, there is a lot that I want to share with you that I've learned about myself that has helped my walk with God and I hope it helps you on your journey. In this blog, I will be sharing the 3 things that have helped me deepen my relationship with God.
1. Treating my relationship with God like an actual relationship that needs nurturing.
Even though we can't see God, He's always there with us and when building a relationship with Him, I've learned that I have to treat it like I would any relationship in my life that matters to me. I like to use the example of dating to make it practical. When you're dating and nurturing your relationship with your partner, you check in with them daily, talk to them or text them throughout the day, and you're intentional about making time for them and spending time with them so you can learn more about who they are and build deeper intimacy with them. Likewise, in nurturing our relationship with God, making that extra effort makes a difference. Checking in with God daily, talking to Him throughout the day as if He was there (because He is always there with you), spending time with Him, being intentional about learning more about Him so you can deepen your intimacy with Him etc. makes a huge difference and has really made an impact on my faith journey.
2. Understanding the type of Christian I am and what I need need in order to stay connected to God.
We're all different, so what works for one person may not work for another and vice versa. What one person needs in order to feel closer to God may be completely different than what another person needs and that's ok. Understanding what my needs were and not seeing them as a weakness but as a guide for what I need to do in order to stay connected to God has been very impactful. The parable of the sower has been a good reference point for me. In this parable, different types of believers are described.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” ~ Matthew 13:18-23
I identified with the rocky ground for a long time, feeling joy once I heard the Word of God and just being filled with gratitude and excitement about learning about God. But because I wasn't rooted in Him, it was short-lived. I felt like I would go back to "normal" as soon as my time with God had ended or I left church or wasn't actively in God's presence. Although I wanted to be the good ground, I took that as an opportunity for growth. I knew what the problem was - not being rooted in God - so I worked on it.
Then as I felt my foundation in God getting stronger, I started to identify with the thorny ground where although I had a good foundation in my relationship with God, I was easily overwhelmed and would get easily carried away by the worries of this world. This, I felt like was an opportunity to work on the trust I had in God to take care of me and the things that come up in my life. I could go on, but I think you get the point lol. Learning about different characters and believers mentioned in the Bible and noting some of their mistakes and weaknesses, especially the ones I identified with, helped me learn more about myself as a Christian. This self-awareness was helpful because I was able to recognize that my struggles are normal and that there is hope to become better and do better. We are forever works in progress In Christ, so embracing the journey and continuously growing and working on myself has made a huge impact on my journey.
3. Being mindful about the type of content I consume.
I started to note that my desire for certain sinful things would increase after watching shows or listening to music that encouraged that behavior. I had to be honest with myself about the fact that there are a lot of sinful things that have become normal in our society and if I really wanted to distance myself from sin, I had to be more intentional about the type of people I allowed in my circle, the type of shows I listened to, the type of music I listened to etc. Now, I'm not saying that I listen to gospel music 24/7 and only watch God glorifying shows. But I do pay attention to how I feel after consuming worldly content. In the moment, watching something may feel completely harmless, but if that then leads to me justifying and participating in sin, then I have to recognize that whatever that harmless thing was, was actually harmful after all since it led me to sin. So overall, just being more self-aware and choosing God over sin. It's not always easy, but it's made a huge difference in my journey.
How about you? What are some things that have impacted your faith journey and helped you deepen your relationship with God?
I hope this blog post spoke to you in whatever season you're currently in. If you haven't subscribed yet, make sure you're subscribed for new blog posts every week on navigating faith, life and entrepreneurship!