So it’s twenty days into the New Year and I’m just sitting here like, “Wow, God!” We are nearing the end of the first month of this year and already I feel a drastic change from last year. God is moving more than ever before. Our church’s 40 days of prayer and fasting is halfway over and I feel this deep shift; it’s so amazing.
God has been speaking into my life at a deeper and more intimate level. He is showing me things I never dreamed of before. He has awakened passions inside of me I never knew were there. He has taken my hand and led me to amazing places.
One thing I’ve been realizing lately is that I have come to the point in my life where I have learned to put God first in everything I do. He’s first in my spiritual life, my finances, my time, and my relationships. The relationships thing was the hardest thing for me to handle though.
It’s hard being a girl in your early 20s who has never actually dated a guy. I mean, not like there were no prospects. But some things just didn’t work out. In our culture today, I feel like my generation puts pressure on young girls. I work as a cashier and I can’t help but look over the covers of the tabloids when I’m bored and we have no customers. They’re just kinda… there. The media is always talking about who’s with whom and what person cheated and this and that. They act like you’ll never be complete without that “perfect guy.” They make it seem like intimate relationships matter.
But the truth is intimate relationship does matter…
Whether you’re single or married or are in a relationship, you already have a relationship that matters. You may not know it, but you are engaged. Whether you want to admit it or not, you have someone who loves you deeper and more intimately than anyone could ever love you. How do I know this? He created you. He cares for you. Ultimately, He hung and died on a cross for you.
His love is perfect love. His love brings peace and comfort. His love brings joy. His love brings healing. His love is what makes us complete.
In my life, I have learned some very important things that are key to a successful relationship.
- Communication! – This is important in EVERY relationship in our lives, not just with God. Without communication, this world would be total chaos. As it is with our lives. I cannot express how valuable communication is in a relationship. We communicate with God through prayer and just talking to Him every day. Notice I said EVERYDAY. You cannot expect a relationship to thrive on, “Well I’ll just talk to them once every few days.” You need constant prayer. Prayer is a must in our lives with God. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t always pray like I should have. But now that prayer is a constant part of my life, it has drawn me deeper into my love relationship with Christ. Communication is important. Without it, we are lost. Psalm 5:17 states, “Pray without ceasing.” This means we should always be in a constant state of prayer and communication with God. My prayer life wasn’t that great a few years ago. I always found myself “busy” or preoccupied. I always prayed at night before I went to sleep but I was always so tired that I never really prayed like I should have. It reminded me of when people just throw around the phrase, “I love you.” I was like, “Oh, I love you God. But I kind of need to sleep now so I’ll see if I can talk to you in the morning.” Of course, I’m paraphrasing but I think sometimes we don’t know how to find that time. The truth is we should always have the time to pray to God. For me, I have found that when I drive to and from school is my time with God. There’s no one else in the car. There are no distractions. It’s just God and me. I can pour my heart out for about 45min to an hour each way depending on traffic. That gives me almost two hours of given prayer time in one day at LEAST. I’m not telling you all this to brag. I’m telling you that if you look hard enough, you will see that there is time to pray. So let there be no excuses. Pray, communicate with God. Never let there be long times without communicating with your beloved Creator.
- Honesty – I don’t know about you, but I have been hurt so many times by dishonesty. Honesty is a quality that is to be respected, not looked down upon. Honesty goes both ways in your relationship with God. On one hand, you are to be honest with God. Even though He already knows the truth and all the facts, you should be open and honest to Him. I say this because sometimes when we state our honest feelings to God, we are also admitting them to ourselves. In turn, God is always honest with us. He will never lie to you, deceive you, nor will he sugar coat what He has to say. He will always, always be honest. Sometimes I find that I won’t always like what He has to say to me. But I know that I can take what He tells me and together we can make this life better. If both parties are not honest to each other, how do we know we can trust them? I know I can always trust and count on God. However, will He be able to count on and trust me?
- Trust – I think honesty and trust go hand in hand. In fact, all these qualities do. It is important to trust God with everything within you. You need to be able to trust Him with your life. This means you need to trust Him with your finances, your time, your calling, and relationships. If you can’t trust God, your relationship will only be controlled by you. And trust me, no one wants to be the “overly controlling” party in the relationship. Another thing I’d like to point out, Christ is our Heavenly fiancé. He is our head in the relationship. We need to trust Him. Not only do we need to allow ourselves to trust Christ, but we need to allow ourselves to be trusted. God needs to be able to trust you with the purpose He has created you for. You can’t just be this whimsical person without a care in the world. Your life can’t be disorganized and full of laziness. God has given us a purpose. And you may say, “Well, my purpose can’t be that big. I’m only one person.” Trust me when I say that YOU play a vital role in the Kingdom. God created you for such a time as this. I’m not trying to be cliché but it’s true. We serve a BIG God!!! He gave us this BIG world in a BIG universe! You cannot convince me that you weren’t created with a BIG purpose because you were! So set priorities. Let God know, “Hey God! You can trust me!!”
- Intimacy – This is kind of one of the hardest topics for me to understand right now because I am not married or in a relationship with someone. However, I understand the topic of intimacy on a spiritual level. A few days ago when I started working on this blog, it kind of dawned on me HOW we are intimate with Christ. We not only need to communicate, trust, and be honest with each other. We need to draw deeper. How do we become more intimate with Christ? The answer is fasting and the Word. We not only need all the other things I mentioned above – they are necessary – however, if we want to draw deeper, we need to fast and read God’s word. There are many different ways to fast. You can fast media, a whole day, a couple meals, or you can do a Daniel fast. For the past few years we’ve kicked off the year with 40 days of prayer and fasting. Let me just say, WOW! Amazing things happen when you fast. This year has been notably different. This year our church has gone to a new level already and we’re not even done our 40 days. I’ve been noticing in my own life that it is changing me and helping me understand more. But it’s not just the fasting. Reading the Bible more has also opened my eyes to how the Creator loves us, what he wants for my life and for the church as a whole. It’s like a road map AND a love letter. Praying and fasting and reading God’s word are vital parts to a more intimate relationship with Christ. Without them, your relationship is shallow.
- Loyalty – It is important to have faithfulness and loyalty in a relationship. God is to be our first love. Everything else should come second. When you love someone, you put them first in everything. You make sure they are happy and not neglected. You should never cheat on God. Now I’m sure you’re wondering how you can cheat on God. Easily. You allow other “loves” other “passions” other “voices” and other “desires” get in the way of God who should be your love, passion, voice and desire. God will always be loyal and faithful to you. Let Him be your first love. When you put Him first, everything else will fall into place.
- The ability to LISTEN. – Now I know this is hard for some of us. But we all need to learn to listen. You may be thinking, “Uhh, Kristina? You just told us to communicate with God but now you’re telling us to be quiet?” I admit, it sounds contradictory but stay with me. You can talk, talk, and talk to someone until your face is blue. But if they’re not listening, what’s the point of the conversation? Communication is both talking and listening. Sometimes I feel we talk at God instead of with God. Talking with God means you He allows you to be heard and then you allow Him to be heard. Listening is important. Even in the moments of prayer where it seems like you’re just… “there” He is able to speak to you. You may not feel it right away, but you will one day be able to see the fruit of those moments in God’s presence where you were just silent. Let’s not be so quick to leave His presence. We should be willing to linger and wait… silently.
- Reverence – When we talk about relationship with Christ, we need to understand that the relationship we have is with GOD. God is holy, omnipotent, powerful, as well as our savior. We need to reverence Him when we come into His presence. Sometimes I think we tend to make God smaller than what He is. But He is God! When we are in His presence, we cannot have other things distracting us. My mom wrote a blog about a week ago entitled, “Are you in need of a CLOSET repair?” It is an amazing blog. You need to have that place where it’s only you and God. Your closet can’t have all the extra stuff. I’m working on my closet repair right now. I’ve decided all I need is a journal and my Bible. Though my physical closet changes from time to time because I still live with my parents (it’s usually a room that isn’t being used) I still try to find that time where it can just be me and God. It is important to reverence God because He is our father. We disrespect Him when we try to bring in all the other “stuff” and distractions of our lives. Honor God. Respect Him. Find that place of reverence where it’s just you and God. Whether it’s in your room, outdoors, or a literal closet… just make sure there’s only room for you and God.
I really pray that this blog helps bring your relationship closer to God than ever before. These are just some things that I have learned personally in my own walk of life. I see so many that struggle with their relationship with God. I still do. But knowing the things that I know now have helped my relationship with Him become so much better! I pray that your relationship with Christ goes deeper than ever before. God bless!