[The link to the video about this is at the bottom of this post.]
For a long time I felt overwhelmed by the idea of building a relationship with God. If I’m being honest, it can still feel overwhelming. It’s easy to obsess over what I think I need to DO…and questions like these:
- Am I doing the right things?
- Am I doing them right? Long enough…often enough?
- Does He really hear my prayers?
- What if I can’t focus my mind while spending time with Him? Does it still count?
- What if I don’t feel Him at all? Is He still there?
One day I was reading Luke 12, when this story popped out at me: The story of the woman who gave two small coins into the temple treasury (aka, giving money to God), even though she was surrounded by people giving huge sacks of money.
Jesus looked at her and said: “She’s given more than anyone else has.”
If I had been standing next to Jesus, I would have done a double take. Did she stealthily whip out more money and sneak it in when I wasn’t looking?? Because as far as I saw, she’d put in WAY LESS than anyone else!
…but she had given all she had.
Jesus said: “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.“
While reading that story, I felt like God was showing me:
“I’m not asking you to love Me like that other person is loving Me. I’m asking for all YOU have.”
What I’ve learned is that the spiritual disciplines (i.e. reading our Bible, prayer, etc.) are not about “doing it right.” Instead, they’re about coming closer to God.
Here are a couple short quotes from my book “The Insatiable Quest for Beauty” that explain what I mean:
That’s when I started realizing: Life is not so much about being good enough; it’s about staying close enough to our heavenly Father.
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say here. Is it important to read our Bible? Yes. Is it important to pray? Yes. But why are those things important? Because they bring us closer to God.
Spiritual disciplines weren’t designed to impress God, or prove that we are worthy of His love. Rather, if we’ll engage our hearts in those activities instead of just doing them to do them, they will bring us closer to our Father.
And here’s the second quote:
It’s like spending time with the same person over and over for months and months. Slowly you start to talk a little bit like them, and think a little bit like them. You start to finish each other’s sentences.
The same thing happens with God. The Bible calls it being transformed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). When we spend time with Him, and keep spending time with Him, it changes us. It fills us. It heals us…
Continually coming before God in my brokenness — again and again — began to make me whole… When you spend quality time with God, over and over, you can’t help but change; you can’t help but heal.
I hope that encourages you as it does me.
Along this lifelong journey of coming closer to God, there are three main “spiritual disciplines” that REALLY help me a TON.
They may sound simple and straight-forward, but sometimes I forget about the power of these things. I tend to take these things for granted and just DO them, instead of really engaging my heart in them.
These things are listed briefly here, but explained more in the video below:
Reading the Word of God. It changes us from the inside out — truly. The more we fill our minds with His word, His truth, the more it transforms us and helps us get to know Him more. (See Hebrews 4:12.)
Spending time alone with God, and in prayer. Taking this time aside changes everything. It reminds us of the truth, it stills our hearts, and it creates space to simply be with God and listen to what He has to say. (For one verse about this, see Psalm 46:10.)
These things are not a formula; they’re just three things that I’ve read about in the Bible and that really help me in my own life. And I really think they’ll be super helpful to you as well! 🙂
So here is a brand new video that talks about these three things, and how — if we let them — they can help us grow so much closer to God: