Have you ever watched the distance grow between you and God and wondered how it happened?
I grew up in the church - grew up reading the Bible - grew up knowing about Jesus. And still I've spent several seasons adrift - times filled with apathy, indecisiveness, and confusion about what next step to take.
What about you?
Just because we're in relationship with God doesn't mean it won't take effort to stay close. Marriages drift. Close friendships drift. Family members drift. And, if we aren't careful, we can drift away from God too. How?
Here are three ways we can begin drifting from God...
- We become indifferent. Doing life with God becomes so typical that we take it for granted. We've lost the sense of awe and wonder at how He chose us and still chooses us every day.
- We give way to excuses. A little more time spent in bed or watching a show. Another activity for the kids or a plan on the calendar that keeps us running around too busy. We think we'll have more time tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes.
- We take back control. Somehow, we believe the lie that we know how everything should go. So we nudge God to the side and our nudges gradually push Him away from the driver's seat.
How can we right the ship and get tethered back to Him?
First, we need to protect a sense of awe. Slowing down is one of the most effective ways to do this. Stop and watch every slow shift of color in a sunset, knowing God is the master Artist. Breathe deeply and feel your heart beat knowing that He is the Source of life holding you together. Read scripture slowly, paying attention to anything that stands out or stirs your curiosity. Meditate on the reality of God's vastness - how He exists everywhere, knows everything, and holds all power - and contrast it with your finiteness.
Then, keep what's first in first place. Take some time - if you're married, sit with your spouse - and write down what God tells you to prioritize. Make it clear. (See Habakkuk 2:2.) Then, for one week, write down everything you and your family do during the day and how long each activity takes. Be brutally honest with yourself. Then go and compare how you lived your life with your list of priorities. Does it match? If not, make a plan to trim the fat and put priorities in their rightful place in your schedule.
Finally, give up control. Our desire to be in charge of our own lives has been wrecking things since the dawn of humanity (Genesis 3). We aren't designed to be in charge - we are designed to live in connection with God. My life radically changed when I surrendered control of my life to God. I'd known all along the truth of the Bible and the saving grace of Jesus' death and resurrection, but I'd tried to maintain control and failed miserably. Give up control to the only One who can rightly handle it. In giving up independence and self-reliance, you'll become dependent on God, reliant on Him. That alone will protect you from drifting away from the God who loves you.
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