By: Laura Rinas
Complacency is an easy thing to slip into. When life is running smoothly, with perhaps some stress and over-booking happening, but nothing worse, I can get to a place where I forget my deep need for anything more. I get into the groove of checking off lists, reading bedtime stories, making dinners, going to church, and generally feeling pretty good about myself.
When things hit the fan, however, I am reminded once again of not only my complete inability to work good into certain areas of my life on my own, but also my deep, heavy need for God’s presence, love, grace and forgiveness in my life. When I am lying on the bathroom floor, crying out because my own inability is pushing down on my chest, forcing the air from my lungs, it’s quite natural for me to throw my hands up, close my eyes, and cry out to God. It’s almost a reflex.
But how do I bring that reflex, that appetite for God’s presence in my life, out from the valleys and into the hill-tops? How do I easily recognize my need for Him, even when everything is going smoothly?
The Gospel very clearly tells us that Jesus is the doer, and we are the receivers. He has rescued us, died for us, redeemed us. Literally all we can do is praise His name, accept this great gift, and allow Him to work in our life. God will do what He does regardless of our knowledge of it, but if we want to bring our appetite for Him up, we MUST decide to be active participants in His relationship with us. We can do this through three surprisingly easy, yet surprisingly difficult intentional steps.
Just like any relationship, our relationship with God requires communication. If we learn to be still and listen, we will hear His whispers throughout our life. We must get into the habit of answering. It’s easy to clasp our hands when we are watching our children get rolled into surgery, as I recently did. But when we can get into the habit of breathing out thanks and praise as we go about our very normal and busy schedules, we will find that habit bringing forth a deep desire to keep the conversation going.
God is a God of community. He himself is a triune God, and when he created us to be in His image, this was definitely part of it. It was not good for Adam to be alone, not because he wasn’t capable, but because the God-image in us was meant to be in fellowship. Being an active part of a Christian community is an absolutely necessary part of growing our appetite for God. When we intentionally surround ourselves with other Christians who are also seeking God’s whispers in their own life, it becomes easier to not only do that in our own life, but to have trusted brothers and sisters in Christ to help us discern, learn and grow.
Let me just say this right here. When you first start, reading the Bible will never feel as important as the things that are jumping off of your to-do list. You will have to move intentionally towards this one, seemingly sacrificing ‘more pressing matters’ to do it. But I guarantee that setting time aside to dig into your Bible will prove to grow in you a deep desire to know God more. We have a God that knew we would be a people of stories, a people who would want to know the God who breathed life into us. When you hold your Bible, you hold a giant story of God: who He is, what He has done, who WE are in relationship to Him. From the front cover to the back cover, you see His story, our story, you see Jesus being promised before we ever set foot outside of the Garden. When you do this deep contemplation, digging into the Word with commentaries and with your Christian community, you will start to uncover this wonderful, blessed story that we are indeed a part of. You will realize that those whispers that we hear from God are echoes of what is shouted in the pages of this great book.
When we want to uncover or reignite our appetite for our Lord, we need but ask. But we need to ask everyday. We need to ask again and again, digging in His Word for answers, digging into community to see his community-driven nature in ourselves. We need to show up, eyes open, heart open, mouth… maybe not so open. And when we can do that, hold on tight. Our God is a big God. And even when the sun is shining, the kids are playing, the bills are paid, God’s presence can bring us to our knees.