“I don’t want to talk about You like You’re not in the room. Want to look right at You. Want to sing right to You.” –‘You Won’t Relent’ Jesus Culture
Hearing that song I thought, “Yeah God. I want to talk to You, not just about You.”
The Bible can be like God’s Facebook page. I can read all His posts. See all the wondrous things He has done. Know what He is thinking from His status updates. See photos of people He is hanging out with and lives He is changing. Read the memories He shares from the Old (and New) Testament. See what other people tag God in through their testimonies. I can know all about God from everything He shares in the Bible. Or, I could talk TO Him.
Reading the Bible without prayer is like reading someone’s Facebook page when they are sitting right next to you.
I can know all about someone without actually knowing them. Following someone on Facebook doesn’t build our relationship. I can know all about them without ever actually talking to them. If I want to connect with them, I would have to send them a message. Prayer is God’s version of Messenger.
Deep and intimate relationship isn’t made out of one or two messages here and there. It is sharing the details of daily life that build trust and relationship. The intentionality of noticing the unimportant that cultivates intimacy. Jesus sees me. Do I see Him? When I see Him, do I tell Him? When I don’t see Him, do I still believe He is there? Am I talking to Him about all these things? Or am I just talking to myself? More and more I am eliminating self-talk from my life and beginning to experience prayer without ceasing.
It wasn’t always like this. I would say just three months ago my prayer life and self-talk were still separate conversations. But when you’re ready, God’s been waiting. I used to suppress and deny what I considered negative thoughts and emotions. I was afraid of them. I didn’t know how to handle thoughts I “shouldn’t” be having, and was trying to force myself to think the thoughts I “should” be having. I was trying so hard to “take every thought captive” in my own strength. Then one day it clicked. I know what I am thinking. God knows what I am thinking (even more so than I do). Why don’t I connect the two and talk to Him about these fears, doubts, and struggles? Why don’t I ask for His help?
When I have a legal problem I go to a lawyer. They know infinitely more than I do about the law. When I am having a Tesia problem (which is really anything from an impure thought to a life crisis) why don’t I go to the author of life Himself? He knows infinitely more than I do about what’s going on in me internally, and my life externally. He sees and knows all. Why haven’t I always trusted God?
Because I didn’t know Him. I didn’t believe what He said, because I didn’t think He was talking to me. I wasn’t always talking to Him, so I thought, “God doesn’t mean that promise for me. That’s for everyone else.” I thought God gave me the awareness in areas that I’m struggling with, but I needed to do the work. That is impossible. If I can’t save myself, why do I think I can sanctify myself?
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” –Jeremiah 29:12
So God knowing my thoughts is like Him reading my very private Facebook page. But I have to Message Him. I have to talk to Him. I have to speak in order for God to listen.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” –Matthew 6:31-32
If He knows I need help, why doesn’t He just help me? Relationship. Before I help someone, I always ask first if they want my help. I give them the option to refuse my assistance. God does the same. He does not force Himself on us. He lets us choose.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God.” –Philippians 4:6
In dealing with my broken heart I said to God, “I wish You could just take my wounded and pierced heart from me. You take out all the bullets of mistrust lodged deep, the shards of broken emotions glass, and stitch it back together; give me a totally healed heart. One that can love freely.” God showed me if He did that I would miss out on the intimacy. Walking through my healing with Jesus (rather than Him healing me without my involvement) builds trust in our relationship. Being with someone during an event is so much different than hearing them tell the story after.
Having Jesus chaperone my life is so much different than dating Him.
“I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the very end of the age.” –Matthew 28:20 AMP
A chaperone is there to protect me. Keep me out of trouble. Watch over me. My date I am interested in. I want to know every detail about them. I want to know what they are thinking, their likes and dislikes, their past, where they want to go in the future, their opinions on controversial topics as well as insignificant ones. I want to know who they are.
“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” –Hosea 2:19-20
I am the bride of Christ. He has betrothed me to Himself forever.
I have never been married, but from what I have observed, dating someone is very different from being married to them. Don’t get me wrong, I desire marriage. In marriage you are united as one; an even deeper level of intimacy and knowing someone. Marriage is beautiful, and a picture of sacrificial love. However, there seems to be a different mindset in marriage than in dating. The level of familiarity and comfortability can develop into complacency. A trap set to fall into routine and mundane instead of lifelong romance. “Date your spouse” has become a thing for a reason. When you date someone there is intentionality. There is heightened other-consciousness. Your desires to please and spend time with that person are elevated. You desire more of that person. There is romance and wooing.
Jesus asked me recently, “Are we still dating, or living in the routine of marriage?”
I set date nights with God. I say, “OK, You and me Jesus. We need some intimate alone time together. I need to talk to You. Not just about You with others.” Because there is a difference. The level of intimacy changes in a one on one setting versus a group of three. And those alone times are the ones where He touches my heart. Where healing, growth, and greater trust happen. Those are the times, in the Quiet Years, that I am romanced by my Savior. I seek Him and I find Him.
“‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.’” –Jeremiah 29:13-14a
You can’t marry someone if you don’t trust them. Can’t trust them if you don’t date them. Can’t date them if you don’t know them. Can’t know them if you don’t talk to them. Can’t talk to them if you haven’t met them. So have you met Jesus? Or do you just know about Him? Do you talk to Jesus? Are you in a love relationship with Him?
Prayer is the most powerful and essential part of the Christian life. I have direct access to God through Jesus. Self-talk is diminishing and, I am realizing, a waste of time.
Jesus is really becoming “it” for me. He really is all I need. I have reached a place where I am surrendering all because I know, love, and trust the God I am surrendering all to. I truly believe His way is the best way always. When I intimately know the God I have given my life to, I can trust and obey in confidence. I obey because I love, and I love because I obey. I know He will never lead me down paths that are not for my ultimate good and His glory. Fear really is removed by His perfect love. He is the God who sees me and frees me. The more I grasp this true reality, the more the things of this world fade away. When I experience and encounter Jesus, I can no longer live for myself. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me (Galatians 2:20).
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” –Romans 5:1-5
God has poured His love into my heart. I have hope in a future glory. I really do desire knowing the Lord for all my days above all else. The only way I have reached this place is by talking to God. Getting to know Him through His word. Having faith He is speaking to me when He reveals Himself to me through His word, His creation, His people, and any other means He chooses.
I have gotten here even more so, by asking Him for help when I am struggling; when I doubt. By being honest with myself and Jesus about the thoughts and feelings I “shouldn’t” be having, and laying them at His feet. “My weakness does not repel Jesus; but on the contrary, it attracts His power” (Sarah Young). Asking Him for help even with what I consider the small stuff. Having Him help me through the small stuff is where the intimacy happens. That’s where trust and relationship have been built. The big stuff I know I have no control over. It’s the things I think I can control. When I surrender those and ask for Jesus to be Lord over those things, it’s then that I see He cares. He really is sovereign. His love really is that big. Freedom in this life is possible. God really is who He says He is. And I believe.
I didn’t get here by self-talk, self-discipline, or self-will. I got here with a greater dependence on Jesus Christ. I speak to my Savior and listen for His response. Greater dependence on God in every area of my life is where I have found true freedom. I am willing to let go of everything because I trust the One whose hands I am putting everything into. I love my Lord because I am beginning to actually know my Lord on a deeper level.
Not a day goes by that I don’t pray, “Lord give me the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and a heart to learn all that You have for me today.” I can’t even see Him on my own. My eyes, ears, and heart shut without Him. My life depends on Jesus.
“But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay.” –Psalm 40:17
What a beauty-full place to be.