After a series of disappointments several years ago, my spiritual muscles felt weary and weak. It was like the muscle memory of getting alone with God faded, and all I was left with was frustration.
Have you ever been there? It’s like trying to play an instrument after a decade of not touching it. Take my guitar, for example. My son begged me to pull it out of the closet for months, but I kept putting it off, making excuses. It continued to sit with its case collecting dust as I piled things around it.
I held onto this reminder of a former life from the days I actually played. I’m not sure why I kept it, but something inside never allowed me to let it go. After ten years of not touching it, I knew it would be like starting from scratch. Relearning chords. Figuring out tablature again.
One night, out of the blue, my husband said, “Are you going to get your guitar out?” He’d heard the conversations with my middle child and the game was up. I needed to fulfill my promise.
So I dusted the cobwebs off the case and found my old notes. After sitting on the sofa, strumming for several minutes, it was obvious. My hands were no longer used to stretching that way. The wires dug into my un-calloused fingers and I knew relearning would take some time.
When we are out of practice at something, it can make us want to quit altogether.
Those muscles that aren’t used to being used cry out in resistance, begging us to stop.
During that chapter of my life when my spiritual muscles waned, this is how I felt when I attempted to spend time with God. My prayers were weak, so instead of trying, I was either silent or my prayers were sparse and inconsistent.
But God continued to pursue me and remind me of his love in other ways, so I tried again. And again. Until one day, something clicked.
Often, the resistance I felt was because I had fallen out of a routine. Like any other relationship, our connection with God thrives on time, consistency and communication. When these aspects are neglected, coming back can feel awkward and hard.
But you know what? The way he feels about you or me hasn’t changed.
He is right there, waiting for us to come to him in prayer, to be replenished by his Word, and to pour out our hearts and our needs to him. When you struggle to make a connection in your time with God, here are three things to remember:
God is not an abstract, cosmic force. God is a personal, living being who interacts with his people.
I believe one of the reasons we struggle is because God is invisible, and we find it difficult to communicate with someone we can’t see. We often don’t put the same time and energy into our relationship with him that we do with others, because it’s easier to cast it aside and forget it.
While commitment may be a struggle, there is no relationship that will fill us with more joy, peace and purpose than the one we have with the Living God. It thrives on the same element every other relationship does: time.
If you don’t think you have time or the time you have is interrupted by little ones, start small. Begin with five minutes, then increase it to ten, fifteen, and so on. God will honor your investment in your spiritual life.
The more time we spend with God, the more we learn to recognize his voice.
I have never heard the audible voice of God speak to me. But I know he’s spoken to me in other ways. He’s spoken to me through other believers, his Word, worship and his creation, just to name a few. He’s given me the exact word I needed at the moment I needed it.
Before I spent regular time with him, I would write these things off or not even recognize their significance. But now, I realize he is always speaking. However, to see him and hear him, I have to look for him.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
While God is capable of speaking in loud shouts or two-by fours to the head, he usually speaks in subtle whispers.
Time with God doesn’t have to be as complicated as we often make it.
If you’re not sure what to pray, start by praying something from his Word. The Psalms are always a great place to start. Jesus also gave us a blueprint for prayer: The Lords Prayer, found in Matthew, Chapter Six. This simple pattern he introduced to his disciples is as effective then as it was today.
Often, I will say short, intermittent prayers throughout the day, inviting him into my circumstances and admitting my need for him. If the arrows of discouragement or defeat are heavy that day, I crank my favorite worship music.
There is nothing the enemy hates more than voices lifted up in praise to God.
Friend, no matter where you are in your spiritual journey, don’t give up. Those moments we spend with him are an investment worth making. They prepare our hearts for what’s to come, invite in peace when we need it most, and bring joy the world can never deliver.
God didn’t put a price tag our souls, and there is no price we can put on knowing him better.
If you need further encouragement that God is for you, even in the midst of the struggle, uncertainty, and unknown future, I encourage you to pick of a copy of my book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God. Many people have sent me messages saying it is a timely book for this season, which encourages my heart so much. I pray that God continues to use it to touch lives.
You can purchase a copy of Shift by clicking the image below.