I think one of the saddest and most common things I see among believers is that when they do not feel close to God or feel they just can’t hear him anymore there is this sense of, “I just need to motivate myself to read my Bible more,” or “I just need to do more outreach things for my church and community,” I just need to keep pressing on and eventually God will show up,” you fill in the blank. It is this drive to PERFECT something in their walks with God but NOT CONNECT.
That is where I was about a two and a half years ago. I was doing all the good Christian things you should be doing: I read my Bible, I tried to love and reach out to others, I made sure to have quiet times, yet there was still this emptiness I felt. I had a great marriage. I had a wonderful new baby son. But I didn’t hear God. I got overwhelmed by little things. And my heart longed for something more.
When I talk about connection I don’t just mean praying to him because so many times we can pray but we DO NOT FEEL connection or we don’t hear him. The reality is that God is always talking to us but our heart can be so muddled and so wounded it causes us to not be able to hear or connect with him.
Connecting with God is when painful things hit we invite God to join us our pain; when we are overwhelmed at work we invite God to join us in the feeling of being overwhelmed; when we feel betrayed we invite God into that feeling of being betrayed.
The thing that is needed FIRST in hard times is not taking away of the thing that causes us pain but CONNECTION; being met, comforted, validated, and heard.
I will spare you the long journey of inner healing (I might put that in my book one day) and cut right to the point. Connection, I feel is a lot like an ok vs. great marriage. What makes an ok marriage? What makes a great marriage?
Ok marriage: Taking the kids to school, putting the toilet seat down, getting a gift every anniversary, massaging their wife’s feet, being at the kids games or dance recitals, providing for the family. A person can be “doing” all the right things but if they are NOT CONNECTING with their spouse on a daily basis it tends to feel a bit empty.
A great marriage: A couple is connecting AND doing things for and with each other. They are listening to understand and talk through conflict. When talking through conflicts they use statements like : “When you did this it made me feel (fill in the blank).” They fight and work hard to be intentional about making sure their spouse knows they are loved, heard, and understood.
Connection in a great marriage means: Asking how their spouse’s day is, having intentional conversations about how each other are feeling, talking about topics outside of the kids,planning date nights so they can enjoy and connect even more, asking how they can love their spouse better, asking how to improve their marriage, listening to understand not to reply,the list goes on.
Sadly, like I mentioned earlier, most believers treat their relationship with God like the “Ok Marriage.” They get so caught up in the perfection of “doing” all the correct spiritual disciplines but NOT CONNECTING with God on a daily basis. They read the Bible and study it and then make decisions how they think God would without involving him in their life or decision making. People ask God to bless a decision without even talking or praying with God first and including him in the decision making.
Two and half years ago I was in the “Ok Marriage” relationship with God. That is where inner healing came in. It helped me work through and identify what was keeping me from connecting with God. My counselor/ mentor calls it “debris.” Debris can be: listening and believing things like, “I am not lovable,” “I will never be smart,” “I must not be very pretty.” Debris can also be situations that have been hurtful and then we form our own conclusions about people or experiences. One of the biggest debris things I see is this trend of listening and worrying so much about what others think rather than what God thinks. Having debris is different for every person but is always something that keeps us from hearing and connecting with God.
When Jesus came to earth he proclaimed:
” The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners…”
Many people know Jesus died for their sins but he ALSO came to give us freedom. Freedom from any “debris” we have within ourselves and in our lives. We don’t have to keep pressing on and stuff the bad things or hurtful things. God came to bring healing to those places too. “Brokenhearted” doesn’t just mean healing from a break up or for someone who is sad. Our heart is actually made up of: intellect (thoughts), emotions (hurt or wounds), and will (decision making). He wants to exchange the hurtful or negative things we have believed about ourselves or situations with His healing and His perspective.
So many times people KNOW God is good or know scripture inside and out but they do not FEEL or CONNECT with God. That is why inner healing is so important. The debris, if we even know it is there, must be cleared so we can fully hear God and experience him in our lives.
One more interesting thought I would like to leave you with is this picture and image of God being our bridegroom. Scripture talks about how he is like the BRIDEGROOM and we ARE his BRIDE.
God doesn’t want us to live our lives in a just “Ok marriage” with him, he longs to have that “Great marriage” with us where we are connecting and doing things and making decisions together. He wants to be included in our everyday lives. He wants us to know that he delights in us because we are unique and precious to Him. He wants to join us in how we are feeling, what our fears our, what makes us happy. Just like my late husband adored and loved me, God loves and adores ALL of us like that. We are ALL HIS FAVORITE and his CHERISHED bride. He is the ULTIMATE bridegroom and husband because where spouses fall short he is INFINITELY more.