For a long time in my life the word spending time with God always made me feel as if I miss it. When I listened to other people it made me think that they have these amazing times with God and that I did not really quite get there. Being with God became a place that I had to reach, like a destination, but that I could never quite reach it. Intimacy with God became something that I wondered what it was like for other people and if what I was doing and experiencing was okay? But I daren’t ask, cos then they will think I don’t know or whatever!!!!!! I just should not ask!!
Years ago we went on holiday with friends of ours and this couple loved taking walks on the beach. My husband does not like doing that – I looked at this couple and I wanted what they had and it made me very discontent about where we were and what MY husband wanted to do. I did not see the specialness of what we had as a couple cos I so focused on that one thing I saw they had and thought that was it!!
God has used this picture in my relationship with Him. I must not look at what I see or hear others say about their relationship with God –for sure it can inspire me, but I must never ever allow it to condemn me. I have my own special way of relating with Him, and He with me and He knows how I am wired and that is what it is about.
Only when I got the revelation that being with God is not a destination that I have to reach, but a place where I am already at, did I experience the freedom of spending time with God. It is a place of departure – the fact that I can draw near to Him boldly, confidently BECAUSE of what Jesus did. Whenever I want to go in my mind to thinking ‘I must do things right – like this amount of prayer or this amount of Word or this amount of worship’ – before I am ALLOWED to draw near, I know I am walking in a place of believing a lie and going into dead religion. The truth is Hebrews 4:16. Once I spend time with God from a place of already being righteous and knowing I am okay, my heart is in a place of thanksgiving and it as if I am just more expectant and open for Him.(Ps 100:4,5)
So first for me: spending time with God is a knowing that He already is ready to spend time with me because of my righteousness in Jesus. This truth opens my heart for receiving from Him.
The Word also became different – rather than a homework chore to reach a certain mark (religious dead work), it became a thing that freed me more and more. I am by nature an undisciplined person that does not like structure or routine, so I definitely know that I have to discipline myself to read the word. Routine and structure were negative words to me until God revealed to me that structure is my friend. It is like a car that is supposed to get me somewhere – without it I will still get there, but it will take me so much longer and with so much more effort.
Create a structure to be more effective, this is not religious – so I made peace with the word, but it still takes an effort to walk it out. So the Word has amazing truths for me to discover so that I will become freer in how I think and believe – that is how I see it. This does not mean that every time I read it, that that is what I experience!! BUT, I keep on expecting it.
God speaking to me was another thing that I discovered – people would say God said this or that with such confidence!! So, I disqualified myself, cos I definitely could not say for sure!! The way I learned to hear from God was a journey – I experienced something in my heart or I would see a picture , not at all sure if it was Him, stepped out dead scared and did it, and discovered that it was Him. And so my journey went until after many, many times, I started to recognize the experience or ‘voice’. And that was how I learned to hear the voice of God. It was also a matter of opening my heart to the different languages of God – sometimes I would experience a picture, sometimes a thought within me, sometimes nature shouts a message to me, sometimes the Word gives it to me. But it was a journey of discovery and recognition. And then I could also say – I know His voice. But it was a journey of discovery and recognition.
Journaling has helped me to keep myself focused more than anything else. I would start to spend time with God and my mind would wander, or the phone would distract me, or my ‘to do’ list!! By writing all my thoughts and prayers down as it comes, helped for that not to happen as easily. Then, as I write, quite often the answer would come at the same time and that would also be written down and then I have it. Again, I have to discipline myself to do it – great reward in it!!
This does not mean that every time I spend time with God is a radical life-changing time. No, sometimes there is just a peace that comes, or sometimes I know I just read His word and speak to Him a bit, hear nothing back, but that is also okay. As long as I always know that He is there and I am in His presence – I don’t have to FEEL it!!
In corporate meetings I find it often easier to experience His presence or it happens quicker – That is the beauty of worshiping Him corporately, but it does not make my times with Him less significant. It also does not have to be the same every time – that is putting God in a box and my mind would limit Him and I would miss Him. Truth is that His presence is with us, whether we feel it or not. We do not base truth on feelings, we base it on truth(Word), and because of the blood of Jesus, His presence is with us, we are righteous enough to draw near to the Father, and there is now no condemnation for those who are in Him(Rom8:1).
It is often lies in our minds that are robbing us from having times with God more than anything else. We have all had times where it feels as if we are in a desert, where we hear NOTHING and experience nothing, and we all have been in seasons where we are given revelation upon revelation and burst with life. It helps to honestly hear from others how it works for them- applying principles and truths, but also knowing that He relates and journeys in His special way with me, cos I am me.
Knowing Him is a journey and it is okay to ask questions, they are not stupid, because we are all learning and learning from each other. That is how we learn from one another. BUT, it is pretending that we have it all together, that we know it all, that isolates us and also makes others feel not good enough and as if they miss it. There is not true transparency because we expect to be weighed and judged.
We are all on a journey of discovering and knowing God and none of us will ever know it all or arrive fully, so we can enjoy being and also enjoy learning from one another to, in the end, all move toward knowing Him better.
*if this testimony has resonated with you, leave a comment below, we would love to hear YOUR story of how God changed your life.