New Year, New…?

It seems that the biggest New Years Resolve among most Christians is typically found in wanting to deepen their relationships with God. We all want a fresh start with him. We want our habits to change so that they will grow us deeper with Him instead of put a wedge between us. The New Year is exciting for all the ways it gives us fresh beginnings. It allows a chance to try again, to start over, to make changes. But it can be even more daunting because of these things as well. The possibility of failure dangles over our heads. We want to make changes, but what if we just end up the same way every year in the past has? We want to try new ways of living intentionally with God, but we are creatures of habit and falling back into the same old patterns seems inevitable.
I get it. It seems hopeless & discouraging at times.

Netflix may trump Bible reading.
Calling a friend for advice & comfort may trump prayer.
Laziness may trump intentional fellowship.
Social media my trump living intentionally.
Pride may trump repentance.
Busyness may trump serving.
Fear may trump courage.

I think the reason picturing our desired relationship with God is so daunting is because we feel as though we need to cultivate a whole new routine and become a new person who enjoys the conventional ways we have been taught of being close to God alone. But what if connecting with God was actually different than we thought it was?

Generally we know three ways to get close to God: Bible reading, prayer, and church going. While these three things are indeed the cornerstone practices of our faith, and we should desire to practice them regularly, God also longs to get close to us in so many other ways. What if the things you enjoyed as an individual could somehow bring you close to Jesus while you participate in them? What if there was a way to truly ENJOY God deeper based on how you were created as an individual?
Some people can’t sit down and read for 3 hours like others can, but they can be out in nature or practice an instrument for that long. Others have a hard time speaking their prayers to God. They get distracted easily and find themselves lost. But they may find in journaling their prayers, they come alive and become focused through written expression. Not everyone is a singer who can join the worship team, but worship can be expressed to God through a million different avenues from painting to planting.
There are so many unexplored ways to connect with Jesus. We are taught a ridged narrative where you have to love to read for hours on end or you’re doing it wrong, or listening to a sermon once a week is what will make spiritual growth happen. These things are simply not true. God made us with a love for learning(in many different styles), for serving, for creating, for adventure, and ultimately, for enjoyment of Him. These things are wasted when we don’t dive deeper into them and use them to get closer to Jesus. Your passions, your interests, they can all glorify and connect you to God.
Just like a close friend, we are meant to look forward to spending time with the God of the universe because we know the conversations and activities we engage in during that time will connect us and grow us. There is a whole world to think up outside of the box. I pray you do!

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