I had two conversations with women this week who talked about how their time with the Lord has changed drastically. Because of family, jobs and simply stage of life, things have changed. In the past, they used to be able to have long quiet times with the Lord and lots of time to study the Word and attend Bible studies. But now they don’t have that time, and as a result, they don’t feel as close to God as they once did.
Sometimes we forget that our relationship with God is a relationship. It changes; it ebbs and flows. Sometimes we feel close and sometimes we don’t. One of the women had been married over 20 years. I asked her if her relationship with her husband was exactly the same as it was when they were dating. Did they spend as much time together now as they did when it was just the two of them and no kids? Well, no. Did it make you any less married? No. Does it mean you love each other any less? In fact, she told me that she loved him even more than when they were first married. Life doesn’t stay the same, and our relationships change.
While God never changes, my season of life and the way I relate to him does. I have heard from the college student who gets a career that by the time she gets home from work, she doesn’t have the energy for Bible study. I’ve heard from the new mom that getting up early like she used to seems impossible when she doesn’t get that much sleep to begin with. I’ve heard from the mom of elementary students that when her kids become teens, they need her even more, and she doesn’t have the time to herself that she once did.
We seem to think that our relationship with God is based on a specific formula of Bible study and prayer, a certain amount of time, or a certain time of day or a specific method that fits our personalities. While it’s nice to find a groove, it’s also good to get out of a rut.
In those seasons where quiet time is not easy to find, God has sweet reminders for me. He reminds me that he still loves me whether my quiet time is hours of Bible study or a quick prayer. His desire to know me and be known by me is still there. His grace is there to cover the days when time eludes me. He is always standing at the door with open arms to welcome me home. I’m reminded that faith is not about all the things I do like reading my Bible and praying and going to church. Faith is simply opening my eyes to see him in my life. It’s opening my ears to hear his voice in whatever moment I’m in.
When my seasons changed, it was good for me to put down my colored pencils, put away my concordance and learn to meditate on His Word. When I walked and memorized my “pet” Psalms, I learned to hear his voice. I learned to listen with my heart instead of filtering everything with logic and academic explorations. I realized I trusted my systems to make me feel like a Princess more than trusting His Word. Instead I had to trust that he could still speak to me even without my rules and routines.
The truth is that nothing has changed in your identity with Christ, just the way you feel. If you wake up one day and don’t “feel” married or in love, it doesn’t mean you’re not married any more. You didn’t become a Princess because you woke up and “felt” like a Princess. You are God’s Princess because he loved you and picked you to be His beloved daughter. Your adoption wasn’t based on what you did or didn’t do, it was based on what you believed. This is the Truth. This is grace: you didn’t deserve to become a Princess, so you can’t do anything to “undeserve” it either.
So how do you get back? Open your eyes and believe that you are still His Princess, even on the days you feel like an ugly stepsister. Let the mechanics of the relationship change so that it can go even deeper. Beware that it may not fit all the rules and guidelines you have made for yourself over the years. He knows where you are, and he’s not standing at the door tapping his toe and looking at his watch. He just wants your heart, whatever and whenever you have time to give. He stands at the porch looking into the night, hoping to see you come down the lane. And when you do, he runs toward you and embraces you like his beloved daughter. Open your eyes and turn toward Him. He is there for His Princess.