A few weeks ago, Carl and I were blessed to be able to celebrate his parents’ 28th wedding anniversary. We went out on their family boat and celebrated, with a toast of champagne, relationships that last.
There were over 100 years of marriage squished onto that small boat. His aunt and uncle proudly celebrated 20 years while his grandparents boasted an incredible 55.
Carl and I brought up the rear with eight months of dating but celebrated proudly along with them, listening to funny proposal stories and words from the wise on how to sustain a loving relationship for so many years.
A few months ago I got an email from one of my readers. She asked me for advice on what to do when your relationship with the Lord starts to feel stale.
God is dazzling. His world is a kaleidoscope of color and dimension and love that we could explore forever without finding an end. But sometimes we find ourselves lost in the woods and need some help figuring out, all over again, that God still hasn’t gone anywhere.
It’s a topic that I’ve been sitting on for months, trying to figure out the perfect way to answer her question.
But as I racked my brain, I couldn’t stop thinking about that night on the boat.
And so inspired by Carl’s family, and with the lessons I’ve scraped together over my last several years as a Christian, here are some things we can do to snuggle up to our miraculous, kaleidoscope Father.
1. Quality Time
In order to build trust and memories with someone in your life, you actually have to spend time with them. And the same is true with God.
If we’re going to know and trust Him, we have to log some quality time together. Intentionally, and without distraction, we have to create space where we can get to know each other — creating memories that we can call upon when we go through a particularly rocky patch.
In relationships, conflict is inevitable. And often we try to sweep the clash under the rug — choosing temporary peace over the lasting kind that comes from resolved conflict and honesty.
But we do the same thing with the Lord. Instead of asking the hard questions and telling Him how we really feel, we pray shined-up, sterile prayers, thinking that if we really had faith, we’d be obedient without complaint.
But what we forget is that God knows everything and is already well aware of how we feel. And as His children, we have the freedom to climb up into his lap, asking him about the things we don’t understand and telling him when we’re hurt.
Vulnerability breeds intimacy — with God and with each other.
3. Switch It Up
For almost four years now I’ve woken up each morning to spend time with God. Sometimes it’s great, and sometimes it feels obligatory, but with a mix of Bible reading and journaling — it hasn’t varied much.
I tried to imagine how I’d feel if mine and Carl’s relationship looked like that — the exact same thing day after day … yikes!
I’ve grown so much in those morning quiet times, but I’ve since hit a place in my relationship with God where I desire more. I want to get out and experience life with Him — and the beautiful part is that I think He wants that too.
The amazing thing about relationships and about life is that we get to constantly unwrap new gifts. We get to jump in a new body of water, climb a new mountain and dance to a new song. The possibilities are endless and it’s those new experiences that bring out different dimensions in our relationships.
The same is true for God. Try something new — explore a place you’ve never been before, go on a mission trip or to a worship night or read a new kind of book. By trying something new, you get to see a new dimension of God, sparking your love for Him in a whole new way.
4. Say Thank You
Einstein says that we can either live as if nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle, and I choose everything. I want to live with my eyes wide to the good parts of life and a thank you on the tip of my tongue, ready to praise the giver of the best gifts.
I think that the best way to inspire fresh love in any relationship — including our relationship with God — is to look for the good things, very much on purpose, and to celebrate them. It’s a great way to make people feel appreciated, but cultivates a habit of noticing the wonderful things about the people in our lives — increasing our love and appreciation for them all over again.
Just like any other relationship, our relationship with God can be hard. It goes through seasons — ebbing and flowing for a million different reasons.
But the best part is that God isn’t going anywhere. Even on the days that He feels most distant, we can rest assured that He’s there — exactly where He said He’d be, close and loving and dazzling — if only we’d take the time to see.
How do you seek God when you feel far away?