5 Ways to Go Deeper with God

Make one change for Him. Daily choices determine our habits, and habits form a life. Big changes always start with one step you take over and over again. Recently, I gave my phone to my husband as he headed out the door to work and told him I would pick it up in the afternoon. That was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. I recognized that a habit I had allowed to form was drowning the one I really desired to live out. I needed to shut down the habit of checking in with the world so I could focus on what God has for me in this season. Because we are creatures of habit, change will always challenge us. Fasting is perhaps the surest way to awaken us to what we hold quite tightly too. When I want to shake my spirit from dullness, I skip a meal and cause my mind to reflect on God. What is one change you can make….or need to make…to help your focus turn towards Him? It may just be the best decision you make.

choices

 

Pick up a pen. No other created thing God made can communicate through the written word. There is something powerful about writing. Whether it means you begin taking notes again during the sermon time, start journaling your evening prayers or just always have a pen handy when reading scripture. I thoroughly enjoyed When I Journal, He Speaks by Dr. Michelle Miner. The Holy Spirit is actively speaking to believers. Writing helps us tune in to what we think we are hearing from Him. Putting the pen to paper (or hitting the keyboard) is one way we “capture our thoughts” so we can put them up against the light of truth and combat any lies of the enemy. As King David sang unto the Lord, he declared that his tongue was the pen of a skillful writer. (Psalm 45:1) He turned his praise into written word so others would know the goodness of the Lord. Just imagine if we did not have the Psalms today! Pick up a pen, listen and lean into what the Spirit is saying.

Cultivate daily worship. When a local radio station challenged listeners to listen only to Christian music for thirty days, they saw a huge response in the attitudes of callers who participated. We were made for worship. The ironic truth is that as we worship God, it actually renews our own spirit within. Feelings won’t always come first. That’s okay. You may even feel distant from the Lord and wouldn’t know where to start. Try out a Christian station on Pandora or play soft music on your iPhone while reading the Psalms in the morning. God has promised He will inhabit the praises of His people. When you choose to enter an atmosphere of praise, you are drawing near to God. And He will draw near to you.

Read the Bible out loud. We know from studies that when you increase the modes of learning, the brain sits up to pay attention. Even visual learners will increase their memory when sound is added. One really enriching way to do this is reading to your children, but anyone can benefit. Specifically, I find that reading the Psalms or Isaiah out loud can cause the words to catch in my spirit. I find I start praying the words and coming into agreement. God chose to communicate with us through the written word. He is waiting to speak to you on every page. If reading has become old hat, try something new. Find a hidden place to go by yourself and read aloud. Turn every reading into a time of prayer by saying, “Thank you God for this truth.”

Choose community. Christianity does not flourish in isolation. My most intimate times with the Lord have surely been alone with Him, but I will bear little fruit for Him, if any, sitting in my home. Because the Lord designed us in His image, we have the built-in need for fellowship and communion. For many, this step is huge or hard. Isolation has become common in a world in which connecting includes only a screen. Many are alone or don’t know where to start. When we sink into ourselves, our spirit will become dry.  Everyone, at some time or another, has felt alone. God wants to lift you up. He sees you. But you would help his cause quite a bit if you would give Him the chance to love you through the tangible hands and feet of the church again. If you have allowed a hurt from a person to transfer to the Lord, remember that God is defined as love. Choose to attend church this week. Let the pastor put the ashes on your forehead and remind you that “from dust you came and to dust you shall return.” Then remember that the pastor will also face eternity and we are all in the same boat. Call an old friend and ask them about their faith walk these days. Attend a Bible study and take a deep breath knowing everyone else in the room needs help just as much as you.

Deeper

Our church is asking a question during Lent: How can you go deeper with God? We’ll be discussing the vows we take upon joining a church and what that means for a follower of Christ. What are some ways you go deeper with Him? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share via your favorite social media. Be sure to use #deeper to share with others about your faith journey this Lenten season.

 

 

Do You Love God More than the Idea of Being Remarkable?

We walked up the rounding staircase of the older downtown church, and I asked him the question: What is your greatest fear?

I was never much for small talk

The pastor, a friend, he answered me, “That people won’t like me.”

Yeah, the public life can be brutal.

He turned the question to me, and I replied, “That I will get to the end of my life having done nothing big for God.”

It is my biggest fear.

Craig Groeschel said it one time, that “what we fear the most reveals what we value the most.” And I’m finding my values here. In this statement response. The doing and achieving and can’t we all get lost in the Pharisee crowd.

A friend in college asked me once, “Do you ever feel like you are just meant to do something big?” ———-> Yes. So I signed up for the Peace Corps and visited the U.N. and had all kinds of thoughts about what big looked like. I had a dream of Africa, literally and then everyday in my heart. I lived in Dijon, France…and, yeah, they have good mustard there.

Then, you know, life happened, wars were waged, and I walked my yellow-brick path back home. I married a pastor, had littles and dreamed of the day I could make some kind of world difference.

I can see the rocking chair, smell their skin, remember the long nights of losing prayer – losing myself. The little people became my life. And I remember the day my husband whispered it low as I rocked them. “You are doing something big.”

The words of Micha Boyett, they echo mine:

“I know. But also I long to rescue the crushed of this world. I want to do something great….

…Do I believe there’s some secret path to valuable and I’m mindlessly skipping down the wrong one?

I think back to God’s long tunnel between my theology and my striving soul. Maybe I want to be there rescuing people because I want God to like me most.”

Yeah, maybe, like my pastor friend, I just want to be liked. By God.

And then Micha – she confesses something to her husband and I get it. So the Spirit rewords it for me. She says, “I love you more than my idea of being remarkable.” It catches me and my heart. My God – He settles it deep…

Ginger, do you love me more… than the idea….of being remarkable?

What mother doesn’t get lost in the space of mothering? Aching in love and wonder and worry all at the same time. Doesn’t motherhood take a woman into the deepest questions of role and purpose?

Who prepares us for this redefining?

I was lost and yelled out words in the dark nights of long. I just wanted God to rescue me from a hole I seemed to fall into with no exit ladder. What I did not know was that God was redefining me – deep in that dark hole of faith crisis.

Interesting how we strive towards Him, stumbling…. but still want to rescue everyone else.

It’s a path many have walked. And when I walked into the words of Micha Boyett through Found: A Story of Questions, Grace & Everyday Prayer, I found a soul sister.

Of course, if you buy it just for the forward, you’ve got a new nugget in your box of spirit candy. I was stopped steady with just one question by Ann Voskamp:

“How do you get through life knowing you didn’t miss out being who you were meant to be?”

Because if you follow the wisdom of the wise (and ain’t no one gonna question the wisdom of this farm girl) – you notice something here. So I pay attention.

Ann’s question is about being. Mine…is about doing.

I’ve got to do justice and love mercy and walk humbly..

What should I do for you, Lord? Is this enough, Lord. Do you like me now, Lord?

While the Spirit is whispering, Abide in Me.

Is the more important question – at the very end – who we are? Or maybe just – WHOSE we are.

Some questions need space to grow in. To sit awhile.

In that “space between the life we’re living and the life we long to live.” – A. Voskamp

You can find that space in Micha’s words, her telling of questions and daily living.

That daily living we all abide in and somehow miss…because we think it’s not big enough for Him.

What if your big thing is doing what God puts right in front of you….today?

big thing

What if the call of God for you looks a lot like grunt work? Or changing diapers…and caring for an aging parent. Remarkable things in the shadows…unseen by men.

Can I say “Yes” to this pocket, this corner. My little corner of the world. And what if every soul stretched to fit their own corners. Could we round out the changing of the world together?

I know a man who got a job sweeping floors at a Quick Trip to build a relationship with a worker there. That worker came to Christ, and that man is still sweeping. You know, just in case God can use him still. Who does that? Steps into the mundane with their free time solely to love one person to Christ. Every day.

Maybe we’ve falsely defined what it means to be remarkable.

Is it true that we miss the answers, often because….we aren’t asking the right questions? Are our questions too self-focused? In trying to find God, we keep talking about ourselves.

The search for God is the search of every soul. This book, Found, will walk you into the fabric of Micha’s daily life searching for ….and finding the God of love we all long for.

And at once we see He was with us all along. Leading us to a cross where every soul can be found whole. And every life can be of count.

My husband said it right, in the Sunday pulpit.

“The only way I can make my life count for something bigger than myself…is through Jesus of Nazareth.”

******

I pray you feel the brush of His Spirit today, believe in His love and know questions are okay. You are safe with Him.

Have you lost prayer? He hasn’t lost you. I’m walking back into prayer. You are welcome in my Prayer Closet any time.