Quite often, girl friends of mine will tell me things like “you are so lucky you’re engaged”…”you have such a perfect relationship”…”you’re so lucky that it’s all working out”…and so on, and so forth.
While it is absolutely true that I am completely blessed to have such an amazing partner in life, Nathan and I find it pretty funny when people consider it “luck.” You see, we haven’t done everything right. We aren’t perfect. In fact, any relationship requires two flawed people to somehow do life together...no easy task. Where we are today is the result of lots of hard work, effort, struggle, overcoming, prayer, humbleness, time, energy, and most of all: putting God at the center.
It is no accident that we are in a healthy relationship, and it isn’t luck that will carry us to our wedding day in 4 months. It has been the daily decision to allow God to lead us out of many trials, countless mistakes, painful hurts, and into a place of healing, growth, close friendship, and overwhelming love.
Everyone idealizes relationships. Come on, we all do it! 🙂 And while Nathan and I are best friends and madly in love, we have had to walk out the real stuff, too. We wouldn’t have a close, healthy, committed relationship if we didn’t:
-Communicate well (and often!).
-Prioritize each other/make time to connect.
-Learn to forgive.
-Learn how to be a great listener.
-Have the desire to constantly learn more and more about each other.
This list could go on forever. Relationships take work, and true love and friendship require a lot of energy and effort. If I only spoke to Nathan casually once a week, never really communicating, listening to him, or desiring to get to know him better, we wouldn’t be engaged today. In the same way, why do we expect to “feel” close to God when we don’t make our relationship with Him a priority?
It can be frustrating to have the desire to be closer to God, wanting that close relationship, striving to talk to Him the way you’d comfortably speak to a best friend. However, our relationship with God needs even more effort than our worldly ones. If you want to cultivate a more intimate relationship with God, remember these few things:
-Deep relationships take time. It won’t happen overnight, but your faithfulness and consistency are crucial. Commit to the discipline of prioritizing time with God by setting aside daily time for prayer, meditation, and time in scripture.
-Give God the opportunity to speak to you. If we view prayer as a Christmas list, only being in communication with God when we are seeking a result, we are leaving Him no room to speak to us. Be a good listener, and practice the “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).
-Find common interests. What do you do when you love someone? You start loving what they love, learning what they know, seeking them more and more. A huge part of phileo love and having a friendship with God is taking up His interests. How is that possible, you ask? Reading His word. Spend time learning Him more…God’s character, grace, heart, mind, everything. Also-begin praying that He will make Himself the desire of your heart. I encourage you to pray for that because it is not something that comes naturally or easily to our human hearts.
If you are striving today for a deeper relationship with God, I encourage you to remember that love is not an accident. Your effort, intention, consistency, and energy spent prioritizing that relationship is what will bring you into a place of closeness with your creator.