We all have those friends that we talk to every time we see them, but never go more than surface level conversations. You’ll say, “hey, let’s hang out this summer,” but…does that ever really happen? It’s these friends that when they ask us how we’re doing, we give the common “yeah, I’m just tired” response. There’s that distance that we keep with them because we’re not exactly sure how much we can trust them. Sadly, sometimes the friendship I just described is how we are with the Lord- a distant friendship with limited trust.
A few weeks ago, I attended InterVarsity’s (IVCF) Red River Region’s training and vision week, Recweek. During my time there, the Lord definitely placed certain convictions on my heart and asked me some really difficult questions. But one was if I really did trust him with my future here on this earth. The Lord asked me, “why is it so hard for you to trust Me with your future during your time on earth, but have no trouble trusting Me with even greater, eternal matters like salvation?” For me, trusting Him with my future in the season I am in right now has to do with my profession and what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life. And boy, oh boy! Did that hit me hard or what.
It hit me so hard that I practically flew to the other side of the room and I had my back turned to the Lord once I got home. I put everything He had told me in a box and put it off to the side, not wanting to have to continue to have that conversation with Him…and I was pretty good about avoiding it, until two days ago. I sat down to have quiet time after a rather long time, grabbed my shawl and decided to spend some time in listening prayer. A few moments in, a wave of emotions just came over me and I was overwhelmed. I was in such confusion not understanding why “the floodgates” (lol) had opened up. For the next few hours I continued to dwell upon it and sought the Lord for comfort and understanding. And that’s when I remembered what God had first mentioned at recweek, trust. When I reflect back on the past week I can say that I definitely was seeking the Lord as a distant friend because He was asking for me to trust Him in an area that I thought I already had surrendered to Him. But He wants more, and because of that He has taught me a few lessons over the past few days-
The Lord has been able to teach me the importance of being aware. I know for me, when I attempt to avoid something, I begin to distract myself. For me, once I got back home from recweek, I spent more time on social media and caring about worldly matters more so than I usually did. But for others it could be getting caught up in drama, friendships, or relationships. I didn’t realize it until a few days had passed and one of my close friends had asked me how my quiet time was…and I realized I had been putting off quiet time so much I had not intentionally spent time with the Lord for about a week. No one else knew this but me; however, I felt the Lord convicting my heart.
In 1 Timothy 4:11-16, Paul reminds us of the importance to be an example to others in not just what we say, but also in the way we live, love, and in our faith. He goes on in the next few verses to remind us to keep a close eye on ourselves and on how we live. If you read this with an open heart wanting the Lord to speak to you through this portion of Scripture, I do not think it’s possible to read it and to look someone in the eye and to say you’re fully living out your life in which every aspect can be seen as encouragement to other believers. Even in the situations when no one else knows what’s going on, but you. For me, this was spending time with the Lord, or I should say my lack of spending time with the Lord for the past week.
So be aware of yourself. When we’re being aware, we can identify when we’re being distant with the Lord and can remind ourselves to constantly pursue the Lord and be open to hear what He is telling us.
Along with being aware of oneself, being in constant communication with the Lord is important. If we can be in communication with our friends, parents, and siblings for a majority of our time during the day, why are we not in constant communication with the Lord? For some being in constant communication with God might look like having a routine or a set time to spend with the Lord. With that being said, I wanted to remind my fellow believers who do like routine and order, like myself, that routine is good, but the dependency on routine is not. For others, just talking to Him during anytime of the day they’re alone- when driving, walking to class, getting ready, etc… is what’s the most helpful.
No matter what it may look like for you, just remember- communication is what helps keep a relationship healthy and open. That’s exactly how we should view our relationship with the Lord. When we aren’t wanting to hear from Him or share the desires and needs of our heart with Him, we’re shutting off our communication with Him.
During this past week when I would try to avoid spending time with the Lord some verses that really encouraged me to pray without ceasing and to be devoted to seeking out God no matter how I may feel were 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and Colossians 4:2. Even thought the times that are the most difficult seem to be when we don’t spend enough time on our knees, this is when we need to be on our knees the most! It’s almost impossible to be distant with someone when you’re in constant communication with them. Just think of your closest friends or parents. How difficult would it be to talk to them as much as you do, but to keep a distance and not be honest with them? So when we are in constant communication with the Lord whether that be through Scripture, prayer, conversation, or song, our hearts will desire to talk to God more, we’ll be intimate with Him, and fall more in love with Him!
As we are aware of our selves and strive to spend more time in constant communication with Him, being in a Christ-like community helps us remember to live out those things daily. A few weeks ago while we were at recweek, every evening we have fellowship time which is when each fellowship meets together to check up on each other and to reflect on the day. During many of our fellowship times, we opened up the floor and had opportunities for everyone in our fellowship to be able to share certain thoughts or things the Lord had been placing on their hearts, so that we could keep each other accountable and to lovingly pray for each other.
This concept of transparency resurfaced and it was such a sweet time for our fellowship to receive reminders from the Lord on the necessity of transparency in order to be a Christ-like community. During this time I was able to see Galatians 6:2 come alive and with a group of people that desire to love the Lord and His people. We were able to share struggles with each other and spend time interceding in prayer for each other, so that we could help carry each other’s burdens just as Christ calls us to.
Since at recweek I was able to share with my Denton community, they’ve been able to keep me accountable along this journey. I’ve been able to learn the importance of having a Christ-like community so there are fellow believers in my life that remind me to spend time with the Lord and to point me to Him at all times. If you’re not plugged into a church, campus ministry, or some other gathering of believers, I encourage you to get connected because these are the people you can look to when things get difficult and know they’ll point you to the One that matters the most.
In these Christ-like communities is where we find friends that are our brothers and sisters that truly care not just about our relationship with them, but also about our relationship with the Lord. When our friendships with our fellow believers are transparent, it tends to be easier for us to be more transparent with the Lord. And that’s the thing, how can we be transparent with the Lord if we don’t trust Him? Even when we look at our friendships, unless we trust others, we’re reluctant to be transparent with them.
So you know that friendship I described earlier in the writing? The one that seems distant and with limited trust? What’s crazy is when we don’t even realize it, the Lord is the friend that is constantly pursuing us no matter how much we try to keep our distance. He breaks down the walls that we attempt to put up because He loves us and wants us to be intimate with Him! For me, I put up that wall because I was scared the Lord would ask me to trust Him in crazy ways…and that’s exactly what He’s doing.
Ever since I can remember I’ve always dreamed of being a teacher. But the Lord is calling me to surrender my passions and desires to Him and trust Him to use me in whatever way that might look like. So am I changing my major? No. But am I going to be obedient and committed to following Him where He leads me to in the future, whether it be the classroom, ministry, or whatever else? Yes! Possibly, maybe His will for me is to be a teacher and He just wants a change of heart in me and that is the purpose of this season, but I won’t know until that time comes. And is it difficult? Yes, but I know it’ll be good because the Lord is good and faithful.
Noah trusted the Lord during the flood, Daniel trusted the Lord in the lion’s den, and Joshua trusted the Lord to win the battle. In no way am I comparing my faith to these three, but I do hope my trust in the Lord reflects how they trusted Him during the hardships they faced. In saying that, I pray that each one of us looks to God for help rather than running away from Him when He speaks to us, like I attempted. I pray that He gives us vision to see things like He does. And I hope that we’re able to trust Him with all things, knowing that He knows what’s best for us.
Above all, I want to encourage you to trust in the Lord and surrender all things to Him! Cause let’s be real, no matter what, His will shall be done. So wouldn’t we want to seek out His will so we can desire to align ours with His?