When You Want to Feel Closer to God
For in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Most of us come to Christ with a certain “inloveness”—a stirring of emotion mixed with an inexplicable knowing that we’ve discovered our reason for being. But some years into our spiritual journey, the wonder that swelled during the early years ebbs into routine religion laced with busyness. And we secretly question the point of it all.
There has to be more than this, we muse. What am I missing? What’s wrong with me? I’m doing all the right things, but God seems so far away. I’m trying as hard as I can, but it never seems to be enough. What does God really want from me anyway?
For decades, as I have had the privilege of ministering to women, I have heard the same heart-cry from those who desire to have a deep, intimate, exuberant relationship with Christ but don’t know how to find it.
Here’s part of one email:
Here’s the crux of my problem. After I gave my life to Christ, I joined a church and began reading the Bible daily. Yet, I never experienced that overwhelming feeling of change that so many others experience. In my quiet times, when I seek to know Him better and wait quietly for answers, I do not get the nudges that others talk about. I know that some people hit rock bottom and then experience a dramatic life change accompanied by an emotional high. I sometimes wonder if I will have to experience some great trial in order to have the wonderful feelings of a true relationship with Christ.
I try to start each day with quiet time, scripture reading and prayer. I try to have a God-focused day. Is something wrong with me? Do other women feel this emptiness too? Should I be feeling something more? What more should I be doing? I know Christ loves me, but something is missing and I don’t even know what it is. What should I do?
—Stephanie (Not her real name. Used by permission.)
Perhaps you can relate. You long to feel close to God but sense there’s just something lacking, that you’ve missed the mysterious formula to make it happen. I call this a “glory ache” —a persistent longing to experience God’s presence on a daily basis. Perhaps like most women, you’ve tried desperately to balance the montage of mundane demands and somehow slip God into the white spaces that are few and far between.
You long to spend time in the sacred with God, but find the desire crowded out by the responsibilities of the secular—the daily demands—that lay claim to your attention. You yearn to experience God’s presence, but feel far away from Him as you reach to click off the bedside lamp and collapse exhausted once again. Maybe tomorrow, you sigh.
The travesty is that we allow the busyness of life to crowd out the Source of life. As the Psalmist wrote, “We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing” (Psalm 39:6)
And most of us are quick to think “something more” means “doing more.” We ramp it up and gun the engines—sign up for a new committee, volunteer for a new cause, bake one more casserole to feed the sick. We attempt to silence the hunger pains of the heart by feeding it the bread and water of duty. And at the end of the day, while we might feel a self-induced sense of well-being, the hollowness in our soul that can only be satisfied with God, still echoes with the grumblings of hunger.
We long for a sense of closeness with God, but we have a hard time putting our finger on exactly what that closeness would look like. It’s just something more. Something different. And we are quite right. We are craving the closeness that comes with an intimate relationship with Jesus.
In Acts 17:28 Paul wrote: “For in him we live and move and have our being” (NIV). That means every moment, all the time. He also wrote: “Pray continually” (I Thessalonians 5:17 NIV). That means every moment, all the time. But how in the world do we do that with everything else we have to do?
Here's the key. It’s not a separate activity, but a lifestyle—a lifestyle of union and communion with God. It’s not an activity for your to-do-list to be checked off, but an attitude for you to-be-list to be wrapped in.
Dear Lord, soothe my glory ache with Your presence. Help me to stay in constant communion and union with You no matter what else I have going on today.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How would you explain, “pray continually” to someone?
More from the Girlfriends
Do you long to feel close to God but sense there’s something missing? That you’ve missed that mysterious formula to make it happen? Do you have a glory ache – a persistent longing to experience God’s presence and working in your life, but not quite sure how to make it happen? If so, my book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More, is just for you. Join me and discover how to erase the lines between the secular and the sacred and experience a deeper more intimate relationship with God than ever before.
© 2021 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.