I hate feeling far from God. I’m sure you know the feeling. I want to be close to Him, but it feels like every effort falls flat. It feels like my life is too demanding and distracting to take the time that I really need in order to press in close again. While it may be that we have over-scheduled and overworked ourselves, God has been showing me that there could be something else at the source of the issue.
My life has changed dramatically in the recent months. My husband and I just welcomed our baby girl into the world in September. She is truly a gift from God and a redemption baby (that story is for another time). We have so enjoyed getting to know her and watching her grow. In the beginning, I felt so close to God because I got to see His promise fulfilled in my life. As time went on, I grew more and more tired, and I was not so in awe of the daily routine. Feelings of isolation settled in, and I didn’t take any of the free moments that I had to spend with God. I was slowly (or quickly) being drained. While many would excuse me from a daily devotion in such a season, I was beginning to realize that I could not go on without meeting with God.
It doesn’t take having a newborn to set you up for a situation like this. Many of us have experienced seasons in our lives when life feels so crowded or we are so overwhelmed with something new that we cannot think of anything else. It’s in these seasons that even the mundane tasks of life feel overwhelming and seem to take our full attention.
God showed me that these are two areas that I often fail to surrender to Him: something new and the mundane. I tend to not surrender something new because I figure I’ll give it my best shot first and then ask God for help if I need it. I do not surrender the mundane because, well, I figure I should be able to handle that on my own. These ways of thinking are major red flags.
The Bible says, in John 15:5 (NIV),
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
We can do nothing apart from God. God revealed to me that I feel distant from Him because my life is currently filled with areas that I have failed to surrender to Him. The mundane tasks seem like they should be easy enough to handle on my own, but if I don’t invite Him into these tasks, I keep God pushed away until I complete them. Raising my daughter is certainly a bigger-than-myself task, but I make excuses for holding onto worry or fear regarding her life. If I am worried or fearful regarding something, I have not truly surrendered it to God. Since I have been spending most of my time in responsibilities that I have not surrendered, I have been living isolated from God.
God also showed me that I have invited others into these responsibilities, but I have kept Him out. I don’t hesitate to turn to my husband, mom, friend, or the internet for help. This is a side effect of being distant from God – trying to get my needs met elsewhere. When I do this and my efforts fail, I feel extremely isolated and hurt. Does this sound familiar?
We need to live in total surrender to God, even the everyday (mundane) tasks that seem to be our responsibility to steward. Yes, be a good steward, but only do so for His glory, not to bring glory to yourself. In all that I do, I can draw close to God.
Colossians 3:17 (NIV) says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
By the way, the Lord spoke all this to me while I completed a large pile of dishes. When I invited Him into this mundane moment, He showed up and spoke truth into my heart. As soon as I genuinely reached out to Him, He was there to meet me. Now, as I endeavor to meet with God each day, I find myself more equipped to enjoy the new and the mundane.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” – James 4:8 (NIV)
Do you feel distant from God? Make a list of the things/responsibilities that compose your life right now (try not to leave anything out).
Now, next to each thing you listed, decide if that area of your life is surrendered to God or not. Circle the surrendered areas and put an “X” over the non-surrendered areas.
As you analyze your list, ask yourself: What tasks or circumstances draw you to God? What areas do you keep from God?
Does the distance you feel from God make sense after examining your life?
Prayer: Lord, teach me to live for You and with You in every moment, even the ones that don’t seem spiritual.