Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Way to Grow Close

It seems that most of what we long for is connected to relationship. And it seems that we are created with this longing for relationship. For a connecting deeply. For sharing our hearts with another. For being heard, loved, and understood. And also, for having someone to love.

We are made for relationship.

Sometimes this privilege of relationship comes easily; sometimes we must learn how to grow into it. Sometimes we need to give special effort to cause it to happen. 

And maybe ... this longing for relationship begins first of all with - relationship with our Creator, the One who created us for relationship.

Shelly Miller says in her book Rhythms of Rest, that "the way of faith isn't a formula to follow but an intimate relationship of meaningful conversation."

Conversation, meaningful conversation, intimate connection. 

It's how we get to know someone. 

The key is getting to know someone. And getting to know God, first of all ...

O God, You are my God;
I earnestly search for You.
My soul thirsts for You;
my whole body longs for You
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
(Psalm 63:1)

A longing, a desire to know God. 

It starts with a desire to know God, and a longing for time spent with Him; time spent reading His Words (His gift to us - His own words, written and recorded for us to hold in our hands and read). Giving our time to listen to His Words, and to respond to His Words ... journaling our thoughts, communicating with Him about what He has written to us, listening to His heart. Getting to know who He is, and what He is like. 

Isn't this how we come to know another? We make a conscious effort to get to know someone. We spend time together, asking questions and listening to their answers. Paying close attention, spending focused time together.

Time together, listening to His Words.

Real communication involves real listening. For me, this listening part of conversation often takes on the form of journaling. I read His Words, and often I respond by writing out His Words in my journal. Listening, thinking on each word, for sometimes we can miss the meaning if we read too quickly. Just as when I am with my husband or a dear loved family member -  and I desire to pay careful attention to each and every word when this loved one is sharing their heart. I don't want to miss anything. I long to hear it all, to hear the heartbeat behind the words. I want to memorize the words, and hold them close - for they reveal the heart of the one I love.

And then with deep, intimate conversation, there is a sharing of our heart in response; after the listening, there is a sharing.

Again, for me - this often happens in my journal. I write out my response. I can speak it, of course, and I often do ... but as written words are a key form of expression for my thoughts, I will write out my response. Sharing my heart in response to His. 

God speaks to us in His Word,
and we respond in prayer,
entering into the divine conversation,
into communion with God.

Every day - a listening, and a responding.

A continuous communication, a sharing of hearts. And sometimes, an extended time set apart for deeper, uninterrupted listening and responding. A date, a day off, a weekly Sabbath day - set apart for the One we love the most. The One who is the Bread of Life; the One who fills up our deepest needs with His Love.

And along the way, as we spend valued, intimate time together, we will find that we are growing and becoming closer to Him than we even imagined. And those around us are drawn to Him as we reflect a sweet fragrance of His love to a dark and needy world. 

(Source for this beautiful free photo)

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