No question, it's been a long, hard fourteen months since COVID hit us with stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and masks. Some of us have been itching to go out and get back to life as we knew it. Some of us are pretty content to stay at home and don't mind it one bit. All this and the political season, social (media) turmoil, and coronavirus variants, and we are still needing to navigate life with awareness and wisdom.
So...how is your relationship with God?
I get to ask this question of many people, in person, over text, in email, or on phone or video calls. Some are doing great! Like legitimately, actively growing through the difficulties. Many others have had difficulty navigating the changes, and their relationships with God have been a struggle. So let's provide some context:
1. How have your relationships with family members been? Have you missed each other? Have you been able to help each other along?
2. How have your relationships with friends been? Do you still talk? Do you still love and care for one another?
3. How has your work or schooling continued? Are you still productive or have you been too distracted to get anything done?
Each of those areas of our lives demonstrate aspects of a resilient spirit and approach. You know that work and school need to get done, so you make adjustments, do your best, and sometimes innovate to accomplish things. You flex with the needs of the circumstances. That should also be true with family relationship and friendships. You may not see each other as much as before, but you love each other so you do whatever you need to do to help one another and keep connected.
So what about our relationships with God?
A friendship based only on activity or circumstance can dissolve when circumstances change. If your relationship with God was based on simply a habit of going to church, then when obstacles arise to that activity, your relationship may dissolve. As in your relationships with good friends, will you pursue God despite the changes in circumstances, despite the obstacles?
As things in the United States start to open back up again, maybe the great lesson to learn from all this is not to ground your relationship with God on some activities or rituals. Instead of going through the motions of relationship, let's build a deeper friendship with God, a family relationship with Him and with our church family members. How do we do this? Here are a few things to reflect on:
- Does God love you? How has He shown it? How do you experience God's love every day?
- Do you love God? What do you love about God, not just what He does for you but who He is? (e.g. God is beautiful, the most beautiful person I know.)
- Do you show love to God? How do you or how can you show love to God every day?
- Do you love your church family? How does God demonstrate His love through your church family and how do you participate in that?
Let's get ready to return to God and not just to church!