By Jenny Fulton
Something doesn’t feel right. For whatever reason, something in our relationship just feels off. We still love each other, still grasp bits and pieces of conversation here and there when we can, work side-by-side in caring for the kids and taking care of the chores around the house. But I feel like something’s missing. I just don’t feel very connected to him.
Does this sound familiar?
While I was referencing times when I’ve felt disconnected to my husband, a very similar scenario easily plays out in my relationship with God.
Things are good, and then, almost before I realize how they got there, they aren’t. I still love Him, still desire to follow Him, but I’ve lost that sense of connection with Him. I feel dry; my life feels uninspired.
What does it mean to be connected to someone?
We use this phrase in our conversations with friends.
“Let’s connect,” we say to a friend we haven’t seen for a while.
We use it in reference to our family.
“I need to connect more with my kids,” we may think.
“I want to feel more connected to my spouse.”
Dating shows like to talk about connections.
“I feel like my connection with the Bachelor is really strong.”
“I have a lot of connections with these women and they’re all very different,” the Bachelor laments.
What do we mean when we use the words, connect and connection?
Both carry the context of a relationship. When I say I want to connect with someone, I’m saying I want to spend time being with them and getting to know them better. When I reference a connection, I’m talking about how close my relationship with that person feels.
So, what does it mean to connect, to have a connection with God—this great person we can’t see?
God, My Friend
When I was 5, my Sunday School teacher talked about how God wanted to live in our hearts and be our friend.
I liked the idea of having a constant companion who was always around—someone I could talk to anytime about anything.
That day, I asked God to come into my heart and be with me forever.
From then on, I spoke to Him when I played and when I went to bed at night. My mom has always expressed amazement at how much I seemed to enjoy playing alone. However, I was never really alone. My Playmate was always there.
I didn’t know or understand a whole lot about My Friend, but I knew He loved me and was always with me. I knew He listened to me when I talked to Him and though I never heard Him audibly reply, my imagination was active enough to manufacture His words. At least, that’s what I thought I was doing. It was kind of like having an imaginary friend, except I knew mine was real. The fact that I couldn’t see Him was irrelevant.
Maybe that’s why Jesus welcomed the children so heartily into His presence. Children don’t need proof to know something is true.
I’ve since heard adults fervently argue that God is not your friend. He’s much, much more, they say. He doesn’t enable or support you in doing anything you want. He is great and powerful and has established standards of right and wrong. Such an Almighty God certainly demands a higher degree of respect than that of a mere friend, doesn’t He?
While I agree God is so much more than a good friend and playmate, that doesn’t make Him less of one. It just makes Him an even greater companion than I knew, and One whom I love and respect to the greatest degree I know how.
God approached me in a way I could accept and understand. He began our relationship at my level, in my context. My little hands reached up as high as I could, and God reached down to take them in His own.
What does it mean to connect with God?
In its most basic form, it simply involves spending time with Him and getting to know Him better.
The more we get to know and love Him, the stronger our connection is. We discover how great He is and realize how much we need His strength, love, and grace to help us in our weaknesses. Just as we come to appreciate those in life who can support us and teach us in areas where we struggle, so too does our connection with God grow through an ever-expanding knowledge of His power and goodness.
In addition, our connection with God also grows by learning how much we have in common with our Creator. Genesis says that God made man in His own image. What does this mean? Does it mean, perhaps, that God placed elements of His heart—His loves and His interests—within us at the beginning of time?
Do you enjoy nature? Guess what? God enjoys it too! He fashioned it and called it good. Are you creative? So is God! Do you enjoy learning? God made countless things for us to learn and gave us the ability to comprehend them on multiple levels!
I believe God gave us many of our enjoyments—that He placed some of His interests within our hearts to be used for His glory, to show His goodness and love to the world, to give us a way to better know and understand Him on a deeply personal and relatable level.
He is Spirit, yes, and we connect to Him through our spirit as it interacts with the Holy Spirit. But God is also interested in the physical world He created. He loves to join us in our daily activities, our work, hobbies, and passions.
The mundane becomes an invigorating spiritual exercise when God is involved. Side-interests take on deeper meaning, work turns into ministry.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at some of the ways in which we can connect to God through our various tasks, interests, and abilities.
How do you connect best to God? What are some interests you have in common with Him? How would describe your relationship with God? I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below!