When I Stopped Trying to Reach God

“Be Still.”

Yeah RIGHT. 

That seemed like a pretty cruel thing to request of someone with ADD and a personality like mine. Not to mention impossible. The first several times I felt God say this to me I had what I call “la la la” moments. Picture blurting out “la la la” to someone because you don’t want to hear what they are saying. Or turning up the radio when someone is talking to drown their words out.

In other words I pretended not to hear Him. Genius, I know.

Finally after getting frustrated enough with the “lack of response I was getting from God” I decided to listen. I pouted about it, but after a few eye-rolling emojis (I’m so glad they finally created that one) I turned down my mental radio.

Ironically, trying to figure out how to be still was the most overwhelming part. What does that even look like? My instinct is to feel guilty when I am not doing something to reach a goal, meet a deadline, or check off an item on my never-ending to-do list. It takes a lot of mental power for me to accept the idea of NOT doing anything. But that is precisely what God asks us to do in Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

What if seeking God isn’t making such an effort to find Him, but rather ceasing to try so hard? He says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). He doesn’t say “you will find me when you try harder” or “you will hear me when you get your life together.”

What if seeking God isn’t making such an effort to find Him, but rather ceasing to try so hard?

There are attention and openness elements to seeking God that we need to embrace in order to see or hear Him the way we want to. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” But drawing near to Him is not the monumental task we make it out to be. He doesn’t ask us to try harder, He asks us to be present.

Picture inviting someone over for dinner but leaving the house before they get there. We invite God over with our words and many of us truly want Him to come, but often we run out the door with our never-ending to do list and wonder why we haven’t seen Him in a while. It’s not because He doesn’t show up. It’s because we aren’t home to receive Him.

He doesn’t ask us to try harder, He asks us to be present.

We serve a God who cares so much about having a relationship with us that He asks us to simply be still in order to encounter Him. I don’t know about you, but that blows my mind.

When is the last time you relaxed in His presence? I know, the deadlines are getting closer. Obligations and commitments ring the doorbell over and over again like an impatient child. Oh yeah, children, there are those too. And a job. And a marriage. And friendships. Not to mention the gym trips that hardly ever happen.

But we cannot forget our most important commitment. We cannot sacrifice the relationship that holds everything else together. In the midst of this crazy life it is imperative we take the time to rest in the love and presence of the only One who can make it all manageable.

3 thoughts on “When I Stopped Trying to Reach God

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