The reason I gave my heart to God as a teenager was because I wanted to know Him. I wanted a relationship with the creator of the universe. I've always desired this connection with God, even as a young child. My parents brought us to church regularly as children and while I was raised knowing that God could hear my prayers, no one ever told me that He would respond directly to me.
Then while on a summer break right before starting the 11th grade a dear friend shared with me that God spoke to her and it ignited in me a faith to believe it was possible to hear God for myself. I truly believed that if He was talking to someone I knew personally (not just my priest) then He could talk to me too. It was as if in that very moment the impossible became possible and I believed.
It has been a journey of growth which has not always been linear for me. Over the years I have had seasons of great intimacy with God where I could hear His voice clearly and I felt His presence. I also have had seasons where His presence felt more distant and I struggled with hearing His voice.
Sometimes, it was my own choice to allow distractions to pull me away from that place of connectedness to Holy Spirit. Other times though, what I perceived as distance was actually God's way of leading me to deeper waters. What I once found easily at the shallow edge could no longer be found there.
Similar to how a parent teaches their toddler to walk, God was teaching me to walk by spirit.
Think about it, when we teach toddlers to walk, at first we start by holding their hands as they pull themselves up. Soon they find their feet and begin to bounce to build strength in their legs. Then they start to put one foot in front of the other as we lead them and then they begin to waddle a little faster with confidence supporting most of their own body weight while still holding on to our hands.
Eventually we stop allowing them to use our hands for support so that they will develop their own balance. They will use couches, chairs, coffee tables, furniture, toys and even pets as leverage to lift themselves up and steady themselves to get around.
For a while they are content to furniture hop in an area with a lot of supports around. Eventually though they desire to to come out into the clearing to where you are. They want to be near you. However in order to get there, they are going to have to believe in themselves enough to let go of the supports and walk (or waddle) unassisted to reach your outstretched hands. Of course, it doesn't hurt that you are standing there saying, "come on, come to mama," with a huge smile of encouragement on your face.
We let them fall on their little behinds a few times and encourage them to get back up and try again, not to see them fall but to see them win in the end.
It is because we are willing to let them struggle that before long they are walking on their own, running, dancing and doing back flips and cartwheels. That is what God wants for us too. He wants us to be able to walk in the supernatural as freely and confidently as we walk in the natural.
God loves us. So, when we sense that it is harder to get to a place of feeling connected to His presence even after we have eliminated all our distractions, that means that He is drawing us out to deeper places because He wants us to grow. Are we willing to work a little harder to build up those faith muscles so that we can support ourselves in a supernatural life?
We may furniture hop for a little while going from thing to thing to stabilize ourselves in our small and safe space. However if God has stepped away it is because He wants us to come out to the larger clearing and walk towards His outstretched arms.
Remember, God's word promises that He will never leave us or forsake us so we know He isn't gone. He is just stepped little further out so that we have to walk towards Him. This is a good thing. He wants us to build up the muscle, strength, confidence and faith we need for the next leg of the journey. He is standing there, calling out to you, "come on, come to papa," with and encouraging smile on His face.
God knows that we may fall a few times before we get there, but He is ok with that because He is a father determined to see His children grow and reach their full potential.
You and I have destinies to fulfill and although God is always with us, He cannot do it for us. We have to be equipped to face and take-on the challenges that we will inevitably face along the way.
It is not cruel for God to pull away. It is necessary for our empowerment.
Even birds know this. They push their offspring out of the nest when it is time to fly. Why? Because if they don't learn to fly, they will be devoured by the enemy. The same is true for you and I.
Why do some people soar in their faith at an early age and others take longer? I don't know. However, the same could be said in the natural. Why do some babies learn to walk as early as 8 or 9 months old while others are still finding their feet at 18 months? We are all different and we don't need to compare ourselves with one another.
Each of us is responsible for our own destiny, our own calling and our own determination to achieve it. For me personally, I know that I desire to do all that I can not only to fulfill the purpose within but more importantly to be in constant pursuit of my heavenly Father.
I started this journey to know Him but there is so much to know. Of course I know Him better today than I did in the beginning but there is a boundless depth to who He is and what it means to live in His Kingdom.
To know Him we must follow after Him. I pray you will join me in my pursuit.
Tell me your story, I'd love to hear it.
Until next week remember, you are loved and deeply cherished by Jesus and by me.