James 4:8 says "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." Typically, when we think of drawing near to God, we think of reading our Bibles, praying, doing devotionals, and the like.
These things are important in our walk with God. But I started thinking of other ways to draw near to God. I wanted to step outside of the box and learn to enjoy God's presence in areas where I may not typically think to. I want to acknowledge His presence in everything I do. So, here are 5 "unconventional" ways that we can draw near to God. And don't forget to stick around to the end for a free printable!
Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
(Learn To Lean On Him)
So, this year, I agreed to participate in the church's Christmas musical. I even took on one of the lead roles! How could this be unconventional and how could it bring me closer to God? To truly understand, let us backtrack about 14 years. I was in my freshman year of highschool when I thought it would be a good idea to take a speech and debate class. Long story short, I threw up in the first week and transferred out. Soooo, needlesstosay, I'm not really the "be up in front of people" type. But here's the real kicker...I don't sing...In case you missed it in the beginning, this is a musical. Not only am I acting in front of a large group of people but I am *gulp* singing. This is way way WAY out of my comfort zone here folks.
Now on to how this brought me closer to God. Putting myself in an uncomfortable situation that was way way WAY out of my element of control compelled me to lean on the Father for comfort and support. I'll be honest, on the day of the show, I asked myself "why...WHY for love of God did I agree to do this?" But there was no turning back now. My husband had spent month upon months writing this production and writing and producing all of the original music. His name and reputation was at stake. I didn't want to let him down. I also wanted to honor my committment and at the same time prove to myself that I could overcome! I generally stick to things I'm good at to keep from making a fool of myself. But the truth is...often times we become arrogant and self-reliant as we settle in the comfort of our own "expertise".
We stop relying on God when things come easy or naturally to us. If we don't step out into the unknown, we are robbing God of opportunities to show Himself strong on our behalf. In the uncertainty that comes with that which is uncomfortable or unfamiliar, we are more likely to become accustomed to leaning on God and relying on Him. It is a great reminder that without Him we can do nothing, yet, with Him....anything is possible!
Take on a Leadership Position
(Learn To Humble Yourself)
There is something truly humbling about being in a leadership position. When you are taking on the cares and burdens of others, you begin to see just how human you are. You begin to realize that you really don't have all the answers and, oftentimes, leadership brings out many of our character flaws...yeah...oh joy! But it can actually be a good thing...if you are willing to yield to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and not fight God when He shows you areas that need improvement!
Unfortunately, too many of us are unwilling to change or even admit that we have "less-than-desirable" qualities. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. Thankfully, being a mother leaves ample opportunity for character flaws to make a not-so-subtle manifestation. It's in those moments that I have to humble myself and realize that as a leader of my children, they are looking to me as an example of how they should be. That's how it is in leadership. People are always looking AT you and TO you. Facing your short-comings and admitting that you don't have it all right puts you in the optimal position to first humble yourself before God and eventually before men. You can then rely on God's grace and strength to renew and improve you.
Leadership may not be your thing long term, but at least you walk away with a greater appreciation for those who are called to leadership and a better understanding of what it means to truly be a leader. Plus when you allow the Father to renew your mind, heart, and body, you walk out a better person than you were when you walked in!
Start a Garden
(Learn To Be Patient)
My grandmother is definitely the green thumb in my family. She can keep any plant alive...not just alive but thriving! It has always amazed me how the whole process takes place. What started as a dead and lifeless area, morphed into an array of vibrant colors and sweet smelling scents. But it doesn't happen over night. No...it takes time. And what seems fruitless and quite frankly a waste of time, begins to show just a spark of life. And a bright green sprig...full of life pops through the dirt. And with time...it gets progressively better and more beautiful. All you have to have is patience and a healthy expectation of things to come.
"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:24-25
God is a lot like a garden. Many times, it seems that our efforts, our prayers are passing with the wind...fruitless. And then we ask ourselves if God is hearing us. He must not hear me because I see no life in my dead situation. But then! You recieve a letter, or a phone call, and suddenly there is a spark! And your situation changes. It's not fully bloomed, but there is hope...there is life! Watching my grandmother gardening has taught me patience...patience in His timing. God is never early and He is never late. His timing is perfect and if we can just learn to trust and wait on Him, there is no limit on the beauty and life He can bring to your situation!
(Learn To Be Grateful)
There is so much wonder and splendor in all of God's creations. It never ceases to amaze me...the air that I breath...the sun that gives us light by day...the moon that gives us light by night. Only God could create something so meticulously down to the last minute detail. And in all of this miraculous splendor...we so rarely step outside to just appreciate the beauty that He has created for us. We are so consumed that these complexly simple things evade our conscious minds. When we stop and think, I mean REALLY think, about the things God has created...you can't help but be grateful and in total awe of His splendor!
"On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate." Psalm 145:5
Going on a hike, experiencing His gift with our 5 senses...THAT is appreciation! You can't help but be grateful. Grateful to see the clouds passing through an enormous mountain. Grateful to hear the melody of chirping birds as though they are singing a harmony. Grateful to feel the mist tinged breeze caress your cheek. Grateful to smell the freshly bloomed lilacs that pave the walkway. Grateful for this precious and fleeting life He has given us!
Turn Off Your Electronics!
(Learn To Put Him First)
I know...I know. This is a tough one. Especially in this technologically driven world that we live in. It makes it even tougher when you run an online business! And I'll be completely honest with you...this is a tough one for me too. But I recognize a very pertinent need to unplug. Why? 2 reasons.
The first is because our society's, shall I say, "addiction" with technology is becoming a major distraction. And if we don't control it, it WILL control us. It is distracting us from the things that truly matter. Family...friends...and especially God. It is very difficult to hear His voice when we are distracted. We have to cut down on the distractions in order to hear Him clearly. Does this mean unplugging for good? In most cases, no. But it does mean having a healthy balance. Which leads me to reason 2.
We have to make sure that our priorities are in order. God should always be your first priority. Sadly, He is more often than not inconveniently "squeezed" in. This should not be so. If your electronics are getting more attention than God and your family, you may want to reevaluate your priorities. Because the truth is, the entire technelogical world could come crashing down tomorrow. Would you survive? Are you prepared to survive a world unplugged? If the answer is no...well...that is a scary place to be in.
"In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success." Proverbs 3:6
I am definitely committing to unplugging more this new year. I enjoy blogging. It is something I am extremely passionate about. But without God...without my family...well, one I would probably have nothing to write about, and two, I would be nothing without Him. He is quite literally my life line, the reason I breath and wake up every morning. The reason I am able to do the things I enjoy and enjoy the people I love.
I don't want to take that for granted. God deserves all of me and He deserves my very best. Everything else is just a fringe benefit of His unconditional love. So, in an effort to make God my first priority, I will be scheduling in my electronics...not scheduling in God!
I truly hope that this post encourages you to look for opportunities in your day to day to draw near to God. We should be acknowledging Him in all that we do anyay, so, why not let Him lead you in leading others? Why not garden or hike with Him? There is so much to be gained in allowing the Father to accompany you in your day to day. Invite Him along and enjoy His presence!
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Do you have any unconventional ways that you draw near to God? Share them with me by commenting below. And please share with others!
Thank you for stopping by and spending a few moments with me.
Until Next Time, Blessings to You and Yours,
Hi there! My name is Brittany..help meet to T.J. and mom to 5 little blessings. My passion lies in helping other women to see their value through the eyes of their creator. Be Encouraged...YOU are a Good Thing!