I come from a religious background that looking back, could be very legalistic and even judgmental at times. I was taught that it was about a relationship with the Lord, but because of all the focus on the “rules”, I think subconsciously I was confused and thought that if I could just be good enough the relationship would follow. I spent years trying to “be good” and “do good things” to build the relationship. I depended a lot on my own strength and abilities. It’s not that I didn’t move forward in my faith at all...I actually did and I learned a lot through many years of church attendance, bible study, reading books, etc., but I feel like I took “baby steps” in my personal relationship journey and in allowing the Holy Spirit to direct my path.
Things changed dramatically for me in 2017 during and after an unexpected health situation that was totally out of my control. God showed up in a mighty way to help me through it. He told me, “TRUST”, “PATIENCE” and “RELATIONSHIPS”. I recognized right away that I had been falling short in these three areas. But God gave me hope and helped to correct my perspective and priorities. He reminded me of 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV) that states “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God also shared with me four truths:
1. The Bible is 100% true,
2. Problems have been caused over the years by the misinterpretation of His Word,
3. God is good ALL the time, and
4. We need to get back to the source, the Word of God.
He also opened my eyes to the fact that I can never through my own strength build a close relationship with Him. I realized that it’s not about me doing “good things” or being “good enough”.
I have now fully wrapped myself in His grace and I am totally surrendered to Him. I am still not perfect but I know I am forgiven. I have learned that it’s all about building relationships and love - loving God with all my heart and loving people. I have also learned that God truly just wants to spend more time with me. As I have surrendered completely to Him and committed to setting aside time every day to simply be in His presence, my personal relationship with Him has grown tremendously. The intimacy I once longed for is now a reality. I praise and thank God for His love and patience with me over the years.
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