I followed Jesus for a long time before I began to see Jesus in the ordinary. Maybe it was because the church wants God to be exciting to kids – and he is! – but I was only taught the mountain tops and how to claw to keep those emotions.
When schedules and chores and work and relationships would bring me back to the mundane of life, I didn’t know where to find Jesus outside of salvations, intense worship sessions, or Bible study retreats. I thought because life seemed ordinary I had done something wrong.
When I felt this disconnect between me and God, I would panic. I would beg him for an experience. But letting my feelings dictate how my relationship with God was going didn’t allow me to fully trust him or be obedient to him day by day.
People mentioned in the Bible were faithfully living ordinary lives for God:
- David went back to the fields with his sheep after God told him he would be king.
- Moses went back to the desert.
- Joseph was still a slave.
- Daniel kept saying his prayers.
- Hagar was still a bullied servant.
- Peter still fished.
- Paul made tents.
While they shared the gospel, served others, and saw God move in and around them – they washed their clothes, made meals, had families to manage, and walked (a lot).
Through mentors, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit, I learned how to lean into God even when I don’t feel him.
Have you experienced this? That God is somewhere far off? Or you’ve somehow walked away from him? Or grown numb in the midst of all the world’s issues? Do you want to feel close and excited again? You don’t need a retreat or a full church worship set or a miraculous encounter (though he can absolutely meet you in those ways).
You can feel closer to God any day doing any task with these simple steps:
1. Turn On Music
Not everyone is a music person. I get it. Kind of .😉
But music does something in us. It gives us words and emotions when we don’t have them. It communicates for and to us. Whether it’s classical, John Denver, hymns, or “Christian Contemporary”, find the music that turns your heart toward God. That prompts you to think on Him more.
It doesn’t have to be a happy song. There are plenty of songs out there that help us feel hard things and God is not afraid of your disappointments and frustrations. He does not need you to fake a smile for him. He just wants you to come.
2. Give Thanks
Gratitude is a crazy, crazy thing. SCIENTIFICALLY it changes your brain chemistry which means God designed us to be healthier and happier when we’re grateful. It also means that it doesn’t always come naturally. It’s a practice that we can work on before we feel the benefits.
Since anyone can feel better by giving thanks, it’s also important to give thanks to God as the Giver of all good things. If our goal is to move closer to him, being grateful to myself that I didn’t sleep in again isn’t going to get me there. But being grateful that God doesn’t sleep so I can rest and wake up to whole new mercies from him? THAT will make a difference.
So start making daily lists or counting your blessings while driving. Exercise that gratitude muscle and you’ll slowly realize God is meeting you in simple ways.
3. Go Back To The Basics
Reading the Bible & praying. Are you?
Because I can drift in and out of these practices. So reset your schedule and start simple. Pick 1-3 verses a day from the Psalms then pray about what you read. Use whatever you learned in the past like A.C.T.S. or the Lord’s Prayer or make notes around your house to remember to pray.
You don’t have to meet with God at 5:00am. He is with you always. So pick a time (even just 5 – 10 minutes) during your day where you know you’ll be focused. That could be before everyone wakes up, in your car before work, at lunch, or after putting the kids to bed.
I remember reading somewhere that if you start to feel that inward spiral of self pity that leads to depression, to lock yourself out of your house and go serve someone.
Maybe you don’t have time to volunteer every weekend at the soup kitchen, but texting a friend that you’re praying for them or baking a neighbor cookies or, heck, even talking to your neighbor may open your eyes to God not just in you, but around you.
5. Keep Going
Every moment might not be a mountain top experience with God. There will be days or weeks or seasons of life where we feel we are just making it and that is okay. Just keep going.
There are so many scriptures that encourage us to persevere, endure, fight the good fight, keep believing, and not give up hope. You’re not alone in feeling disconnected. Followers of God have consistently doubted if their life lived between the pillars of fire and miraculous healings was still meaningful:
- John the Baptist from the womb was declaring Jesus as Messiah and yet right before his death, he sent someone to ask Jesus, “Is it really you?”
- Israelites were told as they entered captivity in Jeremiah to stop waiting around and go ahead and have families, build gardens, and start living their lives because even though God would be with them, the big return to Jerusalem was going to have to wait.
- The whole book of Hebrews was written for Jewish people who believed in Jesus but were becoming discouraged as they lost friends, business, and community because of him.
- The Israelites wandered in the desert making idols and complaining RIGHT after God saved them from Egypt.
- David filled the Psalms when he thought God had forgotten him.
Life with God is exciting every day when we start to see him in the ordinary. He wants a relationship with you that is deeper than a few magical moments a year. He wants to use you in the midst of your daily life by you just being open to the Holy Spirit anytime and anywhere. Despite how we feel each day, God is with us, for us, and using us to bring his kingdom. When we let him into the “boring” parts of our lives, we can experience how big and good God really is ALL THE TIME.