Ever find yourself growing spiritually stale?
Maybe even stagnant?
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. You know, those days when you’re not quite sure what’s wrong—but pretty sure something’s not right. In those moments (or maybe even a day or two afterward) it eventually dawns on me, Hey, I’m feeling disconnected.
Maybe from myself. Maybe from what I want most.
And maybe (more often than I’d like to admit), I feel disconnected from God.
Which tends to catch me by surprise. Because even though I’m far from perfect, I rarely find myself making a conscious decision to disconnect from God.
Yet nonetheless—I’ve drifted.
Sometimes an inch or two.
And sometimes so far, I can barely retrace my steps. (!)
Does that ever happen to you?
If so, I’m relieved to hear it.
(glad to know I’m not the only ADD Christian out there…)
A woman once asked the great evangelist D. L. Moody why he spoke so often about being refilled with the Spirit. I can so relate to his three-word answer: “Because I leak.”
In John 15, Jesus uses a variety of words—remain, abide, obey—to remind us to stay connected with Him. I’m guessing He mentions it so often because He knows what a huge challenge it is for us—with so much around us (and within us) constantly vying for our attention.
Most of us have job and family responsibilities, 24/7 social media “connection” beating down our door, and (of course) our own wandering thoughts to contend with every day!
That’s why we have to choose—day by day, hour by hour, and even minute by minute—to renew our connection with God. Otherwise, we’ll slowly but surely drift backward and just “go with the flow.”
Yet thankfully that’s not the whole story: God really has given us ways to combat drift and keep on growing.
For one thing, His Spirit is always available to draw, strengthen, and encourage us. Like a sturdy raft in the middle of the rapids, He’s always there to steady us and guide us toward our destination. Whenever we feel ourselves drifting downstream, a simple “help me, Jesus” prayer is enough to reconnect us with His love.
He’s also given us each other to grow alongside. We tend to trudge through the Christian life like long-suffering Lone Rangers, gutting it out on our own. Yet we were never meant to live in isolation. We’re relational beings by nature, and we grow best when we’re connected with other people. Scriptural commands like “love one another” and “go and make disciples” weren’t given to make our burdens heavier; they’re gifts from God to help lighten our load and stimulate growth!
Doing life with other believers keeps us grounded in a way we never could be on our own. When those around you are growing, loving, serving in Jesus’ name—it’s pretty contagious. It’s also a great reminder that connection and growth just logically go together.
Connect with God
If you find your thoughts drifting away from God during the day, maybe it’s time to get a bit more proactive. If your goal is to stay close to God, why not approach it as you would any other goal?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
GROWTH STEP: Consider setting timers or leave yourself notes to help you to remember to take “God breaks” during the day. They don’t have to be lengthy to be effective. Taking a long deep breath to remind yourself of God’s Presence can refresh your soul in a matter of seconds. Or a five-minute walk or trip to the restroom can be your cue to invite Him to inhabit the activities of your day.
Connect with Others
Oikos is a little Greek word that means extended household. It includes the 8-15 people in your relational world you tend to “do life” with—friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and even that clerk at the grocery store you chat with once a week. These are the people God has placed in your life for this particular season. And they need you just as much as you need them.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend…”
GROWTH STEP: If you’re feeling a bit disconnected, why not initiate a get-together with someone in your oikos to hang out, grab coffee, or maybe even pray together? While deepening relationships takes time, you might be surprised how one small step forward can lighten your load and spur you on to each new growth step forward.
Whatever strategy you choose, one thing is clear.
Isolation leads to stagnation, while connection leads to growth!