I recently prayed with someone I consider a spiritual mentor. They prayed for the lonely areas of my spirit. This mentor is so wise and has such a great relationship with God, and when they prayed for the “lonely” areas of my spirit, it felt so prophetic – like a lightbulb moment.
Lately, I’ve been in a learning season. For a few years now, prayers for my own life have been pretty general: “Thank you. Help me. Guide me.” Most of my quiet time has been spent interceding for family and friends. Ironically, God started using this time to reveal things in me.
I had been so focused on pouring my energy into others that I was neglecting my personal connection with God.
One of the tipping points in my life that led me to Christ was my overwhelming anxiety. My anxieties stemmed from an impulse to control everything and the negative events that would infect my life no matter what I did or how “good” of a person I was. I was not connected to the One who is really in control and living apart from Him meant trying to carry the heaviness of life with no backup or relief. Nowadays, I’ve learned to recognize these creeping anxieties as a sign that I have been distant with God.
Earlier, I mentioned how a friend had prayed for the lonely areas of my heart. I hadn’t really been asking for prayer because most of my “problems” I considered unimportant or trivial and my loved ones have enough legitimate troubles of their own. If I did share, I couldn’t confidently articulate what I needed, which resulted in anxious chatter and feeling guilty or selfish. Because I felt so insecure about sharing my needs, and because people can’t read my mind, areas of my heart began to feel very lonely. My mentor’s prayer for me was a reminder to seek God first with my needs.
I had been looking to my loved ones for the things I should be looking to God for.
Listen, the truth is, we should be able to look to our loved ones for encouragement, comfort, validation or affection, but what I’m learning is we can’t expect it. Expectations set us up for disappointment, not because others are incapable, but because their timing or delivery might be off. Fortunately, God can read our minds better than we can and His timing is always perfect.
Relationships Take Work
A relationship with God takes just as much, if not more, effort than one with a spouse, parent or friend. In any relationship, if you’re never talking or listening to each other, what’s really going on? Nothing.
Like a spouse, God likes to hear that you love and appreciate Him, and He wants you to listen to Him. He wants to hear you say, “Thank you!” and “I need you.” Like a parent, God wants to protect and discipline His children so they can grow to be strong and brave. He wants you to tell Him about your dreams and desires so He can encourage you and give you the tools you need to live your best life. Like a friend, God wants to be a part of your celebrations and comfort you when you’re sad. He also wants you to ask Him what He needs from you.
Because God’s love is true, this means we have a choice to have a relationship with Him or not. It’s a two-way street. The work doesn’t stop when we say, “I accept Jesus as my Savior” just like it doesn’t stop when we say, “I do.”
My relationship with God had taken a backseat to my relationship with others. I was focused on serving them instead of Him and I was expecting others to give me what only He can. He has more than enough to give me what I need, and the wisdom not to give me what I don’t need. <– Important to note.
Do you ever feel anxious or alone? Do you feel areas of your relationships are not living up to your expectations? When was the last time you prayed or listened to God? If you’re experiencing something like this or have your own spiritual lesson you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you. Comment below or send me an email.
1 John 4:8