My guess is that you, my dear reader, like many - if not most - Christians, find having a relationship with God really challenging. You were brought from death to life when God filled your heart with faith to believe and receive the Good News of Jesus' work on your behalf; it was an incredible moment! Or you grew up in the church and never know a time you didn't believe Jesus was the Way, the Truth, and the Life; you know you're saved. But beyond that, you feel like you have no idea what you're doing when it comes to relating to God. You know you should be goin' to church, reading your Bible, praying, and trying not to do bad things. But you're painfully aware that there's not much passion, so you believe that you must be really doing something wrong.
May I suggest that the reason it's so hard to have a relationship with God is because you're trying to relate to Him based on the way other people do, and not the way He created you to have a relationship with Him? Think about all your relationships. Each one is unique because each one is between you and another soul, both of you bringing your individual personalities into the connection. My daughter's relationship with me is different from the relationship that she has with, say, one of her friends. Neither relationship is better than the other, each one is built on some mutual history and affection, but they look quite different because though she is the same person, the one to whom she's relating is different.
Let's think about this when it comes to having a relationship with Almighty God. Each one of us was knit together in our mother's womb and is known by God. No two of us are alike. As such, the way we relate to God and interact with Him will be influenced by who we are. And since the way we are is the way God made us, I can confidently say that is good. So when it comes to trying to figure out how to have a relationship with God after He has brought you from unbelief to faith, begin where you are and always pursue Him sincerely as YOU.
Here's what I'm getting at. We can get distracted and stymied when we look around at how so-and-so church member or Jane Doe super-blogger has a relationship with the Lord. In our attempt to have the "right" kind of relationship with Him, we copy what others are doing rather than asking the Lord to direct us by His Spirit, within the bounds of our personality and circumstances. Whatever those other folks are doing is wonderful, for them, but may not be what will help you best feel connected to your loving Heavenly Father.
Of course, there are Biblical guidelines for how to deepen our relationship with God. You know these basics: the Word, prayer, hearing the Word preached, Christian fellowship, etc. But never, ever, ever let yourself get caught in the lie of the enemy that you have to have the same kind of relationship with God as anyone else. How you and God talk, is between Him and you. And it is, to borrow form Goldilocks, just right!
- You get more out of devotional Bible studies than reading commentaries and studying the minutia of theology? Grab those devotionals and ask the Lord to keep directing your path by His Word!
- You LOVE all that theological minutia? Go nuts with the Hebrew and Greek and the commentaries!
- You can't focus to pray without being on your knees? Get on your knees and don't be embarrassed!
- You can't focus to pray with out a pen and journal on your lap? Collect what you need, and write out those prayers!
- You love apologetics and discussions about such things? Read up, study, and take advantage of opportunities God gives you to talk with the skeptical!
- You love to laugh and have fun? Feel free to delight in your relationship with God!
- You really adore God and His holiness? Meditate on it, go deep, and invite others along!
- You're a fiery one, full of passion and emotion? Have you read the Psalms? Let God have it! He can take it and He wants to use you for His purposes!
All I'm trying to say is this. The only thing about your relationship with God that needs to be exactly the same as everyone else's is that you call on the name of Jesus to be saved from your sins and depend on Him alone for Salvation and New Life. Beyond that, enjoy growing in relationship with God by taking advantage of getting to know Him in the Word, prayer, and worship as He leads you within the context of who YOU are.
Guys, Jesus talked about setting His people free! Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. If you feel bound, it's time to break those chains. Don't give the enemy the satisfaction of keeping you stuck. God loves you, chose you, knows you, and wants you to enjoy being in relationship with Him: child to Father. Let Him bless you with the freedom to be who you are in your relationship with Him!
Grace and peace,