Hello friends! I hope that the first week of Lent served you well, and you were able to experience the Lord’s loving presence. If you felt like you haven’t, that’s okay. Sometimes we don’t always get it right the first time and it can be discouraging. Trust me I’ve been there.
My last post talked about how one particular event changed the way I looked at the Lenten season and my relationship with the Lord (go back and read last week’s post). But what about when you don’t feel the connection right away? I hope it didn’t come off like I got it right on the first try, because I didn’t. It was definitely hard to get into a routine that didn’t seem like talking to God was a daily chore instead of an opportunity to grow in a relationship. Here is more of what I learned through my experience with spending time with Jesus.
Practice Makes Progress
Usually the saying is “practice makes perfect” but I say it a little differently. I personally feel like the word perfect puts a lot of pressure on us. It’s an impossible thing to strive for. We are human and we make mistakes. However, progress is a much more realistic goal to strive for. Like I said before, Jesus is waiting for you and He always will be. His love is patient even when we slip away. Whenever I feel guilty about this, I think about the passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 that says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” This is the kind of love that Jesus has for us, and I pray that we may never forget that.
Find a Method that Works for You
I briefly mentioned about spending time with Jesus at different places like your house, a coffee shop etc. But I didn’t mention that it should be wherever you feel the most comfortable. When I was in high school, I would pray out loud and listen to praise and worship music in the car every morning. This worked for me because the commute to school was 25 minutes or sometimes even more, so it created some free time in my hectic schedule. Now, I’m trying to spend time with God this Lenten season by going to an Adoration chapel. It’s okay to change it up every once and awhile. There isn’t a set of rules that tells you that you must do it a certain way or you’re wrong. Everyone is different. Find a way that works for your comfort level and schedule.
Talk to Jesus like He’s a Friend
I also struggled with this for awhile. I was intimidated by Jesus. In the beginning, I treated him more like a celebrity. I was afraid to let my guard down because He is so much greater than I am. This created restrictions on my relationship with Him because I didn’t allow myself to become comfortable while talking to Him.Then someone once told me to talk to Jesus just like any one of your other closest friends. Wow, talk about an epiphany! This advice really helped me look at my relationship with Him differently. Just like our friends, He forgives us when we make mistakes. Along with His love, His loyalty will always remain unconditional.
PSA: just because it doesn’t feel right or you don’t get the results you want the first time, it doesn’t make you a failure. I believed this lie far longer than I should have and wanted to. I realized over time that forming a new habit doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort. Don’t give up! The end result could surprise you. After all patience is a virtue right?