Have you ever wondered how you can strengthen your relationships and become healthier in life?
Wow, that’s great! Me too!
All silliness aside, let me share something He brought to mind on April 6th when I was exercising.
For much of my life, I struggled with relationships. You want to know why? Because I never learned to fully love and appreciate who I was. I didn’t like who I was, had low self-esteem and thought only bad things, often times settling for whatever I could get, not thinking I was worthy of receiving the best.
The enemy told me lies for so many years. I believed those to be true. I was weak, vulnerable, gullible, easily persuaded, taken advantage of, how awful this was as I didn’t have the ability or perception at the time to see myself as God sees me,
Never in my life had I known my value, until I come to know God’s love for me. Developing a relationship with my Heavenly Father has taken a whole lot of faith, significant amount of trust, patience, and time simply getting to know Him, His voice, His presence and how He works through me during moments of my life.
Let me try and help you put things into perspective in a way that may be helpful to understand. How many of you do some form of exercise, participate in sports, or have hobbies? My best guess is many of you do.
Whether you do yoga, lift weights, run, play hockey, play baseball, knit, crochet (just to name a few), taking time to learn appropriate techniques and advance to a higher level of performance takes practice, time, perseverance and obedience. Over time, you create muscle memory, have formed healthy habits and routines, making this a part of your everyday living. Everything become natural, having the ability to do things with ease.
Developing a relationship with God is kind of like this too. Until you start working out regularly and develop a routine, there will be many inconsistencies, reasons to doubt, find excuses, simply wanting to give up.
The results you hope to see don’t happen overnight. Transformation is a process. Change takes time. Muscles need time to be challenged, used in ways they may not have been used before (or in a long time).
Small changes will occur, but not so small others don’t notice. People will see the changes happening, even though you may feel no progress, like nothing is happening within. All the more reason to be faithful, obedient, have patience and trust in His timing and process.
Currently, I am using the 3-lb weights I already have at my home. Before purchasing new weights, I need to prove to myself that I will dedicate time each day to using the ones I have before investing in new ones. So far, I have been successful at this and look forward to making a purchase soon.
The 3-lb weights have provided me with the opportunity to learn how to ease into strengthening my arms, rather than placing high expectations on myself and my body before I am ready to do so. Before long, I will be lifting 5, 10, 20 pounds or more, and it may only feel like lifting a 3-lb weight. Who knows where life will take me.
These changes can be made in your spiritual life too. Maybe you don’t know for sure what to say or think at the moment and spend only 3 minutes with Him once or twice a week. As you become more comfortable with and develop new habits, you find yourself wanting to spend more time with Him not only in the morning, but at night time too. Keep building your endurance, increasing your time from 3 minutes to 10 minutes or more several times a day throughout every day of the week.
How will I know I’m spending time with God? Isn’t it just the voices in my head?
He speaks to us and through us. Designating some quiet time and space for Him is a great place to start, however He has spoken through me most easily when my heart and mind are present and at peace. I may be doing regular household chores and routines, going for a walk, exercising, taking a shower, at work, waking up at 3 AM to use the bathroom, or when I get up in the morning.
His presence is peaceful, one filled with joy, hope, peace and unconditional love. There is no doubting the feeling. I know it is Him.
The more grateful I am and acknowledge the His miracles and blessings in my life, the more I am strengthened in faith. I know He is delighted every time I give my worries up to Him. He knows I trust in Him to carry my burden. There is no use in carrying around the burdensome weight of the world when that was never meant for me to carry alone.
He wants so much for us all to be happy in this world, see the good in all things that happen along the way. This is where I have grown so much, seeing the good and learning valuable lessons. With God, all things are possible. We were never meant to be a lone traveler in this world.
What are some ways I strengthen my relationship with God?
Let’s just say I needed to put my ego aside, get rid of my stubbornness and hard-headed tendencies, allow my heart to soften after being hardened by people who were not so nice to me throughout the course of my life. Trust was a big issue for me. As I learned to talk to Him first, and seek Him always, He let me know He’s got this, He has a much better plan than I could have ever dreamed of for myself.
Every day, I acknowledge Him and His presence in my life, for the gifts He brings me. From sunrise to sunset, my breath upon waking, good health, safety and protection, guidance, wisdom, experiences, people and moments in my life, I need only be present, appreciate, enjoy and be grateful for all these things.
I love to give of myself when I am able to do so. When I give of myself unconditionally, peace, joy and love flow unconditionally from my heart and soul. This is the Holy Spirit, God within me. Doing good for others makes my hearts sing.
The changes I have experienced over time, has taken a lot of patience and time to develop a deeper understanding and relationship with Him. There are many times I felt like giving up during the difficult, most challenging moments of my life.
Giving up and giving in was never an option. Even though I may have never fully understood the reason for things happening the way they have in my life, I’ve learned to tell Him thank you more often than I ever used to. I knew the only way to become a better person was to go through, not around or avoid. I am on the path to becoming the person He authentically and uniquely created me to be.
At age 48, I am finally starting to appreciate and accept who it is God says who I am. Once I learned to trust, how to give all things up to Him, our relationship became much stronger, His words, His voice, more clear.
We all develop and become who it is He called us to be in our own timing. This may happen in a matter of years or perhaps take us a lifetime to learn. None of us know. All the more reason to seek Him always, believe, put our faith and trust in Him.