A few days ago I was at the spending time with a sweet friend. We don’t get to see each other often. She works a full time job outside of the home and I work full time at home. This was one of those rare moments when we actually got to talk face to face instead of through the screens on our phones. Like moms tend to do, the conversation centered around our children. She has a beautiful 4 year old boy and she and her husband obviously adore him. As we were talking about day care and home school, temper tantrums and sleep deprivation something bigger and much more important was mentioned. God. Religion specifically. She said something that made me think. “I’m not going to push religion down my child’s throat.” Now, before you think she’s an anti-God mom, I’ll tell you that it’s obvious that my friend loves God, but the idea of religion bothers her. If I’m being honest, the idea of religion bothers me too.
Religion is about rules and restrictions. It’s about those perfectly dressed couples and their perfectly dressed children sitting in their polished pew every Sunday morning. It’s knowing all the words to every hymn and memorizing all the scriptures. Religious people tend to think they’ve arrived. They’ve reached “Christianity” and they’re finished now. They’ve secured their place in the Good Book, their seat in Heaven. I do no like religious people. They make me feel unworthy. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that our savior, Jesus Christ, isn’t a fan of religion either.
Christ wants us to have a relationship with Him. He’s not as concerned about the rules of religion as He is the tenderness of our hearts. I am an imperfect sinner who stumbles daily. I spend too much time on my iPad rather than in my Bible. I get jealous of people who steal my husband’s time. I sometimes let a not so nice word slip out of my lips. I yell at my children way more than I should. I am a sinner. God hates all of these things, but He LOVES me. He adores me. I am here to tell you that He adores you too. And guess what Christians, I believe with every fiber of my being that He adores every single human being on this beautiful earth. He has created us in His image. All of us. He sees the beauty in each heart, He sees past the sin. He sees into the depths of our souls, and He is smitten by us.
Think back to when you met your husband. Remember that sweet feeling of getting to know him. Learning his likes and dislikes, the stories his mom told you, the baby pictures. You soaked him up. Every little detail was important. You prided yourself in knowing what he was thinking and feeling. His favorite food, team or movie. You immersed yourself in knowing your love. You were excited to see him, to touch his hand and just be alone together. This is what relationships are made of. This is what Christ wants from us.
Having a relationship with Christ is about seeking out His heart. It’s about wanting to know more about Him. Spending time with Him through prayer and reading God’s word to know all of His stories. The Bible is the window to Jesus’s soul. It’s who He is. Study him the way you studied your husband. Long to know Him. Seek His heart and what He wants for yours. Just like with our husbands, we never stop learning. We never stop growing in our marriages. We shouldn’t stop growing in our relationship with Christ. There is no finish line. Every time you open your Bible you should learn something new about Him. Just like you set aside time to be alone with your husband, you should set aside time to be alone with your savior. The closer you are to Him the more peace you will have in your life because you will know that you are in His will. In good times and in storms, God is faithful. Living in His will and seeking His heart is the only way to have true peace in this life.
Make a commitment to God today. Leave the religion of your life behind and look for the relationship God longs for you to have with Him. Schedule dates with Him and don’t cancel them. Talk to Him all day. I find myself praying constantly, thank yous for making it to co op on time, help finding missing socks, protection over my children when they play, knowledge when my child is struggling with a concept in math… these may seem like mundane and small things to pray for but it’s what God desires from us. He wants us to be close, He wants us to talk to him about our everyday struggles. When we see He is faithful in the small moments we will have stronger faith for those big moments. We will know we are in His will and we will have peace and peace is a valuable thing.