Apparently my word for this season of my life has become “intentional”. I got to a point recently where I wanted to not only be someone who makes determined decisions and behaviors, but to do so in a way that betters me as a person, a cop, a friend, a woman, a Christian and so on. I began to realize something in my life, that despite being somewhat intentional with many things, I was still missing a lot of intentionality with who I am as a Christian.
At some point over the busyness and distractions of the past couple of years, I lost a lot of the intentionality of my faith. As much as I loved going to church and learning about God, I was also beginning to lower God on my list of priorities…he was no longer my number one. Now granted, I did even realize I had been doing that. My discipline for reading the Bible became minimal, my prayer journaling was limited, and I began to see the effects of my lack of discipline in my relationship with God affect the other areas of my life. It was a slow but sure compromise of placing other things before God. By no means did I walk away from God or decide to not serve him. But I definitely chose to place other things ahead of God in my life, and when anything goes before God, it becomes an idol.
Despite God doing some amazing things in my life the past few years, I have done plenty of stupid or selfish and even sinful things that got in the way of what God was wanting to continue. God gave me an amazing job, incredible church, and wonderful community. God opened so many doors that it became clear that he was leading me in certain directions. But life is funny sometimes, when we begin to place things before God, our stupid self gets in the way. I learned the hard way in a few areas of my life. Like I said, I didn’t even realize at the time that I was removing God from being my number one. So I decided to start again.
It took my heart being broken to show me how misaligned my life was getting. After going through the initial steps moving on from the relationship and actually realizing I was thankful for the breakup, I realized I wanted to get back to a point where I loved God more than anything else. But just like someone who has gained weight over time, you just don’t go back to being fit and healthy fast. There are no good gimmicks that work. It takes effort, discipline, and intention to get to a healthy point. For me I felt like some decisions, behaviors, and distractions in my life became things that removed God as my priority and deeply affected my relationship with God, and that needed to change. I had to decide I wanted to love God more. It wasn’t a feeling many times. It was a choice to choose to love God, or not, and be committed to it. I chose to get back into the habit of daily reading the Bible and applying it to my life. I chose to get back to the habit of writing in my prayer journal again. I had to choose to spend time in prayer with God even when I didn’t feel it. There were many times over this past season that I was not feeling anything but brokenness. There were many times over this past season that I had to deal with a variety of emotions, many of which were not ones that made me want to spend time in prayer, reading the Bible or journaling. But let me clear on this: I KNOW I love God and made that decision years ago to live my life for him. I also KNOW that I made a ton of mistakes and selfishness that messed with that relationship. Look at it like any marriage…God has always been constant and faithful and yet I was the one that was wandering, inconsistent and lacking love. A marriage is significant and should be treated as something worth fighting for…that’s how I look at my relationship with God. I knew I committed to him and that he loved me despite my lack at times. So because of the fact that I KNEW I loved God, I also knew that I had to make conscious decisions to choose to love him again.
So becoming intentional became my discipline. I spent time with God. I spent time with godly people who wiser than me and could hold me accountable to living well for God. I stepped back from toxic people, removed toxic behaviors, and have felt such relief in doing so. At the beginning of this year, I even did a 21 day fast, limiting my food intake solely because of my job (instead of doing a full food fast). But that fast was such a great way for God to work in me after months of intentionally pursuing him. That fast was like a moment of a victory. It was a way to solidify some things: 1) God loved me and always has, 2) I am redeemed despite being stupid and selfish and sinful at times (many times!), 3) I am valued by God regardless of what others say or do, 4) I am madly in love with God again and hate knowing that for about a year I loved many others things way more than him, 5) good community is key in having a solid relationship with God, and 6) that the story isn’t even near over.
Whether you are solid in your relationship with God or really struggling, know that God loves you tremendously and will not leave you. No matter how far you might have turned and walked from God, you are redeemable. Don’t for a minute let the lies and voices of the Devil or others make you think otherwise. You are redeemable, loved, and purposed. Whatever your story looks like, start now. Pursue God now. Be intentional. It is the best adventure and journey I have ever been on in my life. And the peace I have now on the other side of being somewhat lost…and its an amazing feeling.