This summer I learned a lot. One thing I learned is that as Christians too often we overcomplicate things. I think we do this because when we pray for something like having joy, wanting to seek after God, or impacting people we have this grand image in our mind of what that looks like. For example, if I want to have God’s true joy I might imagine that would mean that I’m on top of the world all of the time and just feel this constant overflowing joy. I might incorrectly believe that because I’m focusing on God it will be this constant intense experience where I’m only focused on him and impacting others.
But it’s really quite simple. It’s moment by moment. It’s not a once and done thing. God gave me joy today and I’m good. If you want to focus on having His joy or leaning on Him for strength it should be a continual prayer. Moment by moment. What do I mean by this? As people we will fail. We are born sinful. If we focus on being perfect, we will feel like we’re failing. It’s moment by moment. In this moment, do I choose to do things myself or lean on God for strength?
Don’t have a grand idea in your head that’s unrealistic. Being hard on yourself is another thing that isn’t helpful. I used to struggle with this all the time. In the church we hear about the importance of impacting others and being intentional. That is our purpose and it is important, but we need to learn how to not be so hard on ourself. This is what happens when I am too hard on myself. Being too hard on myself leads to frustration at myself for not being able to do xyz because I’m leaning on myself for strength and not God and getting mad that I can’t do it in my own ability. Is this your experience? If it is, break the pattern. Learn how to break the habit of trying to do it all in your own strength by being intentional about leaning on God for strength.
Moment by moment. Moment by moment through prayer. I know that’s what you always hear. Pray. But it really is true. I cannot tell you how much I have learned and grown and have been taught through prayer. Seek God. Do it when you don’t feel like doing it. Create the discipline. As great as it is to be passionate about what your reading and really want to read the Bible that’s not always the case for everyone. It’s certainly not for me. I have always struggled with connecting with God through His word and knowing what to “take away” from the Bible. But there are so many simple things in the Bible that are not some big deal that I find interesting. Figure out how you best approach reading it. How do you get connected? For me it’s logical. For others it’s an emotional response. They hear God speaking to them. It is so important to learn how you connect with the Bible. So that you can start enjoying reading it.