When Your Faith Doesn't Keep Up With Adulting
When I was a little girl and something really truly wonderful happened, I would close my eyes really tightly and think, “I hope this never changes” or “I wish this day could go on forever.” Even as a little girl, I understood that you preserve things that are precious to you. But, God doesn’t preserve things quite the same way we humans attempt to.
“I can’t retain peace in the present by relying on a relationship from the past.” -Beth Moore
This idea seems simple, but sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, when we see areas of our life changing, we don’t realize that our relationship with God will reflect those changes. Instead, we see areas of change, and growth, and wonder what’s happening... Why isn’t my walk with the Lord the way it used to be?
When I was a teenager I went through some health problems that truly brought me into a deep friendship with the Lord. During a time that I would’ve felt isolated and alone, God revealed himself to me. He was my closest companion. As I healed and grew, we still had the strong relationship I treasured and felt a deep confidence in.
But, as I grew out of my teenage years, my life changed in a billion different ways I hadn’t planned for (isn’t that growing up, though?). I kept trying to get myself back to where I had once been with God.
Then, I got married. My life was completely different; it looked different, it felt different, it was designed different, and it now had different flaws, a different schedule (hello, first full-time job post-college!). More than that, I was different. Of course, I’m the same person, but I was now the woman version of myself.
My life was flowing, active, and growing (as it is supposed to!), but I kept trying to make my walk with God look like it once had. It had been so special to me the way it had been, I was missing it. Yet, it felt like it wasn’t fitting, anymore. I felt so guilty and frustrated.
But there I was, reading a Bible study by Beth Moore on peace being like a river, when I tripped over that line about no longer relying on a past relationship. I felt God nudge me and say:
“I the Lord do not change,” (Malachi 3:6, NIV) but that doesn’t mean that our relationship can’t. I am the Great Supplier of your needs (Exodus 3:14-15, NIV). This means I meet all of your needs and I do not change; so no matter where you’re at in your life, I will always be whatever you need, that won’t change. You change, you grow up, so let our relationship grow along with you.
This was a turning point for me, a true revelation in my walk with God; I was allowed to discover what my relationship with God looked like as a woman.
In any good, healthy relationship, as you grow, your relationship grows with you. It means that you get to discover new things about your relationship and about each other. It means you get to learn new ways to love on each other and be there for each other, and new ways of communicating.
God still brings me back to my girlish wonder sometimes, my innocent moments of child-like faith, but He also has shown me all the new things He can be in my life that I hadn’t ever needed Him to be before. As this happened, I started to grow even deeper in my other relationships, especially my marriage. Because as you allow God to take you deeper in your walk with him, this reflects in other areas in your life as well.
We can have such sweet and wonderful seasons with the Lord, but just because one season ends doesn’t mean that all the sweetness and wonderfulness will come to an end. Instead, it means, in the healthy cycle of life, God is ready to say to you: "Let me show you what else I have for you."
As I’ve been married, life has never gone as my husband and I have planned, but so often I find myself grateful for each curve in the road, because it reveals a new side of my husband and of our relationship that I wouldn’t have seen if life had gone as I had expected; it shows me new ways we work together, new ways we understand each other, new strengths, and, even sometimes, new weaknesses I didn’t realize were there but now know to work on.
It’s the same way in our relationship with God. There is no formula to Him, no step-by-step guide to a walk with Him; it’s about maintaining a relationship with Him throughout a life together.
We can’t expect every relationship to stay safe and perfect just the way we want it to be. We definitely can’t expect it of ourselves, so why would we expect that of the Creator of the complex? The Great Designer of growth? Or, as said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV), the God who is made perfect in our weaknesses? That also means, to me, that He is made perfect in any area we view as weakness: our complexities, our confusions, our messes, our growing pains, our warm seasons of summer, and our coldest of winters. He isn’t asking us to stay the same. He isn’t afraid of our weakness. He shows up for it all. He’s there for it all, perfectly.
God is never changing, but that doesn’t mean our relationship has to remain the same. It means He’ll never stop being what we need, and He’ll never stop loving us, even if we change and grow. He designed us to change and grow. But, while He may never change, there’s always so much more to Him for us to discover.
Let’s remember that we will never outgrow God’s love. It’s all about who He is, and that’s never changing.