I think that many people are striving for intimacy with God. I think that most of us desire to feel God's presence and to know and believe His Truth. There have been times in my life where I wonder, if people are striving for this intimacy when they go to church, are sitting in prayer, and are reading the Word, then why is it SO hard? Why do we feel disconnected, distant, unknown, and weary while sitting in church, or in prayer? How can we do all do these Christian things and still not feel God? Still not know Him?!
Well this much I've gathered. Knowing God is not an overnight feeling, or a temporary solution to the hurt. Knowing Him is not a standard we are striving to reach or a checkmark on our agendas. Being close to God is an uprooting of what we know and believe; it's a relationship. It is not easy to know God and for many, the risk is too large and the cost too much.
You see, to be close to God is to bear our hearts and souls as they are, to fight against the lies that try to creep into our hearts, and to be in the unknown and the uncertain. To be close to Him is to walk through the pain, insecurities, and fears that we've harbored for so long. To be close to God is to admit fault, release control, and give up entitlements to a "good" life. Intimacy with God is also to know hope in extreme despair, to never be alone, and to know that we are loved, valued, sought after, and deemed beautiful. Knowing Him means knowning wholeness and purpose, knowing Him means knowing Yourself. Because when we are in relationship with Him we are who we were meant to be. There is no need for anything more to be good enough, nothing else to prove. To be close to Him is to know and extend reckless love, nonsensical forgiveness, and agenda-ditching grace. It is where we were meant to be since the beginning of time.
So then, how do we start? We REST in God. We seek counseling, we cry with a friend over the hurt we've experienced. We trust our communities with the real doubts and questions. We repair broken relationships. We take down the walls. We show our real faces and see as the fears of rejection and pain become untrue and powerless in the presence of God. We wrestle with our guilt and shame and speak of the things that have been hiding in our hearts all this time. We pray fervantly to see Him and ask Him to open our hearts and minds to see how He will answer, respond, and show up. We extend our hands to those who need them, we use our money for those with nothing. We pray for others and become advocates for those who do not know of the sacrifice our God has made for them. We care about the hurt in the world around us and we rejoice in the ways that we see God working. There is no formula, there is only living.