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dogs, trucks, and denim shorts

Hello friends! How's it going today? I want to check in with y'all and ask a question! I've had several conversations with people lately about their quiet time and their relationship with God. Mainly, we've just agreed that sometimes it just feels like our relationships with God feel so ordinary and we just get the "blahs." Know what I mean? Maybe we pray and feel like nothing happens or we feel that He is a bit distant. You with me here? I would like to share some ways that have helped me get through these times from wise people I have known in my life. I hope they will help strengthen you today!

Scripture. I guess this comes from the counselor in me, but sometimes we must rely on what we KNOW rather than how we FEEL. Remember our heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) On a side note, that verse is why I hate all the follow your heart stuff we hear about. I had some pajamam pants that were super cute but I later realized it had that phrase written on them so I couldn't bring myself to wear them anymore :) It really helps to dig into His Word and find passages of Scripture from God's heart to ours that tells us how much He loves us. Find these verses. Underline them. Highlight them. Write them on post-it notes around the house, in the car, wherever you will see them. Write them in dry erase marker on your mirror. Seeing God's Words repeatedly will keep them in your head so you memorize without even trying!

Prayer. Are you staying in constant communication with God? It's kind of easy to get in the habit of only praying at certain "prayer times" during the day, but keeping the conversation going throughout the day draws us closer to Him. I often thank Him for a great parking spot at Target or pray for the ambulances I pass on their way to help someone. Keeping the focus on praying for others I see also keeps the focus off myself so I don't have as much time to focus on my own struggles. Basically, anytime something comes up, talk to Him about it. Yes, even the bad stuff. Even your true frustrations. He already knows anyway, so you might as well open up!

Priorities. If we feel close to God, it's often because we are spending time with Him. What I mean by that is, we are spending time at church and with others who worship Him too. I don't mean this legalistically, it's just a fact that where we choose to spend our time is an indicator of where our priorities are. Is it Him? Is it His work? Is it serving others? Is it worshiping Him? It's pretty easy to dismiss a weekday worship for practice at school or to get some extra work done. Conflict between stuff to do and church worship causes us to make tough choices, doesn't it? It takes effort to work with that coach who schedules practices on Sunday nights! Do you believe God will honor your choices? I believe He will and He does. We can never outgive God! True story. As a freshman, my first test of college ever happened to be in psychology, so as I was studying some friends came to get me for Baptist Campus Ministries Monday night worship. I explained to them I was studying and really didn't have time to go, but after some prodding on their part, I went with them. The next day, I took the test. During the entire semester, the test I took after giving an hour of worship to God was the highest grade of any test I took in that class. Do I believe God honored my priority? Yes I do. No doubt.

Thoughts. What are we thinking about? I do not believe we need to get rid of everything secular that exists. I mean, how can we reach people for Christ if we are not aware of what goes on in the world? We are in the world, not of it (John 17:14) BUT, what do we fill our minds with consistently? If I watch movies with filthy language in it, then those words come to my mind later on. If I listen to music that glorifies materialism and stuff that doesn't honor Him, I find myself desensitized to that and begin to rationalize the lifestyle. I start making excuses and think those things are "not that bad." Isn't that how the enemy works? Slowly, quietly creeping in just as he did with Adam and Eve. Not outright lies, but simply twists of truth that sound alright, unless we stay discerning. I keep Christian music on in the car most of the time now, even though I enjoy some fun country music as much as the next girl. Nothing like dogs, trucks, and denim shorts, right? However, I noticed my baby girls sing in the car. They love singing For King and Country songs. I don't want them singing some song about a guy drinking a beer with his girl. For that matter, It's better for me too!

I hope these are some ideas that will help you and challenge you! We all have been there. He is still here with you, though! He loves you very much! He can never love you more than He does right now! Have a hope-filled day, my friends!



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