We all view God in different ways. Some ways are true and some ways are a little skewed. But there is one aspect of God that I have been learning this year and it’s totally changing my perspective on him.
In 2010 I did something I thought I would never do in my life. I opened my own business. My dad was an entrepreneur, but that’s something I never really aspired to put on my resume. Starting out I had no idea what I was doing. Each day was a new adventure filled with guesses and failures.
Although I didn’t know much, I did know that the best way to grow a business was through relationships. I needed to connect with people. So that’s what I did. I went to every meeting I could find. I talked to anyone that would listen. If relationships were the key to success I was going to make sure I did everything I could to make them happen.
And it worked
Over the next three years, I made some significant relationships. People that would become future clients. Others who would help me connect with decision makers. I even ended up on the local news telling my story. It was amazing!
But there was one thing I began to notice about these relationships that I didn’t like. With each new connection, it became all about what they could do for me and my business. They became commodities to be used and not relationships to be built. Our relational transaction became my selfish desire for more.
Then I realized a very scary truth
If it wasn’t bad enough that my business relationships had turned into this. (Something that needed to change.) I then began to realize that my relationship with God had become the same type of transaction.
Every day I would get up and do my best to connect with God. But there was something brewing under the surface that I began to recognize. A scary truth. I desired to connect with God in hopes that he would bless my efforts and bring me success.
Very much like the business relationships, my relationship with God became a selfish encounter all about me. It wasn’t about getting to know God and learn his character. It was about doing what I had to in order to get what I wanted.
A simple change I had to make
Once I began to realize my toxic subconscious behavior was an effort to manipulate God, I asked him to forgive me and help me see him differently. I began to realize that God’s only desire was to be with me. Yes, he cares about the details of my life, but even more than that he desires to just be with me. In relationship.
As my view of him began to change I decided that I needed to start praying four things every day. It’s something I learned from my good friend, Dr. Elmore a few years ago. It’s been a great reminder as God shows me that his goal for me is to be with him, not just get something from him.
Here’s what I have been praying.
- Shine your light. I start by asking God to shine his light into every part of my heart. To expose those things in me (like when I try to use him for my gain) that need to be brought out into the light.
- Cleanse my heart. Once I begin to become aware of what has been hidden I ask him to cleanse my heart. I know I can’t do it on my own. He is the only one who can and when I remember that my focus begins to shift.
- Change my desires. Here is where it begins to shift. When I acknowledge that my desires are skewed. Then he can begin to help me refocus. What I’ve learned is that this doesn’t happen in an instant. It’s a process he walks me through.
- Pour out your love. I know that I do not love well on my own. My love is filled with conditions that say I will love you if you love me. Because I know this is true I know I can’t love on my own. I’m consistently reminded that it’s easy to love those who love me, anyone can do that. It’s God’s love that helps me love those who I would normally refuse to love.
What I have found amazing is that as God begins to change me, my view of him changes. I’ve also learned to see others in the right way too. Now I am able to see those I work with as relationships I can serve and not pawns to be used.
Maybe you can relate with the idea of trying to manipulate God (or others) so you can get what you want. Maybe you have never thought of it this way, but I hope this post challenges you to look at it differently.
I know for a fact that I will not be perfect at remembering this. You won’t be either. But let’s commit to coming back to these four simple prayers so that we can focus on being with God. Not just treat him like a genie passing out wishes.
God is so much bigger than that.
Question: Can you relate to my story? Have you ever found yourself desiring what God can do for you more than just being with him?