Spiritual Growth

How to Seize the Everyday Opportunities to Draw Closer to God

God is much nearer than we think. And getting to know Him—truly know Him—happens one step at a time.

by Katherine J. Butler, author of 365 Questions for a Woman’s Soul

Have you ever felt like there was so much distance between you and someone else that nothing you could do would ever close the gap between you? I have. In the first few years of our marriage, my husband and I struggled to feel close. In addition to working full-time, both of us were in masters programs that required intense therapy and spiritual direction. Needless to say, we were forced to face our issues quickly after we said, “I do.” With these kinds of pressures, it didn’t take long for us to drift apart relationally and emotionally. We could feel a vast distance between us while being in the same room.

There were times when I felt no hope that we would ever feel close again. But whenever he and I would fight, he would eventually come sit next to me and hold my hand (which in the moment I resisted!). Then he would say, “I want to make a small step toward feeling closer together.”

At the time, I had no idea the profound impact his words would have on our marriage, and eventually on my relationship with God.

Fast-forward four years—my husband and I welcomed our first child, Evelyn, into the world. Evelyn means “life” and oh . . . my . . . goodness—our girl is full of life. I often wonder how her little body can possibly contain her rambunctious, no-napping, always-singing, dramatic personality. Even as a newborn, she would nap for only 15 minutes at a time. (For you mamas out there, you know how great a tragedy this is.) I was exhausted, alone, and in desperate need of some soul-care. And even though I had earned a degree to help others grow in their relationship with God, I hadn’t the faintest idea how to reconnect myself to Him in this new season.

How do we grow in our relationship with God with so little time to nurture it? Is it even possible to care for our soul when a “quiet time” is impossible?

I thought back to my husband’s words, “I want to make a small step toward feeling closer together.” Maybe growing close to God is similar to growing closer in a marriage or a friendship—one small step at a time.

It’s tempting to believe a spiritual retreat or a romantic weekend away has the power to bridge the distance in a relationship. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this were true?

Small steps may actually be the best way, in my season of life, to begin to fill the lonely distance in a relationship. And small steps feel much less scary than a big leap, don’t they?

The first small step is often the hardest to take. But every interaction with another person provides us with a choice to step either toward them or away from them. Even in our complacency, we make a choice to be stagnant—to take no step at all.

When you and your husband are so deep into a fight that resolution feels hopeless, will you choose to step out of the room or to step into the conflict by holding his hand? When the mundane and exhausting moments of motherhood tempt you to disengage, will you choose to step toward your phone or to step onto the floor to play with your kids? When you feel rejected and fed up with always being the friend who initiates, will you choose to step away from the friendship or to step into the discomfort of initiating a difficult conversation? And when God feels far away, will you choose to step back in apathy or to step toward hopeful intentionality in your relationship with Him?

Small steps can feel insignificant. But several little steps toward others and God can lead to huge eternal significance. My spiritual director would always say, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly,” meaning that doing something, doing anything is better than doing nothing at all. We have no idea the great impact each one of those small steps can have on our soul.

Are you ready to live your life in His company? To experience His closeness? To recognize where He is leading so you can better follow Him? If you long to bridge the gap between you and God, take a small step.

Perhaps this looks like choosing to pray on your drive to the grocery store instead of listening to music. Or maybe this is sitting on your porch for just a minute and breathing in the beauty of God’s creation. Maybe it’s reading one verse (yes, just one verse) before going to bed instead of checking your social media. Or it could be setting aside your to-do list to instead prayerfully ask God to lead your day.

The fact that you have read this shows you are already choosing to step toward God today! Let’s take it one small step further—read this verse aloud:

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.

I have called you by name; you are mine.”

Isaiah 43:1

Now read it again, but this time, imagine God speaking directly to you by replacing Jacob’s name with your own.

But now, [insert your name], listen to the Lord who created you.

O [insert your name], the one who formed you says,

“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.

I have called you by name; you are mine.”

God is much nearer than we think. And getting to know Him—truly know Him—happens one step at a time. We will all walk through seasons when closeness with our Creator feels overwhelming, discouraging, and even impossible. However, God’s Word assures us that He loves us unconditionally; He desires a deep and wonderful relationship with us and wants us to draw near. Doesn’t His word remind you of this promise in Acts 17:27?

His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.

Seeking after God and feeling our way toward Him begins with one step. What step can you take toward Him today?

My prayer for you is this: May God give you courage to start small, patience for the journey, and hope in a deepening soul-connection with your Savior.

365 Questions for a Woman’s Soul by Katherine J. Butler

Why do so many people have to suffer? Why doesn’t my spouse love me? Why can’t I get a job? Why can’t we all just get along? Why doesn’t God seem to care what happens to me? It is human nature to have a multitude of questions swirling around in your mind. Sometimes you wonder if asking these questions about God, the Bible, and our world show signs of unbelief or doubt. Or maybe you wonder if there is any point in asking questions of God at all.

365 Questions for a Woman’s Soul asks the deep questions for which our souls long for answers. Some of these questions can be clearly answered from the pages of Scripture. Other questions do not have tidy answers, but by wrestling with them in relationship with God’s Word, we can gain perspective, wisdom, and a better understanding of who God is and why he allows events to unfold as they do.

Learn more HERE>>

Chloe Renzema is the Content Marketing Coordinator at Tyndale House Publishers. Chloe grew up in Michigan where she developed her love of lakes and the outdoors. She is passionate about creating visually appealing content that communicates simply and clearly. In her free time Chloe enjoys running, reading, freelance graphic design work, and volunteering with YoungLife.

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