3 Tips on How to Pursue Jesus.
‘His’ Identity Series #5.
I was reminded today that although I like to make my own plans, it’s ultimately Jesus that directs my steps and opens doors. My only job is to show up and be authentically myself and then watch Him work. Sis, it’s the same exact concept when it comes to cultivating an intimate relationship with God.
That’s what our next topic is in our identity series; how to cultivate an intimate relationship with the Creator so we can actually allow Him to speak into our lives and hand us our identity as His.
You know the drill, Sister, so here we go…
So far, we’ve covered:
The deep need for an intimate relationship with Jesus and His pure heart toward us.
The soul weeds, or lies, that we believe, which may be keeping us from an unhindered relationship with Him.
The importance of knowing the sound of His voice.
The different ways in which He speaks directly to us.
I’ve shared with you why having a personal relationship with Jesus is so essential to rooting your identity in Him. I’ve told you of the deep love His heart holds for you and how desperately He aches for you to live loved. I’ve said that knowing the sound of His voice is the most important thing in this life, especially when it comes to knowing who we are. Remember, He’s always pursuing you, Sister. And this week, I’m going to challenge you to reach outside your comfort zone and pursue Him right back. Actively.
Why? So you learn to draw near to your Father, who is already drawing near to you. So you form an intimate relationship with Him and begin to familiarize yourself with His voice.
I know what you’re probably thinking… how in the heck do I actively pursue the God of the entire Universe?! Well, for starters, don’t freak out. Try to breathe with me! Remember, at the beginning of this post, when I said that I like to make my own plans, but it’s Jesus who directs my steps? That’s actually a Biblical principle in the book of Proverbs. We’re going to look at it today and use it as the foundational tool of how we pursue Jesus right back.
Proverbs chapter 16, verse 9 (NIV) says this…
In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
You might have some fancy-schmancy idea of what you think a relationship with Jesus might have to look like. But I’m here to tell you that the number one thing to remember when drawing closer to Jesus is this:
Show up as yourself, be authentically you – mess and all – in your Maker’s presence, and He will meet you right where you are, and direct your time together.
And from that sweet time together, Sis, is where the rest of your life will spill out from. You will find yourself in the eyes of Jesus in every sweet moment when you stop and remember to pursue Him as He pursues you. Just as you are, right where you are.
He’s your friend and your loving heavenly Father. Yes, He’s the God of the Universe, and He deserves all the glory and praise, and He is to be revered and deeply respected. But, Sister, time spent with you is the best part of His entire day. He isn’t some far away being in the sky that hopes you don’t screw up your life too bad and embarrass Him too much. Ha! We would all be doomed if that were the case!
I end every single blog post with Isaiah 43, verse 1, on purpose. Hoping that those words will resonate with the message I’ve been trying to relay to you—this message of identity; His.
Now, I want to show you verse 2…
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
That verse is this messy, beautiful, crazy life in a grace-filled nutshell. It’s a promise to you from the Creator of your soul that He will always be with you through the mess. That through every door, this life opens to you, and the heartbreaking ones that close, He will be present at all times, through every moment.
He sees you… always.
That is why I can sit here and promise that you can approach Him as you are, with every broken part and beautiful flaw. It’s when we open ourselves up to Him that He’s able to put our pieces back together again.
The hardest part sometimes is just showing up.
Sis, please give Him a chance. Meet Him halfway, and commit to drawing closer to Him by just showing up and allowing Him to guide your time together. For those of you that like a little more structure and direction (hey, I’m one of those people, so no judgment here!), I’m going to share three things that have helped me grow my relationship with Jesus and root my identity in Jesus even deeper by pursuing Him actively. So here we go…
Prioritize the Time.
We’re all busy, I get it! I’m not a mama yet, but Sis if you are… you’re a superhero! I can’t imagine juggling being a wife and a mom. That’s a full-time job! So please hear me when I say that I get it if you don’t feel like you have the time to take an hour out of your day, uninterrupted, and spend time reading the Word and talking to Jesus. If that’s where you are, bless! But I know that for most of us, that can be hard to do on the daily. Which is why I said to prioritize the time. You can literally take God with you throughout your entire day. You don’t have to set an uninterrupted time slot if you’re in a season of life where that’s impossible and impractical. Keeping Him present in your mind as you go throughout your day is still pursuing Him. Talking to Him in your head while you make the kids breakfast or you’re on your way to work does actually count as prayer. He is a real being that wants to be included in your seemingly mundane, everyday tasks. He’s just waiting to be invited.
Set an Appointment.
If you are able, set the dang appointment, Sis. No, I don’t have kids yet, but I’m a wife who works full-time with other outside commitments. Time with the Lord is sacred to me, so I get up early in the morning before the rest of my house is awake, and I sit with my coffee and read my Bible and talk to Jesus. That’s literally how I’ve started every morning for the past few years. I show up, coffee in hand, lookin’ like a half-awake mess, and I try to have the attitude of, ‘ok, Lord, what do you have for me today?’ Sometimes, I talk His ear off about a friend who hurt me, something I’m excited about, or my dreams and worries. Other times, I read a passage He places on my heart or a devotional from one of my books. It might look like journaling while playing worship music in the background and allowing Jesus to direct my heart and thoughts. The only thing that remains constant is that I set my appointment with the Lord and consistently show up. That’s it! The rest is on Him. He has shown me incredible things during that one hour I have committed to drawing closer to Him…but the best thing is the intimate relationship we’ve formed just through spending time together. If you can, in this season, I would encourage you to use the free moments in your day to prioritize setting an appointment dedicated to spending time with your Creator!
Find What Works for You.
I like spending an hour in the morning with my coffee and Bible and talking to Jesus. My husband, on the other hand, has trouble focusing on one thing for too long! To expect His time with Jesus to look like mine would be ridiculous. He was created entirely different than me! For my husband, He feels the Lord most when He starts His day by taking a walk and listening to a sermon in his headphones or playing some worship music and talking to God. If you’re someone that loves reading, pick up a Bible study and dive into the Word, allowing Jesus to come alongside you and speak to you. (I actually have an excellent recommendation if you’re looking for a Biblical study on identity. I’ll link it at the end of this post if you want to check it out!) Bible studies are great because they give you a subject to study while also pointing you to God’s Word, which pulls you closer to Jesus. The point is that spending time with the Lord and actively pursuing Him will look different for each person. It’s just important that you find where He speaks the loudest and what works for you!
As long as you take steps toward Him, pull closer to the heart of who He is… you will run right into who you are in Him.
The Lord never expects you to show up with your report card – a ‘perfect’ record – with the intent to impress or prove. Perfection doesn’t leave room for humility or change; it actually destroys it! It’s your beautiful flaws and broken pieces that allow His light to shine through. Sis, He’s after your heart, and it’s through building a life with Him that insecurities and misplaced identities begin to shift because they’re being submitted to the presence of Jesus.
1 Samuel chapter 16, verse 7 says this,
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Hold onto that truth this week, Sister, and remember that an intimate relationship with Jesus is a journey. A grace-filled, beautiful, messy journey that begins with you showing up, just as you are. If you allow Him to direct your steps, He’ll reveal those soul weeds that He lovingly wants to tug right out from the ground of your heart. The ones that are keeping you from being everything He created you to be. The soul weeds that are keeping you from being completely free, wrapped in love, and smothered with grace.
The ones that are keeping you from being His.
But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
PS! If you are looking for a great biblical resource on identity, I completed a Bible study on the book of Hosea by Jennifer Rothschild a few years back. It completely wrecked me with the love of Jesus and gave me a better understanding of myself through the eyes of my Heavenly Father. Go check it out!