Some friends are movie friends. Some friends are gaming friends. Some friends are hiking friends. Others are biking friends. I know whom to call depending on what I am in the mood to do.
I know there are certain ways I can connect with certain people. Discussing a book with one person can make me feel very close to them, sharing common ideas and reflections. Another, we may never come close to reading the same material, but we share a love for the same game and can spend hours bonding over the board.
Are these factors any different in our relationship with God? There are many ways God speaks to us and connects with us. Some methods are much more effective with certain people. So, if we know a way we easily connect with God, do we determine to do it?
Recently, I was cleaning the house, and, as is usual for me, listening to my ipod while I cleaned. I had a choice of playlists. “Cleaning,” which is a mix of mostly upbeat, secular songs I can bop around to while I dust, or “Christian,” which is a collection of worship songs and contemporary Christian music. I was heading toward a bad mood at the time, starting to fill with annoyance, frustration, and general irritability. I thought I would probably be better off listening to the Christian playlist. For me, music is one of the easiest ways to draw closer to God. (The other one being nature.) But, I was a bit tired of the songs I have on that playlist, and wanted something “livelier,” so I went with “Cleaning.” An hour or so later, in a much worse mood, I reached for the ipod and actually thought the words “Fine, God, I’ll switch it!” Praise Him for His patience with my attitude. Can you guess which way my mood went after a few songs that brought my focus back on Christ?
Why was I reluctant to do what I knew I should do in order to connect more with the Lord? Would I hesitate to watch a shared favorite flick with a movie-watching friend? Would I not jump at the chance to scrapbook with my crafty friends?
If we know our love language with God – the way we most easily draw near to Him – we shouldn’t neglect it.
So, what happens if the only way I can connect with someone is to go sledding, and it’s the middle of summer? If I want to maintain that relationship, I have to find other ways to relate. It may not be as easy for me, or seem as fun, or feel as natural, but it is worth the effort for the closeness it sustains. The results may also be surprising. I may find that some new activity causes me to grow in a way I did not expect. Or, the relationship may jump to a new level simply because the environment has changed, causing new sides of our personalities to emerge. For example, line-dancing with gaming friends can bring a whole new dimension to the friendship.
Again, the same goes for our vertical relationship. If I am somewhere that I can’t listen to music, or it’s the dead of winter and I can’t get outside, do I simply not spend time with God? This is when I need to put other disciplines into practice. Yes, listening to a sermon may take more effort than singing a worship song, but it can have an amazing impact. Serving others in a new way can be extremely stretching, but also full of opportunities for growth. Who knows where God will take us if we are willing to put in the effort. We may soar on wings like eagles with our reading Friend.