This morning I was catching up with a friend of mine who shared with me how she is struggling spiritually. Quiet times are becoming more difficult to make time for and reading scripture seems like more of a chore than a time of renewal. I wish I had a response that was good enough, I wish I could come up with the right words to say. Here’s the deal. This is something that I have struggled with since the day I accepted Christ into my life. Some days setting aside time is easy and scripture seems relevant, other days spending time with God seems like nothing more than another chore on my to-do list.
Just last week I was speaking with a friend about times we shared together. There was laughter and tears, there were early morning and late nights, there was growth and most importantly there was love. It seemed that every morning as I walked up to the boathouse at camp I was met with a smile, a hug, or encouraging words from a member of my waterfront family. These individuals loved me so well, but on some days I felt as though I was extremely hard to love. My friend informed me “You were never hard to love, some days you just needed to be loved differently than you did on other days, and that’s okay.”
Now you’re probably wondering what these two conversations have to do with each other. In one respect, absolutely nothing. In another respect, they have everything to do with each other. Recently I have learned quite a bit about the five love languages, if you haven’t heard of them they can be described as the five main ways in which we give and receive love. The love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Every single person in this world gives and receives love in a different way because every single person has different gifts and needs. In further exploring the love languages I discovered that I respond best to quality time and words of affirmation. This makes sense to me, it explains my relationship with the Lord. When I make time to spend in His presence or dive into scripture I feel loved. When I come across encouraging or relevant words I feel loved. Where does that leave me the rest of the time? The days I don’t have quiet time or the days I don’t read relevant scripture? Certainly not unloved. Certainly not forgotten. I might feel miles apart from God’s love, but Romans 8:38-39 seems to prove me otherwise. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Although we all love in a different way, God is able to love us in whatever way we receive best. On those days I don’t make time to spend with the Lord, I can still show my love for him. On the days I don’t feel renewed by reading scripture, I am still being renewed by Him. Literally nothing, not even the highest highs or lowest lows can separate us from God. He is constant. So what does this mean for those of us that struggle spending time with God? Maybe it means we need to find a new way to draw near to him. Maybe it’s finding a new devotional book, spending time with a Christian community, or simply listening to worship music on your way to work or school. It might even be just acknowledging God in the morning before getting out of bed. Some days seem harder, some days it all just feels like a chore. Always remember, loving the Lord is never harder but some days you might have to find a different way. He has figured out how to best love you, now it’s your turn to figure out how to best love and spend time with Him. Don’t have quiet time because someone tells you to, don’t pray because you feel like you have to, and seriously don’t go to church to please anyone. The Lord desires to renew you, to fill you up, and to draw near to you. If you’re willing to be real with the Lord, great things will be done in your life. It might not be easy but i guarantee you it will be worth it.