Have you ever felt just overwhelmed by the many lists out there that promise a good or happy life? The ones like 10 steps a happier marriage. 15 steps to a closer relationship with God. They sound really great and the list sounds doable initially but when you get to the bottom, do you ever feel an overwhelming feeling of dread? Because I know I do. Those lists are perfect examples to me of lists of things that I just don’t measure up to. Reasons why I’m not good enough. I know they are meant to help and honestly sometimes they even do but more often than not they’re just a reminder of my shortcomings.
These are especially dangerous when they involve God. There isn’t a way to check off steps on a list to be closer to God. That’s not how it works. How do I so easily forget this? God is after my heart and honestly that’s the hardest thing to give him. If I don’t have a passion to know him better, reading my bible isn’t going to bring me closer to him. So what do we do when we are lacking in our desire for God? Or when we notice he is slipping down our priority list?
Plead with God to restore in you a heart for him. It may not happen instantaneously but I can promise that it is something God will answer. You may even need to continue praying everyday until it does happen but when it does it will be beautiful.
The truth is these lists are dangerous and I don’t think we really realize what they’re doing to us. They’re either making us more self-righteous because we have amazing self-discipline and are able to meet (almost) all of the things on the list and we are then thinking that we are closer to God because of it. Or they are making us despair because we are realizing our shortcoming now more than ever. We might even fall into the trap of thinking if we aren’t doing these things then we can’t ever be closer to God. And I’m not saying don’t ever read the lists because they can give us great ideas on how to respond to God but be aware that they aren’t steps to getting closer to God.
We need to start with God first and go from there.