How to Know if you are Truly Seeking God in your Life
How do you know if you are seeking God or merely seeking to fill the “God-shaped hole” in your heart with something less than Him?
They say the hallmark of a successful blog is market research and writing what people want to hear. While answering people’s questions is very important, saying only what they want to hear is less so. Sometimes we need to hear things that challenge us, motivate us, encourage us to strive for something greater, something outside our comfort zone. That’s why this blog isn’t all about what people “want to hear”. This blog is about sharing what people need to hear even if they don’t know they want it or even know they are missing it. It is about helping YOU fill the deep, yearning hole in your soul that you have been trying to fill with everything else for so long.
Are you truly seeking God?
There is only one question you need to ask yourself to find out if you are genuinely seeking God in your life:
Is finding God, and/or growing closer to God, more important to you than everything else in your life?– including your family, your friends, your job, your coworkers, your money, your comfort, your health and what you think will bring you happiness? (ie. Would you rather be on good terms with God or your parents, spouse, or boss? Would you rather seek God than earn money? Would you rather find God and live in poverty or live in comfort without Him?)
You must love the Lord your God will all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. (Matthew 22:37)
What stops us from seeking God?
Worries about losing family
Unfortunately, some people’s families of origin are highly prejudiced against Christianity, especially radical Christianity (You know, the kind that actually IMPACTS your life!). This is a valid worry. It is right that you should care about your family, what they think, and keeping family unity… but, if God is calling you to Himself, which He is, then He will work it out…
You might be surprised, either they won’t mind as much as you think they will, or, despite the initial reaction, your life will be a witness to them and may bring your family members to a new appreciation of the importance of God in their life as well. At the very least you will be a witness to them even if they try their best to ignore or shun you.
Worst case scenario, your family does actually shut you out for your life choice. The good news is that you will be “rewarded a hundredfold”(Matthew 19:29) for your choice and will still have a family – a spiritual one, but no less close; in fact, maybe even closer. Still need one more reason to choose God? People have left family for a lot worse reasons: military, “foolish” love choices, careers, etc.
What is your priority?
He who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves His son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:37-38)
Worries about losing friends
What will my friends think if all the sudden I care more about God than them? What will they think if I don’t have as much time any more for coffee dates because I need to spend time in prayer? What if I no longer go to a dozen mom’s groups, spend all day texting, or hang out at bars or clubs every weekend because I feel Him calling me to a more spiritual use of my time?
All valid concerns. They will all happen if you take “seeking God” seriously. You just have to decide if it is worth it to you.
This does NOT mean we will never have friends or that God doesn’t want us to interact with other people. It just means that your friendships will become less superficial and more intentional rather than a coping mechanism or a crutch.
This is because He wants you to value the friendship He is offering you. Do you believe that He wants to be your friend? Do you know what a friendship with Him can be like!?!?!
I promise you, He never takes anything away out of spite, but only to give you back something a million times greater. It may sound cliche, but He will give you Himself if you allow Him to, and that, my friend, will be the best and most fulfilling friendship you can have possibly ever experienced.
Worries about Him taking over your time
Also, a valid worry (because it will happen – it just won’t be as horrible as we envision). I get it… I’ve been there. I empathize in a VERY REAL way. In fact, I still to this day complain at Him for giving me more to do than is humanly possible in the time I have – sometimes crying, sometimes angry – and yet, somehow, it all gets done. (Read also, I don’t have time for this!)
We think we are too busy for God. We think we deserve a little R&R. What harm could there possibly in “vegging out” to a little entertainment every once in a while? But – and this is the key! – Christ said that He would give us rest (Matthew 11:28). (On the plus side, sometimes He does give us Netflix, but, typically it comes in the form of more Spiritual Consolations). He knows we “labor and are heavy burdened” (Matthew 11:28). He knows our need for R&R is real, thus, He WILL give it to us (even if it doesn’t look the same as you imagined).
Do you trust Him?
Worries about money or your job
Will spending less time, focus, or energy at the office in order to give more to God prevent me from getting promotions or being able to provide as much for my family? What if we are genuinely in a financial pinch? You know this is important. You even know it is irresponsible not to be concerned about it. But there is a point when concern starts to control you and debilitate you and make you feel trapped into doing things you don’t want to do for the wrong reasons. Really, it all comes back down to trust. Remember the Lilies of the Field – Matthew 6:28. God knows even more than we do how much supporting our families is important. Therefore, if He is asking something of you, you can know that He will still make sure you are taken care of.
Worries about losing your spouse or love relationship.
There are some relationships in which the spouses aren’t spiritually on the same page, or even desirous of being so. This is extremely difficult and painful, but still not a good reason to choose against seeking God above all else. Even in the worst case scenario where the other spouse leaves, you are still giving witness to them of the proper prioritization of life. It will most likely affect the level of peace and joy you have in your own heart and may help them to eventually come round to accepting, and potentially even embracing your position.
On the other hand, when both spouses are open to a relationship with God and seeking it, either separately or together, they naturally grow even closer to one another (as paradoxical as it may seem). You may have seen the popular triangular diagram of the spouses in right relationship to God… With God as the apex of the triangle, the spouses can only grow closer together as they grow closer to God. If you have never experienced this, you may have difficulty believing it, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Try it and see what happens!
Lastly, if a couple is still unmarried and are getting more serious in their relationship, they might need to ask themselves and each other if they are interested in seriously seeking a relationship with God, individually and together. If one of the parties is closed or uninterested, this should cause serious pause in the relationship. You may need to re-asses your priorities. Is seeking God what you want? Are you really willing to put Him above all else? Choosing Him might make the other partner realize the gravity of the issue and re-assess their own position on the subject…. either that or save you from the pain of a marriage locked in the struggle described first in this section.
The point is, seek first God and “all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
Worry in general
Worry suggests that you believe you are in charge of your happiness. It puts responsibility on you to make yourself happy. But, how do you know if what you think will make you happy actually will or not. Since you cannot see your own future, how can you know if you truly know best?
On the contrary, does it not make sense that the one who created you and knows you better than you know yourself and who can see all the potential paths of your future, who has no ulterior motives besides perfect and unconditional love, would not only want you to be happy but also know what would make you the most so?
The reason it is so hard to let go of worry is because we worry about GOOD THINGS!!! It is good to care about family, friends, your relationship, your income, and the way you use your time. Without a small amount of this healthy “worry” we might make really dumb decisions in our lives… However, too much worry can actually hold us back from going beyond our imagination into the world of happiness God has planned for us. A heavenly happiness that our finite minds cannot even begin to comprehend.
There is a line from a movie I have never been able to shake from my mind, even though I saw this movie at over 10 years ago. The more I think about it, the truer it gets:
What if what you think is great, really is great, but it’s not as great as something greater!?! – The Wedding Planner
Don’t let “good things” keep you from seeking God.
Why seek God?
How do you know He will make you happy if you allow Him to “rank” higher than your relentless pursuit of all the “good” things this world has to offer? How do you know He will take care of what you think is important?
Simple, He alone can fill you. He is literally your beginning and your end, the one who makes sense of everything and knows you better than you know yourself… not to mention He loves you more than any finite human being could ever possibly love you and, thereby, gives you purpose, meaning and value. Besides all this, He is the only one who can read your mind and know your soul, and He always has time for you. He never forgets and never has anything more pressing to do than be with you, to love you, to listen to you, to think of you and to hold you. He loves you, more than any parent has ever loved a child, therefore, if as parents we know how to take care of our children’s genuine needs and reasonable wants out of the love and generosity of our imperfect hearts, how much more can and will He do for us? (Matthew 7:11)
7 ways to seek God more closely
- Make a list of the things that you are afraid to let go of (answers to the first question)
- Explain to Him why they worry you or are important to you (journaling is very helpful here). Sometimes getting this out helps clear your mind to see more clearly.
- Ask Him which ones are truly worth worrying about and which are more superficial – genuinely
- Let Him respond to you – this may take time and some help practicing silence – He may respond to you in a variety of ways (For help, read also: Using a Prayer Journal to Listen to God, Listening to God in a World Full of Noise, Cultivating Interior and Exterior Silence)
- Entrust to Him one thing you are worried about that keeps you from seeking Him. Don’t be afraid to ask Him if He will take care of you and what you care about. You can ask Him also if you can trust Him with what matters to you.
- Change one aspect of your life to reflect that trust you gave in Step #5.. (Ie. if you found that your job or your relationship was keeping you from God: quit, break up, take a sabbatical, a hiatus. Do something to show God that He truly does matter and that all your talk wasn’t just that, talk.
- Repeat Steps 5-6 as many times as it takes for as long as it takes. Your life is like layers of an onion. You will find that you need to peel back many layers before reaching the core. This is a lifelong process, it won’t happen over night but with simple steps, it WILL happen!
Seeking God in the Gospels
Remember that the Rich, Young Man longed for more. The young man knew that he had been “good” his whole life (keeping the commandments, etc), but he also knew that something was missing. When he finally got to the heart of the matter:
Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:21-22)
Contrast this reaction with that of the apostles who dropped their nets, left their father in the boat and immediately followed after Him (Matthew 4:20).
Will you seek Him?
Who are you in this story? Are you the rich young man who wants to do more but when you realize what it costs, you walk away sad? Or, do you want a life filled with passion, zeal, purpose and fulfillment “in spite of dungeon, fire and sword”? A life of miracles that surpass the persecution, a peace that this world cannot give, and strength that can only come from following Christ?
What is one way the Lord is calling you to seek Him more sincerely today? How has seeking Him brought you more fulfillment/happiness in your life? Share below to help encourage others!
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