This is a question I asked myself many years ago. Unfortunately, I did not grow up in the Church; therefore, my knowledge was pretty limited when it came to God. What I did know, I had learned by watching the movie, “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Granted, I believed in God, because I was told there was a God; yet, I didn’t know God like I know Him now. When I raised my kids, I had wanted to do better when it came to teaching my children about God and yet I too was unsuccessful. I allowed life to get in my way and I deeply regret that now.
In my later years though, it has become my mission to share what I have learned with others and to be the example for my children. My oldest once asked, “Why do you believe so much now, Mom? You never raised us that way.” Well, it’s never too late! We are all children of God and our mission is to love on each other just as God loves on us. Sharing how God has touched our lives helps others recognize Him in their lives. Isn’t that a blessing in itself?
I’m no Saint, and I’m not perfect and yet God still loves me. God has forgiven all of my sins and He continually shows up for me. I’ve learned the more I talk to Him and the closer I get to Him, the more I recognize Him in my life. If you’ve been following me, you know I had a heart attack in 2016 where God gave me a second chance at life and it’s been my goal ever since to be even more vulnerable in my sharing. Below is a Chapter from my book, “Break Down Your Walls: Be the Person God Created You to Be…Be a Better You!” where I try and explain how I became closer to God.
Ask, Believe, Receive
Have you asked yourself, “How does one grow closer to God?” The simple truth is by trusting, obeying, and believing. Trust that He knows what is best for us, and that He wants the best for us. Obey His word, taking that next step even when you can’t see that step. Believe with your heart and soul that you have received His blessing, even if it has not arrived yet—for you know it is on its way.
You may think, “If God is all-knowing, why do I have to ask? He should already know what I need.” While God is all-knowing, He still wants us to go to Him and ask. Those three words, “go to Him,” are the most important words to remember. If we don’t pray to God, if we don’t praise Him, seek Him, believe in Him, and trust in His word, then we will always want more. We will never be happy with what we have. He will continue to redirect us, and give us signs that He is there for us, but when we are closed to recognizing those signs, life will just pass us by. We will be okay, but we can live a much better life, an abundant life, when we are tuned into God at all times, and can recognize His Will for us in the grand scheme of life. So, ask God for what you want. Don’t be afraid to pray big, bold prayers, either. Let Him know your wildest dreams. You may think it is extraordinary, but God can do extraordinary things.
Take a few moments here and think about your wildest dream. What is it you want out of life? Now pray that big bold prayer, and let God know what dream is buried deep in your heart.
The biggest key ingredient is to “believe.” You gave your prayer to God, and only He can do the impossible. Now it’s up to you to believe that what you ask for is on its way. This is the hardest thing of all to do, because how can we believe in something we cannot see or control? This is where your belief in God comes in. You either believe, or you don’t. When you believe, it’s something you just know. It’s something you feel inside. It’s peace, it’s love, it’s everything. Believe with all that you are, and don’t give up on that dream.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
Just as it is written in The Bible, we have to lean not on our understanding; we have no choice but to trust in the Lord. Part of trusting is to believe. Our understanding is not the same as God’s all-knowing sovereignty. He knew everything we were going to face in this life before we were even conceived. He knew every wrong road we were going to take before we took it. He knows the plan He has for us, and it will not happen until He feels the time is right. Therefore, we have to have faith, and believe that even during the storms life throws our way, we will get through, and in the end we will be stronger for it. Even when we take the wrong turn, God is there to lead us down the right path again. It may be a detour, but eventually we will get there, and we will have endured what we thought we couldn’t.
God wants the best for all of us. God doesn’t want the best just for you, He wants the best for everyone. That’s why it is important for us to understand that what we may be asking for might not come in our timing, or in the manner in which we expected. This is when our belief is tested and we must hold onto that belief and trust in Him. Even though it did not happen when we thought it would, we still have to believe that it will happen. Then, just maybe, it will be better than we ever expected, and that may be why it took longer. Then again, maybe it wasn’t in our best interest, and God knew, because He is the all-knowing. He knows the long-term results, He knows the implications, He knows those that will be hurt as a result, and again, He wants the best for everyone.
Think of it this way: Your child wants to eat all his or her Halloween candy in one sitting. We want our children to be happy, but are we going to let them eat all of that candy, knowing they will get sick? Of course not. The same concept applies for God. We have to trust that He has our best interests at heart, and if we’re meant to have what we’re asking for, we will receive. If it isn’t meant to be, then He has a pretty good reason for it. Do you remember when you were young, and your parents said, “Because I said so!”? Do you remember how frustrated that you made you feel? Maybe it even made you angry, and you stomped off to your room, hating them at the time. Well, God understands that, too. When we are faced with trials and tribulations, and feel like He is not answering our prayers, it’s our natural reaction to feel rejected, and even unloved by God, because He didn’t do what we wanted Him to do. He knows how you feel, but that’s when He is testing your faith. He is making you stronger. He is teaching you endurance. He can’t fix everything, because it is not for the good of everyone. Will He stop loving us because we are mad at Him? Of course not! Did you stop loving your children because they stomped off to their bedroom? Of course not! Eventually, your children will get over it, and someday realize that you said no for their own good. And one day, they will overindulge in something and realize, oh, yeah, that’s why I couldn’t eat all that candy at once. You, too, will come to realize, after you’ve had time to think, do some self-reflection, and re-evaluation, why God didn’t answer your prayer. And, when you do, God will be right there waiting for you. He never went anywhere; He was just waiting for you to grab His hand.
Not long ago, my husband and I were looking for some property, and daydreaming with some friends about buying land next to each other for retirement, and investment. I’d sent a pretty bold prayer request to God. I’ve heard you should ask for what you really want, and that only God can move mountains to bring your dream to a reality, and that he wants us to prosper. So, I thought, why not? It was a pipe dream, but, hey, God is God, right? I went on with my weekend, investigating our pipe dream.
When we came home, I ran across this verse in Deuteronomy 8:18, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth . . .” I was speechless. Such timing. He always seems to be talking to me, and the messages are so clear. Well, our pipe dream will have to wait awhile, because God brought us to the conclusion that it was not a wise decision based on the financial hardship it would put us in. Instead, God led us down the path of refinancing our home at a better interest rate for a shorter term. He also led us to investigating ways to practically become debt free in a much shorter timeframe than we had imagined, which will allow us the ability to afford our dream retirement home when the right time does come. In God’s time, not ours.
Keep that in mind the next time you don’t get what you want. Keep the faith, and be grateful for what you do have. Most of all; be thankful for the opportunities to grow that God gives you, so that you can become stronger and endure life’s challenges a little easier. Once you master the art of believing, then, and only then, will you have peace in your heart, knowing that God’s will is the best for everyone. That is enough for me, because believing is what will give us never-ending life, and for me, that is the ultimate gift. Until you can come to terms with remaining in faith, and believe in His will, try to remain positive, seek the word of God, and pray even when you have doubt. One day we will all understand His reasoning, and until then, all we can do is believe.
God wants us all to prosper and have an abundant life. He has plans for us all. In The Bible, wealth means having abundance, and as the scripture says, “He gives us the power to get wealth.” Through Him, we are given creative ideas, and sent down a path toward our dream, but we have to do our part as well and take the steps toward that dream. We can’t sit back and wait for God to knock on our door; we have to walk forward, even when the road is foggy. With God by our side and faith in our hearts, we will walk into the sunshine every day. The road map is yours. Enjoy your journey.