Well, today we’re going to wrap up the past few “I Am…” posts on attitudes for cultivating a personal relationship with Jesus by talking about one of the most necessary things for cultivating a relationship with Jesus, and that’s simply showing up. This is probably the most seemingly simple and easy thing you will ever hear. But it’s so true. To cultivate a personal relationship, you have to, well… be here.
It sounds so simple. In fact, even as I’m writing this, you’re probably thinking, “Wow Wes. Way to scratch the bottom of the barrel on this one.”
Maybe you’re right. But bear with me a minute.
Think about your life goals and aspirations, whether they are spiritual or not. Where would you like to be? Maybe the answer is something seemingly small, like losing 15-20 pounds or having the patience to save up to buy a new item that you’d really like. Maybe your life goals and aspirations are something bigger like making 2011 the year you get out of debt. Maybe you’re really reaching for something that seems really tough like making 2011 the year you get a rocky marriage back on track or repairing a relationship that’s been broken for years.
If you’re like me, you probably have some life goals that you’ve done really well with. You took action, you had a plan, and you actually achieved your goal. That’s a great feeling. But chances are that you also have some goals that you haven’t achieved. And probably a couple that you haven’t even come close to achieving.
Why is that? Well, chances are that we somehow thought our intentions would determine our destination. But that’s not the case, is it? Our intentions do not determine our destination in life. Our direction (the actual things we do) determines our destination. To give an example, I can want to lose weight all I want, but if I never start exercising and give up stuffing my face with Twinkies, I will never achieve my weight loss goal. I can want to get out of debt, but unless I actually change my direction by doing stuff like making a budget or by refusing to buy stuff that I can’t actually afford, it won’t really make a difference. My intentions don’t change my destination in life; my direction does.
It’s such a basic principle, but I think that each of us have areas in our lives where we don’t live in accordance with that. Cultivating a relationship with Jesus is no different. It won’t just magically happen because I want it to happen. It will only happen when I take concrete steps and actions that will help to make it happen. One of my goals for this year was to develop a stronger, more intimate relationship with God. However, while I want that, my behaviors haven’t really reflected that. I’m still just as erratic in my Bible reading habits. I’m still only giving a few minutes (tops!) to pray every day. If I’m honest, I haven’t really even come close to achieving my goal of having a more intimate relationship with God. And the reason is because my behaviors haven’t changed. God will certainly do his part working in my heart, mind, soul, and spirit. But I have to do my part and just show up. I need to put myself in places where that has the potential to happen.
Again, really simple, but a piece of wisdom that is an essential attitude in cultivating a relationship with Jesus. Not flashy, but true. Here’s to all of us not just being hopers and dreamers, but actually being doers!