You believe in God.
You go to church, say a few prayers throughout your day. You might even read a few passages of scripture or a daily devotional to help you study God’s word.
But your faith just feels…blah. If I asked you how your relationship with God was right now and you were truly being honest you might say things like tired, monotonous, boring, duty, stale, just showing up.
You feel like you are trying to grow in faith. Even in the midst of your busy life, you are intentionally setting aside time to read about God and you pray when things are difficult, but it seems like everyone around you is actually experiencing God while you struggle to even understand how that’s possible in the middle of our busy, hectic lives in this world full of pain.
You, my friend, need a faith refresh.
Our relationships with God are supposed to be alive and active. God is real and desires an intimate fellowship with us. We can live a life where we are actively hearing from God and responding to His guidance in every area of our lives.
So what do you do when you desire to reignite and refresh your faith but it feels like you’re already doing all the right things and not getting anywhere? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Get Quiet.
Here’s how my time with God usually works. I open up my Bible or current devotional study and start reading. I might underline a few key verses or thoughts, nod my head, and then close it up. I’ll say a prayer for my day and the various people in my life who I know are struggling. Then I cross “quiet time” off my to-do list and move on with my day. Pat myself on the back for being such a great and dedicated Christian.
Except there isn’t a whole lot of relationship built through reading a book and saying a few words into the air. I might learn something new. God certainly hears what I have to say. But have I really done anything to draw closer to Him? Not really.
Sometimes the first step in developing a stronger relationship with God is to simply be quiet. To be still. The reality is that God can’t speak if we don’t shut up. Step one is to regularly make time in your day to pause, turn off all the noise, set aside our phones and to do lists, close our mouths and open our ears and hearts. And then we listen to that small voice in our hearts.
You might not hear anything right away. You might not know if what you’re hearing is from God or your own racing thoughts, but the more you practice stillness, the more you hear. The more you hear, the more clearly you will be able to discern God’s voice from your head noise.
2. Have a Conversation Not a List Dump.
Dear God, I lift up Sally Mae to you, please help her through this hard time. I ask for your strength to help me through this situation today. Please bless Chrissy as she looks for her next opportunity. And help Bill to notice the error of his ways. And on and on and on we pray.
We don’t talk like this with anyone else. Even when we meet with our boss and ask for help in a situation. We don’t come with a list that we simply read off and then walk away.
A conversation might involve small talk, there are questions, there’s an opportunity for both parties to speak, there is actively listening, maybe more questions. There might be disagreement and shared points of view. Advice is given and received. Smiles and laughter, or maybe even tears. Sometimes we even take note of the important things discussed.
What if we approached our time with God in this same way. Instead of coming to Him with our lists of requests we open up our hearts to talk things out with Him. It will be awkward at first. It may feel like we’re talking to the air or ourselves. But when given a chance, God speaks through our intuition, that still small voice that only becomes clear when we slow down enough to listen. So start with sharing your heart to the God who already knows and cares more deeply than anyone on earth. And then pause, give Him the chance to respond and speak to you. Reply back and wait for Him to answer again.
This is how relationships are built. One (sometimes awkward) interaction and conversation at a time.
3. Meditate on Scripture instead of just reading it.
It has been my goal for a number of years to read through the entire Bible during the year. I’ve read it cover to cover, chronologically, New Testament and then the Old Testament, and more. There is nothing wrong with this practice and I think it’s certainly something that everyone should do at least once if not on a regular basis (not necessarily in a year or each year).
What I discovered this year is that my reading had just become a to-do list item for me. I wasn’t reading for understanding or wisdom. I wasn’t learning much of anything new. I wasn’t pondering or savoring or meditating. I didn’t give God a chance to show me things. I just read my five chapters, closed the book, and moved onto the next task.
If the Word of God doesn’t move you, you are missing the point. The Bible tells stories of a dead-for-three-days man coming back to life, of men walking on water, of a virgin woman giving birth, of everything being created out of nothing. God’s Word should leave us speechless, in awe, fascinated, grateful, and inspired to share this great news with our lost and dying world. That is the point of reading the Bible.
It’s not just to learn the stories. It’s not just to find little nuggets of truth or inspiration to get us through our day. It is not to simply teach us right from wrong. The Word of God is alive and active. The Word of God has the power to change us. It is all these things and more.
Which means sometimes we might read a few chapters to fully understand a story, other days we might stay and sit with one verse, or we might spend weeks at a time chewing over the details in one small passage. We might look up related verses, translated words, context and commentary information to truly dig deep and grasp the message behind the Scripture.
If you find yourself doing the same thing every day and not getting anywhere, change things up. Take the time and put in the effort to truly meditate on Scripture and allow it to change your life.
4. Find Community
Quiet times alone with God are incredibly important, but there is also great value in a community of believers. You may already show up to church on Sunday mornings. This is great. But sitting and listening to a sermon is only a tiny sliver of what being part of a community of believers is all about.
Jesus spoke and taught the masses, but He spent most of His time with small groups. He went to dinners and parties, he spent time with His disciples in their small group setting of 13. Sometimes He walked and spoke with just two or three.
Let’s use this as an example for ourselves. Go to church and listen to the sermons, but also find a small group that you can become a part of to dig a little deeper. Develop and nurture friendships with other women that allow you to talk openly about your faith, to hold each other accountable, to give space for questions and doubts, and to learn and grow from each other.
Community is not found in a church pew. It’s found in the middle of our real lives. Make sure that the people you surround yourself with on a regular basis are helping you to draw closer in your relationship with God.
5. Remember to worship.
I talked about how the Bible is filled with stories that should make us drop our jaws in wonder at God’s greatness. But it’s not just the Bible that shows evidence of God’s awesome power. We are literally surrounded by His goodness.
It is great to sing worship songs. It is lovely to speak words of thanksgiving to God in our prayers. But I think it is also important not to worry so much about coming up with the words to speak as it is to notice God’s goodness in the first place.
When you are driving to work in the morning and you see a gorgeous sunrise, do you pause and take notice? Do you give it enough thought to let it take your breath away?
Have you considered going out for a walk in these peak-of-fall days just to look and enjoy the gorgeous show that God gifts to us each and every new season?
When your children laugh with complete abandon showing their sheer and utter joy at life do you take notice and recognize how many incredible blessings God has poured into your life?
In order to truly worship God, to be thankful and admire Him for His greatness, we actually have to notice. We have to be inspired. We must give ourselves the chance to stand in awe.
Slow down. Notice. Then give the truest of thanks and worship. He really does deserve it.
Today’s Action Step to Help Refresh Your Faith
Find 5 minutes today to spend some real time with God. Take one of the points above and put it into action. Maybe you work on having a better conversation with God, maybe you go for a walk outside and just look around and give thanks, maybe you text a friend and schedule a time to meet for coffee and just talk about your questions and struggles in your faith.