Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
Ten Things to Do To Get Yourself Closer to God
I spend the morning doing the usual last minute things you do when you and your husband are on your way out of town for the week and your mom is coming to keep the kids alive. Well it’s not the kids you’re worried about. They’re now old enough so that, hypothetically, not too many things should go wrong.
It’s the dog. He’s a big baby. To be more specific: he’s yourbig baby. He is super attached to you. When you leave he refuses to eat and he pretends he has go out to relieve himself only to hide under the neighbor’s bush and refuse to come out until you come home.
So, yeah, it was a morning throwing out the old food from the refrigerator and doing last minute laundry folding and trying to shove that last jacket in case it rains into a too-full/too-small duffle bag. (I’m asking for a rolling carry-on for my birthday.)
And then the dog.
There was a lot of worry about the dog. Can my awesome father-in-law come and hang out with him until my mom comes? Will he take him for a walk to cheer him up? Can he give him a massage? Can I get the dog to understand what I say when I tell him I will, indeed, not be gone forever? Please eat. I will come back.
I love him.
But, now we are on the plane, and I can think straight, and I have been assured by my mom that the dog, really, is fine. So, I am finally writing what is on my heart to say to you. What is actually not lame but important:
You are the beloved. You are adored. You are worth fighting for.
Even if the opposite of this feels most real.
Even if you don’t know how to take the first step to believing this.
Even if you don’t know how to get close to God.
Last month (how did time go by so fast?) I promised I would share with you what practical things I do to fight for my own heart when God feels oh, so far away. It has been a season of hard things—and a season of blessing.
There is so much more to say. But for now, let’s start with a simple list.
Are you ready?
Ten Things To Do To Get Closer To God
We need to keep the eyes of our heart on God. His abundance. His presence. Right here. Right now. So, be bold—and, even if you don’t feel like it, praise Him for His goodness. Praise Him for His love. Name His attributes and look up verses that remind us of who He is. Speak them aloud. Write them down. Declare their truth over yourself.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge” (Psalm 91: 1-4).
“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts,
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139: 23-24).
Just say what is on your mind. Trust your heart. The Holy Spirit will guide you toward Him.
This is a prayer He loves to answer.
There are certain songs I turn to when I am lonely, when I am far away from my Father and I am desperate for Him to pull me close. They are songs that help my heart be receptive to the Holy Spirit. They usher Him in. They open up heart and mind and spirit to receive more of Him—more of all He has. Check out this playlist I pulled together, for you.
Get on your knees. Or stand up. Lie down. Or raise your hands. Dance. Or run. Walk. Or be still. Concentrate your whole self on thinking about who He is, how He loves you, how He is with you, how He never leaves.
What does He look like? What is He doing? What are you doing? Where are you with Him? How do you feel? Stay there as long as you can. Stay. Let him show you what it is He sees when He looks at you. Let Him love you. Let Him come.
Break the agreements you have made with the enemy about who you are, and who God is. Then you will hear Him and see Him and move with Him more easily. You can read more about this here. Go.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
The plane is about to land soon. And the whole time I am writing I am listening to this album on repeat. God is close, sisters. He is in us. We, the beloved. We, the ones who are loved.
Let’s fight for our own hearts now. He gives us the tools. He will guide us deeper into Him. We are not alone in this fight.
Father, let us step toward you now. Let us see You. Let us hear You. Remind us how we are Yours. Let us live this day believing You are right here.
Sister, what are your thoughts about this list? What would you add? What practical steps do you take to get yourself in the presence of God? I can’t wait to learn from you and hear.
Playlist for when I am stuck
“Here Now (Madness)” by Hillsong
“Inheritance” by Jonathan David Helser and Graham Cooke
. . .” by United Pursuit, featuring Andrea MarieSave
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com