When I first became a Christ-follower, and for many years before and some years after, I thought that following Jesus looked like this:
Beautiful but confined.
Well-formed, but constricted.
Rigid. Constrained. Pruned to the point of no self-expression.
I have come to learn that an authentic relationship with God looks much much MUCH more like this:
A little wild and expressive. Fragrant. Free.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
Blossoming in its time.
“Blessed is the one […]
whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3)
Free to grow, explore, expand, but also protected from being trampled, hemmed in by generous boundaries.
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:15)
And the body of Christ all working and living together? Oh! Now that is one beautiful garden, the contrast of blooming gifts intensifying the beauty. He came to give us an abundant LIFE!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
And it’s no surprise that God uses more garden imagery to describe a blessed man:
“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing
for the man who fears the Lord” (Psalm 128:3-4).
So if you’re feeling bent out of shape over what a relationship with God actually looks like… Or–more to the point–if you’re feeling bent into a particular non-you shape… Take heart! Because that is not God’s heart for you…
“I run in the path of your commandments,
for you have set my heart free” (Psalm 119:32).
He came to set your heart free!
So, what does an authentic relationship with God look like for you? Do tell!