What If All He Really Wants Is a Relationship?

I got this email the other day and loved it. This comes from Connie, and I’ve posted some of her thoughts before as she struggles through the transition of thinking religiously to thinking relationally. I like the humor and honesty in her words and journey. The subject of the email was “Amused and Annoyed.” I love what this unpacks:

I hope all is going well for you. I catch your podcast now and again and it sounds like you’re havin’ fun and experiencing God.

I had a funny thing happen the other day I thought you’d get a kick out of hearing. I’m in the middle of a mid-life crisis right now. Yeah, I’m only 33 but that is how it feels. I’m having to make a career decision and am very much torn as to which career path to choose.

I finally got away to talk with God about what He would like me to do (or so I thought). Though I knew both choices were good, one of them must be better. After my long-winded explanation, of which I know He already knew, I sat and silently waited for Him to tell me what to choose. Do you think He told me?

Our conversations always begin with Him telling me how much He loves me, to which I roll my eyes and ask Him to get on with it already. So then He tells me that I will change lives and bring His Kingdom into both situations. Anything I do, even beyond my two scenarios, will be good. He just wants to be right with me, enjoying me, while I live my life. (annoying huh?) So then He turns the question around and asks, “So Connie, what is it that you want to do with your life?”

That’s when my crisis began! What do I want to do? Me? He was supposed to tell me what to do, not hand my free-will over to me! Ha! I’ve never in my life stopped and asked what I want to do with my life. Somehow within all the church-going years I’ve adopted the concept that once I am a Christian I can no longer have any goals or life-dreams. God now owns me and whatever He wants of me I’ll do. I must detach all personal identity, be void of opinions and desires and for sure not use my brain!

I guess for years when I read Paul describes himself as a bond-slave of the Lord, I half-way believe that Paul did not want to do what he was doing, but was somehow forced because…well… you just can’t argue with God. Now I’m realizing, it’s not that Paul’s in chains (not literally obviously), but that he’s so in love with the Father, he can’t help but share in whatever situation he is in. It’s a relationship of love. God could actually care less (so to speak) what I “do” as long as He gets to be with me. ‘Cause when He’s with me and I remain in Him, we can affect change at the grocery store even! What a striking contrast to the Master and Servant role I began with, eh? Funny also how so much of me (that Pharisee is strong in there) would very, very much like Him to tell me the answer. Err, unfortunately for my good-girl, box-thinking nature, God is not about dolling out a list of demands.

So now I have to look in the mirror and figure this out. Gosh I’d much rather the non-relational, controlling method sometimes! That method, however, does not enhance relationship, which is most likely what He’s all about!

Anyway, I’m 30% annoyed and 70% amused. He’s a funny guy, that God!

Yes, there are times God has a specific will for our lives and by embracing it we die a bit to our selfish nature and find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of something we never thought we would have wanted. And some times God just indicates he can go either way here. And as far as a vocational choice, “What do you want to do with your life?” sounds like a great question.

Someone pointed out to me a year or so ago the incredible joy God must have had in letting Adam name the animals. God had created them but he wanted humanity to name them. How cool is that? God would call them whatever Adam called them. He didn’t have some secret name for each animal that Adam had to figure out over hours of prayer and agonizing. He just began to give them names and that’s what they were.

Following Jesus is not meant to be an arduous chore. Sometimes he has a specific thing for us to do and let’s us know that. At other times we get to wander in a pretty wide space with him, because he is all about the relationship and the joy of knowing you and watch you come free in his reality, not trying to squeeze you into some box that makes you miserable. And he knows that when you find freedom in the relationship, you’ll be the best reflection of him in the world no matter where you are or what you’re doing!

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16 Comments
  1. Charles Graham August 14, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Yeah, that sounds like Papa. He let’s us do the choosing and goes with us. That’s the great part of it. I used to strain at trying to hear God concerning things, but not anymore. “It is for freedom that we have been set free….”

    My understanding of a Bond-servant is a servant who loves his master so much. that if given his freedom, he would choose to stay and serve his master. It’s a love relationship.

    Anyway, a great post.

    Charles

  2. Charles Graham August 14, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Yeah, that sounds like Papa. He let’s us do the choosing and goes with us. That’s the great part of it. I used to strain at trying to hear God concerning things, but not anymore. “It is for freedom that we have been set free….”

    My understanding of a Bond-servant is a servant who loves his master so much. that if given his freedom, he would choose to stay and serve his master. It’s a love relationship.

    Anyway, a great post.

    Charles

  3. Mike Childress August 14, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    That was a great e-mail from Connie. I think it sums up how we all feel sometimes. I used to think I wanted a neon sign with a blazing arrow saying, “Mike, go this way!”

    If you are of a mind, pray for our fellowship. We started a Bible Conference tonight, that will last for three days, hopefully we will introduce some people to the difference between relationship and religiosity.

    In Christ,

    Mike

  4. Mike Childress August 15, 2009 at 12:59 am

    That was a great e-mail from Connie. I think it sums up how we all feel sometimes. I used to think I wanted a neon sign with a blazing arrow saying, “Mike, go this way!”

    If you are of a mind, pray for our fellowship. We started a Bible Conference tonight, that will last for three days, hopefully we will introduce some people to the difference between relationship and religiosity.

    In Christ,

    Mike

  5. Bill Ooms August 15, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    What a great email from Connie! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Bill

  6. Bill Ooms August 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    What a great email from Connie! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Bill

  7. Darwin Ken August 15, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Yes, great email!

    But I reckon the fun for God wasn’t so much in watching Adam name the animals (after all, that’s just a job) as in watching him figure out that all the created beings except man had two sexes; and then waiting excitedly for Adam to return after finishing the naming and ask God for help. That’s relationship.

    Ken

  8. Darwin Ken August 15, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Yes, great email!

    But I reckon the fun for God wasn’t so much in watching Adam name the animals (after all, that’s just a job) as in watching him figure out that all the created beings except man had two sexes; and then waiting excitedly for Adam to return after finishing the naming and ask God for help. That’s relationship.

    Ken

  9. Amanda G. August 19, 2009 at 6:57 am

    My husband and I have been thinking along these lines throughout our marriage when it comes to discerning God’s will. I think we’re in that place right now. We’re trying to determine what to do about finding fellowship in this rural town we just moved to (where tradition is god). I’m glad I read this today. This will definitely spark more discussion between the two of us.

    And, might I say, that I first heard you speak at Believer’s Church in Tulsa at the end of June, and I was so moved by the truth of your message. I found your book at the Wal-Mart here in town (unintentionally, I might add), and I knew I was supposed to read it. I finished it last week, and praise Him, I am learning to dwell in His love. I’m more fully aware of it now than I ever have been. Thank you for loving Him and letting Him love you! It is beautiful to see Him using your relationship to reach others. I’m recommending _He Loves Me!_ to everyone.

  10. Amanda G. August 19, 2009 at 9:57 am

    My husband and I have been thinking along these lines throughout our marriage when it comes to discerning God’s will. I think we’re in that place right now. We’re trying to determine what to do about finding fellowship in this rural town we just moved to (where tradition is god). I’m glad I read this today. This will definitely spark more discussion between the two of us.

    And, might I say, that I first heard you speak at Believer’s Church in Tulsa at the end of June, and I was so moved by the truth of your message. I found your book at the Wal-Mart here in town (unintentionally, I might add), and I knew I was supposed to read it. I finished it last week, and praise Him, I am learning to dwell in His love. I’m more fully aware of it now than I ever have been. Thank you for loving Him and letting Him love you! It is beautiful to see Him using your relationship to reach others. I’m recommending _He Loves Me!_ to everyone.

  11. mark b. August 19, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Thanks Connie (good writer) and Wayne (I suppose you can write too; LOL),

    Concerning the two choices where each seem good, and neither seems wrong… with no confirmation from the Spirit, nor any closed doors yet…

    I’ve enjoyed a song for years now that’s help me rest in the Father’s love for me; esp. when faced with such decisions (which seem so important):
    It’s written by Hokus Pick Manouver, and they refer to themselves as brothers-with-diff.-mothers!
    The song is called “Two Answers”, and their main point is, “My hope is in You, I must keep believing. The decision I make, is where You are leading.”

    Simple trust, eh? Even if we make a decision (w/out knowing for sure, if it’s the “right” one), and then the door closes (ie. we get laid off, etc.) afterward. Who are we to beat ourselves up (or judge as the world does) that we didn’t choose otherwise… or blame God for not making our road smooth.

    To reiterate someone, “The prayer God always answers” is safest and provides the only true rest: “Father, what ever I find myself doing (in word or deed), please use me as your vessel/instrument to Glorify/Manifest You! Amen.” May it be so. There’s no greater purpose or usefulness… or fullfillment. What most of us refuse (most of the time) to accept is: that might involve the fellowship of His sufferings!

    When our strength is truly only the Joy of the Lord… then we are truly strong (in Him and His Love… I know, the same). That is success like the world and Satan can not understand.
    Jesus – “My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives…”
    Peace, MDB

  12. mark b. August 19, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Thanks Connie (good writer) and Wayne (I suppose you can write too; LOL),

    Concerning the two choices where each seem good, and neither seems wrong… with no confirmation from the Spirit, nor any closed doors yet…

    I’ve enjoyed a song for years now that’s help me rest in the Father’s love for me; esp. when faced with such decisions (which seem so important):
    It’s written by Hokus Pick Manouver, and they refer to themselves as brothers-with-diff.-mothers!
    The song is called “Two Answers”, and their main point is, “My hope is in You, I must keep believing. The decision I make, is where You are leading.”

    Simple trust, eh? Even if we make a decision (w/out knowing for sure, if it’s the “right” one), and then the door closes (ie. we get laid off, etc.) afterward. Who are we to beat ourselves up (or judge as the world does) that we didn’t choose otherwise… or blame God for not making our road smooth.

    To reiterate someone, “The prayer God always answers” is safest and provides the only true rest: “Father, what ever I find myself doing (in word or deed), please use me as your vessel/instrument to Glorify/Manifest You! Amen.” May it be so. There’s no greater purpose or usefulness… or fullfillment. What most of us refuse (most of the time) to accept is: that might involve the fellowship of His sufferings!

    When our strength is truly only the Joy of the Lord… then we are truly strong (in Him and His Love… I know, the same). That is success like the world and Satan can not understand.
    Jesus – “My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives…”
    Peace, MDB

  13. todd August 20, 2009 at 6:25 am

    just loved it!!!

    thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. todd August 20, 2009 at 9:25 am

    just loved it!!!

    thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. kristie August 21, 2009 at 2:25 am

    i sure love hearing examples of this in others lives. i sure remember the day jesus asked me the same question… “kristie, what do you want to do in your life?” it absolutely puzzled me, jesus just wanted me to know that he is involved in every detail of me, and that includes him giving me this life, to choose and walk it out closely with him. beautiful, how we are allowed to shared this life with the creator free from feeling like we aren’t in his plan just because we are living in our desires for him. in that, we will discover what it means to fully live, just live it, keep it real, and trust that he will be here even in the times i don’t feel good enough for him to want to be close to me. bullarky, he always wants to be close.

  16. kristie August 21, 2009 at 5:25 am

    i sure love hearing examples of this in others lives. i sure remember the day jesus asked me the same question… “kristie, what do you want to do in your life?” it absolutely puzzled me, jesus just wanted me to know that he is involved in every detail of me, and that includes him giving me this life, to choose and walk it out closely with him. beautiful, how we are allowed to shared this life with the creator free from feeling like we aren’t in his plan just because we are living in our desires for him. in that, we will discover what it means to fully live, just live it, keep it real, and trust that he will be here even in the times i don’t feel good enough for him to want to be close to me. bullarky, he always wants to be close.

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