Changing with Change

 
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If anyone felt close to God, it was me. After an eight month mission trip, I woke up every day at 5 A.M. to attend a morning prayer service, then came home and read ten chapters of the Bible. Then, 2-3 months later, my last year of college began. I started working 32 hours a week and began serving as a worship leader at a new church. I suddenly had ten new responsibilities to take into account when planning my day. My schedule looked drastically different, as did my sleeping cycle.

At the time, (I believed) the key to my intimacy with God was in my morning prayer and daily ten chapters. I thought that was what God wanted and what pleased Him. So I tried to continue spending time with Him in the same way despite my new load, not wanting “to lose connection” with Him.

Needless to say, I was asleep more than I was awake. This was clearly no longer working. But because it worked in the last season I thought it had to in this one. I thought making all these activities fit into my new schedule was “holy.” I thought it to be discipline and what “revolving my day around God” looked like.

I forgot that discipline is intended to serve and foster my union with Him, a mere means to an end. Union with God, not discipline, is what orients my life around Him. Christ-centeredness is a posture of heart, not schedule. God just wants me present and connected, and whatever will allow me to be.

Change is Inevitable

If you’re human, you will experience some sort of external change. And usually, a change in one area of life will elicit change in another. For example, more hours at work may affect your friendships, growing older may affect your physical health and abilities, having kids may affect your time with your spouse, finishing school may affect your wake up time.

It’s inevitable. Which means we can never foresee it fast enough or prevent it. Yet what we can do is respond in such a way so that change doesn’t break us or get in the way of what’s important. And we do this by making adjustments ourselves.

Even in our walks with God, change will occur. In response, we must adapt. As circumstances in life (i.e. new job, no more job, finals week, new baby, etc) and the seasons of our faith (i.e. entering a desert season) change, the way that we do relationship with God will accordingly have to look different. Our changes must coincide with other changes so that one thing remains the same: Connection. Intimacy with God.

It may feel weird, maybe even scary, but it will be necessary.

Change is Necessary

Circumstantial and seasonal changes warrant relational change for the sake of the relationship. Our intimacy with Him is not founded upon the how’s, where’s or when’s of time spent with God, but upon the quality of the time spent together. Our friendship with God, like any other, is built by presence and commitment. The how’s, when’s or where’s are all for the purpose of enhancing the quality of that time.

David’s life was full of transitions, whether it was of circumstance, people or position. Yet, through it all, he stayed connected. Sometimes, his time with God looked like talking to Him while watching over and protecting sheep (1 Sam. 16:11, 19, 17:15, 34-37). Sometimes it sounded like crying and complaining to Him while fleeing and hiding in caves from his enemies (Psalm 55, 57, 59). Sometimes it was discussing with God about the next steps in battle (1 Sam. 23:1-13). And sometimes it looked like deep repentance for messing up (Psalm 51). Though the expression, time and location of his pursuit of connection constantly varied, it kept his union with God alive in the midst of the great, often turbulent, changes in his life.

Change is Good

Assess the season you are currently in and evaluate your time with God. Is what you’re doing allowing you to actually be present and connect with Him? Or is it out of habit, repeating what worked in the past? Is it serving your union with God or is it actually causing it to suffer?

Perhaps you’re in a dry desert season and the best you can do is to just show up for 20 minutes rather than the usual two hour Bible devotional you’ve always done. Maybe you just started a new job and the best thing would be to spend 15 good minutes in the car before (and not your usual 45 minutes at home) just sitting and talking to God. Or Maybe you have more free time than before and the usual two chapters are not cutting it. Maybe this season is calling you to 30 minutes instead of 15. Maybe go on a walk with Him (some easy activity you enjoy) every morning instead, or switch up locations to a place more inspiring.

God is our Father and Friend. His main priority is not the activity, time, location, or even our discipline. God’s desire is our presence and undivided attention. His highest aim, and ours, is union. Whatever will allow us to be present before Him. Whatever will allow us to enter that space and time to really show up, open up and connect with Him, that is what He wants.

Let us do that in this season.

 

Yuna Jeon (@yunasuriejeon) is the youth pastor of Burning Hearts Ministry at Korean United Presbyterian Church in San Diego. She received a B.A. in Religious Studies at Pepperdine University and is currently pursuing her M. Div. at Talbot School of Theology and lives in Fullerton, CA.

 
 
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