I’ll never forget that night. My wife (Alecia Sanfilippo) and I were driving home from church late on a Wednesday evening. We had just finished officially passing off the leadership role for our church’s young adult small group ministry. We had started that ministry together five years prior. It was finally time to pass it off to a new set of great leaders – We couldn’t have been happier! It felt like the end of an era for us both.
A few months after closing this chapter of our lives, I started realizing something about myself. I wasn’t growing anymore. At that time, I knew a lot had changed in my life, but that was no excuse to no longer be growing in God.
Unfortunately for me, I took no action.
Things continued to head in the wrong direction. Then, one day, I ‘woke up’ to what was going on in my life. I was distant from God. I didn’t like the person I was becoming. It was the most alone I had ever felt; clearly, something was missing. I knew that this “something” that needed to change was my relationship with God.
Over the next few weeks, I made changes to reconnect to God. Thankfully, He met me along the way. Things turned around – But what a scary season of life! (I summarized that very quickly by the way.) Today, I stand as someone who has made it through a season of life where I was a Christian who wasn’t close to God anymore.
In this post, I want to share what I did to reconnect and gain a new closeness with God. It’s become a frequently asked question in my life. So, I believe this will be very relevant!
Here are seven things that you can do when you’re a Christian but aren’t growing anymore:
1. Sacrifice something meaningful to you.
Another way to word this would be to remove what has you out of proper alignment with God. (Hello!) Is there something else that has taken His place as number one in your life? Sit down and really think about this. Even if you do not believe anything is taking God’s place as first in your life, it’s still a great practice to sacrifice something meaningful to you.
What do you love in your life? Is it a hobby? Maybe a TV show? Whatever it may be, try giving it up, even for a short time.
I sacrificed something big in my life recently. Music. That’s right, all secular music. I’m a music junky. I love almost every type of music. However, I needed to put it all away for some time aside from worship music. Why? I’m showing God that He is above my love for music.
2. Get out of your ordinary life rhythm.
We all have a standard flow/routine in our lives. There are certain things we always do, and places we always go to. I discovered how powerful getting out of your normal life rhythm can be.
Recently my wife went on a quick three day trip out of town with one of her close friends. Although I missed her; it causes something to happen, my normal life rhythm changed. Thursday was movie night with my wife. But I wasn’t going to watch a movie by myself. It was very refreshing being able to connect with God during a time that I usually wouldn’t.
Getting out of your normal life rhythm can include taking a sabbatical or rest. Stop what you’re doing, slow down, refresh. It can bring a fresh perspective and new energy into your life and relationship with God.
Related Post: Slowing Down to Explore The Benefits of Proper Rest
3. Give more finances and time (serving).
Ah, here we are; everyone’s favorite point. As much as many of us felt we’ve heard this point, it’s an important one. A life of giving is something that Jesus modeled for us all. He gave everything He had to us. We should be no different. Even if you’re not in a place that you’re financially well off, you can still use your time to serve those around you.
When I think about how to apply this to my life, I know that it means I need to seek out to mentor someone. Maybe that’s not for you, but you can get more involved at church or start giving to an organization that you admire. Believe me, when you take this third point seriously, you’ll begin seeing a significant change in your relationship with God.
4. Drop that bad habit.
Habits are a tough one. What are you still doing that you know you shouldn’t be doing? If you’re unsure, ask yourself this: “What I am doing that does NOT bring glory to God?” Also, think about what grieves the Holy Spirit within you.
In my life, there is always something that’s pulling me away from God that I can remove. Sometimes it’s something seemingly harmless, but deep down inside, I know, just like we all do, what is good for us and what is bad for us. What is your “thing” that you know is a habit that you need to remove? It’s time to make it happen!
5. Spend time with stronger Christian people.
Surround yourself with people of great faith. Translation: this means getting back into the church if you’re not active. It means spending less time with that group of friends that influences you in the wrong direction. (Preach!) You are who you hang with and where you spend your time says a lot about you.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, I have a background in small group leadership. I am passionate about church small groups, and I believe in the power of Christian community. Do not underestimate this point.
6. Ask God for something new.
Let’s face it, God is God, and we’re only human. We’re a lot smaller than He is; we have to remember that. When many of us begin slipping away from God, we start crying out, asking God for the way things used to be. However, here’s the deal; God is infinite. There are parts of Him and experiences with Him that we cannot fathom at this point. We need to ask God for something new, not something old.
The Bible talks about angels that are circling God’s throne room 24/7 for all of eternity. It sounds like it may get boring, right? It’s not boring because they are still seeing the newness of God. We want our lives to be an experience with God like this. Ask God for an entirely new experience with Him.
7. Reconnect to your life’s purpose.
Are you living a life of purpose or moving for the sake of motion? (Moving for the sake of motion means you’re living life as fast as you can.)
Related Post: The Top 3 Distractions That Can Defeat Your Purpose
A few weeks ago, I was driving. I was in a rush (for no reason probably), so I was looking for ways to get around traffic. I saw a potential shortcut to my right and a red light in front of me. So, I went for it! I had to cut through parking lots, a gas station, and use a side road. (I was proud) However, then I stopped at another traffic light, and guess who was in front of me? That’s right. It was the same car that was in front of me before I tried all of these crazy shortcuts! I would have arrived in the same amount of time if I had just exercised patience.
What I did was move for the sake of motion. Many of us do this with every day of our lives. We’re not actually living a life of purpose. We’re just rushing to get everything we want in life instead of realizing that sometimes God needs us to stop, be still, and move slower so He can continue His work in us.
The best way to get away from moving for the sake of motion and back into living a life of purpose is to rediscover or discover your ultimate why. Ask yourself the question “Why?” until you reach the deepest level of your core that you can. Here’s an example:
- I want to help people — “Why?”
- So, they can live better lives — “Why?”
- That way, the world can become a better place — “Why?”
Keep asking yourself “why” questions like these until you take it as far as you possibly can. Ultimately, you’re going to find that your answers are more profound than what you initially answer at the surface level. I love asking these “why” questions because they are going to bring us back to God.
When you aren’t growing anymore, it’s time to make a change.
I firmly believe that by applying these seven points, you’ll begin growing in God again. It certainly has been true in my life. I hope that these steps will also help take your relationship with God to the next level and into a new place with Him, full of fresh perspective!