This challenge was my favorite so far. Who would have thought, dating God could truly be a reality. But, doing this made me feel so much closer to him. First of all, it started with me realizing that I had to strop putting my trust in any man and to just rely on him. I had been through so many relationship challenges and abuses in my life since I could ever remember feeling love from anyone. I decided that he would be my first and all in all. I realized that only his love could cover the hurts and the pains but also to hear his voice.
To make this challenge work, I had to ponder on what I would truly want from a relationship. I thought about the intimacy and closeness I longed to feel. The safety and security in showing and telling someone they were special to you and meant the world to you. This was actually very gratifying, tapping into my own wants and desires about love and trying to give it all to God. So, I thought I would talk to him and tell him I loved him every morning and every night before I went to sleep. I would write him a love letter, then write myself a love letter back. Also, I would tell how beautiful he was and call upon him as his powerful names.
Here are a few names that we can call him to know his true qualities:
Jehovah Rapha- You are my Healer, Jehovah Jireh- You are my Provider, Jehovah Shalom- You are my Peace, Jehovah Tsidkenu- You are my Righteousness, Jehovah Rapha- You are my Healer, Jehovah Shammah, You are there and very present in my life. Saying things like this helps us to feel close to him.
As I put things into motion, I could finally feel that he is standing here to forgive (pardon) me abundantly, as his word says in his word.
Isaiah 55:7. “Let the wicked forsake their ways and unrighteous thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
I started to to talk to God directly more often and say things like “You truly are the love of my life. Let me have your heart and mind to love others even when they haven’t changed and are still hurting me. Help me to forgive and come to repentance whether people ask for forgiveness to me or not.” Doing this helped me to experience a change of heart. I felt the deep scars of my heart start to be chipped away and to feel a deeper love again. As a result, it meant that no matter what someone did to me, I could put my heart at your throne and use the power of love God was instilling in me to still love and pardon.
Most importantly, freeing this space in my heart and mind allowed me to have room to forgive myself for the many mistakes I made that I was still feeling all of the consequences from. If God could forgive others and me, why couldn’t I forgive myself? It is all about who has the power. I had to concede that God was the only one seated on the throne of my heart. No seeking out any person to fill my life and make me feel secure. The amazing direct effects I saw of this challenge, was learning to be stable in the love of God. I saw it affect my marriage, my job and my relationships with family and friends. With my marriage, it didn’t matter what happened, good or bad, I could feel God’s presence surrounding me with love making it easier to show love. This is still a work in progress because I still struggle with forgiveness after having been through so much from my younger years to now.
At work, teaching has become so much easier because I released the burden of seeing all the problems and stress of the job without seeing the beauty. I start each day off with an attitude of praise after spending sometime worshiping God before work so that when I go in I look at it as more of another way of showing God’s love. After all I am blessed to have a husband and a job. Lastly, a big gain of all of this is empathy. When dealing with the issues and problems of daily life with my friends and other family members, I try to see them as whole people with their own concerns of life. How can I actually expect them to understand my point of view if I don’t even meet their needs or at least listen? So, start by knowing every story has two sides and love each person for who they are even when there are challenges. Remembering that most of all, God loves me and wants me to love others. I heard Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church say “We should be a river, that God can use to flow through” I want his love to flow through me.
Take sometime to “date” God and acknowledge him as the true love of your life. Ask him to help your to love with a true and easy flowing love so that you can be released from the burden of trying to deal with the problems of life alone. Great thing is he is faithful and will never leave you, he has a never ending love.
To help with follow up for this challenge there is a book I found after my challenge called, “God Dates” by Kristen Price. I will post a follow up article about the series of dates this book encourages to help you reflect and strengthen your relationship with God.