Last Monday was a great day. It was sunny, I got to ride my bike to work, and when you breathed in through your nose, you could sense that spring had actually arrived. Of course, the next day was met with sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and a new bottle of Zyrtec, but hey, Monday was cool.
Spring often leaves me feeling rather nostalgic. Two years ago I wrote a post about how this season is a sort of mile marker for my faith. In it I talked about how, during my freshman year of college, I had finally come to see Jesus as a person – a person with whom I could have a relationship. What has changed since that post isn’t Jesus’ relational aspect, but rather my commitment to that relationship.
As I quickly found out after graduating last spring, my relationship with Jesus was much easier in college. It was much easier to get some daily reading in. It was much easier to meet up with some friends for church. And it was much easier to pray on a regular basis. I was only working two or three days a week and school had only taken up a couple hours of my time each day. With several Christian roommates and a lot of free time, it was much easier for me to dive into Scripture, or pray, or worship, or whatever else God led me to. Since I’ve been out, though, I’ve really had to work.
What I mean by that is, like most meaningful relationships, you really have to work at it to make it the best it could be. With Jesus, you really have to go out of your own way to meet with Him. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve only had a few moments where this actually happened. Monday and Tuesday of last week were really good, but ever since it’s been a strain. Praying with Jesus and actually focusing on what I was praying about and why has been difficult. Why? Because my responsibilities around the apartment, with my two jobs, and with my finances often interrupt my time with God. Not to say responsibilities are evil (though they often feel like it); but to say that in order for any relationship with God to be meaningful, to have an impact, He must be our primary focus. Everything else must fall in line after Him.
I say all this because I haven’t approached my day-to-day with Him as my focus. Sure, I’ve had plenty of days where He was, but I think I’ve had more days where He wasn’t. I try to blame it on work, chores, and whatever else I can, but the bottom line is there is a responsibility that comes with a relationship with God. And it’s one that I haven’t fought for.
As I’ve said, it was much easier in college to surround myself with Christian friends, Bible study groups, and fellowship. With work, however, I find very few Christian friends, little time for church or Bible studies, and hardly any time at all for fellowship outings. And honestly, it sucks. Sure, I love my coworkers, work can be fun, and nights alone are often needed. But as I’ve written about recently, fellowship with Jesus freaks is essential for one’s spiritual growth and, most importantly, with one’s own relationship with Him.
This spring, as I see it now, might bring fewer working hours and hopefully more time to invest in a church body. In the mean time, what I hope to focus on is my own time with God. It might mean getting up a little earlier every morning to read and pray. It might mean hanging out with my Christian friends even when I’m completely exhausted. And it might even mean accepting fewer hours of work each week. Relationships (with our friends, spouses, future spouses) require certain sacrifices. Why should we ever think that it’d be any different with God?
If success is defined by something beyond financial well-being, then why should we work so hard for it unnecessarily? Instead, perhaps we ought to use that energy toward an authentic relationship with God.