A friend and her husband recently joined a new group at their church for couples who are seeking to deepen their relationship with one another and with God.
The monthly meetings include a meal, Scripture, prayer and sharing.
My friend told me she and her husband want to pray together every day and are hoping the support of this group will help them to deepen their faith individually and as a couple.
As I listened to her talk about this group and what she and her husband hope to gain, the phrase I desire popped into my mind.
I think that many people can live on the surface of their spiritual lives, perhaps attending Sunday Church services, maybe saying grace at meal times—but not giving much attention to God the rest of the week.
I know I can fall into that trap. I can get caught up in the details of work and daily life—and fail to step back to notice where God is trying to connect with me. I can shift my focus from God to my routines—and lose sight of what really matters in life. Busyness can keep me occupied and distracted from tuning in to God.
And then I remember the words of St. Augustine: “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
Or a Scripture reading or words of some wise person pop into my mind, and I know God is nudging me to shift my focus and inviting me to live from a deeper place.
Jesus tells us that a relationship with God can be quite demanding. Stories of narrow gates (Matthew 7:13) and not looking back once we have decided to follow Jesus (Luke 9:62) practically dare us to take a step closer. And then there is taking up our cross daily (Luke 9:23) and the actual cross of Jesus.
A relationship with God can be a daunting challenge. And yet…
If, as St. Augustine said, God made us for God, it is only natural that we continue to turn and return to God time and again.
Every year, Lent extends the invitation to step back from my daily life, look at where I am in my relationship with God and realign my priorities. Lent is an ideal time to recall that I am dependent on God and that my true self—my best self—is attentive to God throughout the day.
I desire to be in right relationship with God and to be open to new opportunities to grow in that relationship.
I believe that God desires to be in relationship with me, to change my heart, heal my brokenness and make me whole. God desires that I open my heart so that my attitudes and actions can be more loving, forgiving and accepting.
My friend reminded me of my desire to be more attuned to God—and of God’s desire for me to be more attentive to what I desire.