We've heard the phrase many times whether you're single or married and I doubt you'd find one person who would argue with the wisdom it brings. It is imperative that a couple continue to pursue after each other's hearts, it is essential that they constantly remind themselves of the love that birthed a marriage and grows with time, it is necessary that they never stop enjoying the romance of pure, deep, intimate, vulnerable, committed, self less, LOVE. The Lord told me about a month ago that I was stepping into a season that was out of my comfort zone. So far in more ways than one I'd say He understated how far out of my comfort zone I'd be. This blog falls in step, as have the last two that I've written. I'm going to take some time today and invite you into an intimate place of my relationship with God and pray that it blesses you. I know this is cliche' and yes this post will be as cheesy as the title implies. I don't know how else to say it.
I date Jesus.
I don't mean I have a quiet time. I mean, I date Him. How many of you know in a marriage you can be "married", be in love, and even be a good spouse, but not actually date your spouse. You can be saved, be serving the Lord, be in love with the Lord, even have a wonderful, encouraging, and inspirational relationship with the Lord, but that is not what I mean by "dating" Him.
While I was in college I started feeling this deeper need for "more". Not just more time in the prayer closet, not just more time in the Word, not just more time in worship, I was dating a guy at the time and I truly loved and enjoyed time with Him. We laughed and laughed, we did fun and spontaneous things, and I was constantly surprised by his outgoing personality. I found out that there was something missing from my intimate relationship with the Lord. I knew in my heart I never wanted to more look forward to time with a man, or a friend, or any human being than I did Jesus. I was longing for something creative with Him, something fun, so I began to date Him. I would write Him love letters, I would plan special days where we went and did things together (I'll talk more about this later), I would ask Him to do the same for me, I would make sure we were getting "face to face" time that wasn't just serious time in my room, on my knees.
How to date Jesus was a foreign concept to me, but I just knew deep in my heart it was necessary for the relationship that I wanted to grow and last beyond a life time. I'll stop here and say your relationship with the Lord is similar to a marriage in many ways. I can be head over heels in love with someone and even committed, but if we get in our routine of life and don't continue to pursue romance, things can feel stagnant. You may serve each other. You may still cook meals for each other, pay the bills, even have intimate times in the bed room together, and not feel "romanced".
As a Christian you may attend the church services, serve, maybe even be in full time ministry. You can even get up everyday and have "quiet time" where you read, pray, and worship, and still begin to feel stale. I've noticed that in the seasons of my life where I didn't make this a priority, that other aspects began to suffer.
Yesterday I was driving home from my Valentine's date with Jesus when He said, "It's time to share this". I don't know how, but I immediately knew what He meant and I'll be honest, I was far less than excited to do so. However, I think if maybe this will help someone deepen intimacy and fall a little more in love with Him then it is beyond worth it.
I'm sure the biggest question on your mind is, "How?". How do you date a Man/God who happens to not be in physical form at the moment. I know it sounds crazy, but I assure you that if you will give it a go, you will find it is not. In fact, perhaps you'll even find that many others do the same thing.
I of course hang out with Him more than once a year, but Valentines day is a day that is special for us every year. Even if I am in a relationship with someone, I make sure that I take a day to celebrate the love between me and my ultimate Lover. Along with Valentines day, I celebrate big on my spiritual birthday and a few other significant dates.
I'll walk you through some parts of our Valentines day to give you an idea and some options of what it practically looks like. First off, I turned off my phone. Then, I had an errand to run a little over an hour away, so I cleared out the schedule for the afternoon and headed that way. On the way I told Him I wanted it to be all about Him and how much I love Him. I just lavished words of praise on Him and then put on a few songs that just repeat over and over how grateful I am for Him, how much I love Him, how I could never live life without Him. For the hour drive it was all about Him knowing how special He is and how loved He is. He saved me eleven years ago and He's still my joy and my Love.
Then we went for a little walk, because that's one of my favorite things to do. The weather was perfect outside, so I just prepared for a nice long stroll. We walked and talked as I began to ask Him where to eat. Eating is always a fun thing and trust me, you always want to ask Him where. I can't tell you how many times I felt like He led me to a particular place and then someone comes up and offers to pay for it. Of course, most likely, if you're on a date with Jesus, He'll pay. LOL. I ordered lunch (I paid), and I sat down for a good hour and just read the Word and journaled. On Valentines day I like to journal about the things He's done for me, how He's saved me, how He's blessed me, how He continues to amaze me.
After lunch I felt like He was leading me to walk a particular directed and I ended up in a little cupcake place (I LOVE CUPCAKES LATELY), so I got a cupcake and headed out for another walk. On the drive home, I played songs that are "our songs". You know those songs you have with Jesus that just "get you every time", or the ones that have special memories and encounters linked to them.
You have to remember that having a relationship with Jesus, though vastly different from a relationship with others, is also very similar. You have memories with Him, you have a history, there are things He loves to do with you and He always seems to feel more present when you do those things, He loves to surprise you with His goodness. When I do days like this I always invite Him into every aspect and I'm always amazed how He shows up like a meal getting paid for, someone getting me a gift that day, seeing things that I love, His presence showing up on the walk, feeling the wind blow at just the right moment because I love the wind, etc. Allow Jesus to romance you and don't feel weird about it.
There is no exchange for the Word of God in your life or even just face to face time with Him in the prayer closet, however don't neglect to throw in some spontaneity, some adventure, some craziness! He is God the Father, He is King of Kings, He is Lord of Lords, Holy Spirit is Counselor and Helper, but Jesus is our bridegroom! He is the romancer of our heart! He is the Man/God who I am head over heels, deeply, in love with and I don't take that lightly. Once a man has put a ring on my finger doesn't mean I will ever stop chasing after His heart and longing to know Him deeper still. I will never stop enjoying being pursued and romanced. Give Jesus space to date you. Let Him romance your heart, He is good at it.
Just a few snap shots from things we did yesterday! Below you will find a very raw and vulnerable sermon that I gave at a conference in my hometown during one of the hardest seasons I'd been through. I was with many people I loved and adored, spiritual children, friends, and mentors, as I poured out my heart about life being "all about Jesus". It's a good reminder!