Know God. Love God. Follow God?

It can be a serious struggle to make that jump, grow our relationship with God and follow Him wholeheartedly, and I can completely relate. I grew up knowing God and praying, but not following Him. When I reached adulthood and I started to allow Him to piece me back together and heal all the damage I had done to myself, He drew me closer...and I was scared to death!

I wasn't scared of God's condemnation or wrath, I knew He loved me and could sense His overwhelming grace. I was scared of who I would HAVE to become to truly follow Him and please Him. Would I be one of those 'weirdo's' that basically lived at the church, was totally sheltered from reality and had no other life? Would my friends and family all think I was crazy and trying to be something I'm not? Worst of all would I be asked to lose the things I loved most about myself and be required to be someone else completely? I knew I loved God, I knew He loved me, but was I strong enough, brave enough, to do whatever He lead me to do? Did I trust Him that much??

Luckily, He only ever asked (or asks) me to take one step at a time. I would take a step closer to Him with one part of my life and He would lovingly be supporting me and guiding me. Often He would use other people in my life, music, circumstances or His word to speak to me confirming in my heart I was on the right path. In the many instances fear would take grip, I wouldn't listen, or I'd stubbornly go the wrong way, He would always seem to have a way to bring me back. And the really cool thing was as I got closer to God, my perspective started to change, and so did my desires.

I no longer felt like it was weird to like being at church and spending time with God. It felt more like a gift to have other loving people...still normal people, not perfect or hypocritical people...going in the same direction I was. I didn't fear what other's thought anymore as I felt God's approval start to be more my focus. It is an amazing feeling to feel fully known, but still loved as intimately as God loves us. He loves us in spite of our fears and faults. He doesn't ask us to be perfect. he knows we're not capable of that. He just asks that we trust Him and take that first step towards Him. He'll do the rest.

It's ok to be afraid of change, but remember fear is the opposite of faith. Take that next step in faith and God will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:3-6 says:

Trust in the Lord and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the Lord,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,

your vindication like the noonday sun.

Whether God changes the circumstances to fit our desires or He changes our desires to fit His will, we will be given the desires of our heart. And I guarantee you either way, it feels pretty awesome.

Now I am part of a loving local church family that helps me continue to grow spiritually but also shows me how to come together and love and support others. My family and friends are all very supportive and respectful of my beliefs. My childhood sweetheart and husband has grown in his own faith and my children know God and have their own developing relationship with Him. They have been witness to the way He speaks to us and leads. Don't get me wrong, our lives are in no way perfect, but it is so powerful to be fully known and loved by God. It makes me strong enough to care less about others opinions and live authentically myself.

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