Preparing for an Encounter with God

 

Dear God,

It has been way too long at this point.  After one year of having patience, remaining in faith, and staying the course, I’m ready for a breakthrough.  I’m ready to experience the light at the end of the tunnel and the blessing that I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been waiting with expectancy, and now I feel more ready than ever.  Show me Your Glory, God….

I could count on both hands and feet the number of times I’ve recited a prayer similar to this one. It eventually comes to the point of impatience because I’m ready for the next phase of my life.  Until recently, it had never occurred to me that I needed to actually prepare myself for the presence of God to show up.

Last month, my dad came down to visit me from Missouri.  Because he was staying with me for a few days, I wanted to make sure he felt right at home and also that he was pleased with my tidiness! I spent hours deep cleaning my place: I dusted, mopped for the first time in months, removed clutter, and even washed the draperies.  I was going for the look of a fresh, clean house. (Clearly, that is not the regular routine for me.) When he finally arrived, he looked around with a smile on his face.  It was then that I knew he was pleased with the presentation.

This same idea of cleaning up is the way we should think about preparing ourselves for a spiritual encounter. Yes, God meets us where we are.  He does.  But what about when He wants to move us to the next level, whether that be a new position, a new experience, or even a new phase in our life? Those are the times when He needs us to prepare ourselves.  He cannot and will not move us to the next phase when we’re still operating from old ways.

There are three ways to prepare ourselves for what God wants to do in our lives:

Get rid of any distractions. What things in your life are taking away from what you want to present? I’ve come to know that television is my distraction.  Television is the one thing that I engage with pointlessly just to pass time.  As a result, I’m not spending time being productive, such as with reading my Bible or praying. Wondering what your distractions are? Just ask yourself what (or even who)  is taking up most of your time throughout the day.

Purify yourself. This is the act of cleansing yourself of all the things that have caused you to be away from God. In simplest terms, repent and ask for forgiveness.  Because we come from a loving God, we can come to Him at any time to make a fresh start.

Change your ways. After doing the above, it is then time to begin new habits that will bring your focus to the heart of the Christian beliefs: Love God, love yourself, and love others.  Every now and then, I do an assessment of my actions and modes of thinking.  Am I doing things that honor the One I serve? If not, I work to get myself back aligned.  One of the clearest examples I can give is my inclination to complain about things I cannot control.  After doing a self-assessment, I recognized that complaining was becoming a regular occurrence, and if I spent more time being grateful instead, I would see a better outlook daily.

Let’s not take for granted that we have a responsibility in how we present ourselves to God. If we say that we are ready for the next thing, let’s honor Him by showing it.  As a result, your blessing may be right behind the door that God is waiting for you to open.

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Elana Cole is a writer, educator, and professional coach who is passionate about helping others in their personal journeys towards a more beautiful life. She is the author of "The Midnight Experience" and creator of Empowered Narrative, a blog about transforming the way you live and love.

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