Keeping God at Arms Length


Have you ever felt like you didn’t want God to get too close to you?  Have you ever wanted to regulate how much of your life is about God? Maybe you were worried, if you let God all the way in, you would have to change. Maybe you worried you wouldn’t be able to “be yourself” anymore. I’ve been there.

I’m not sure what brought this to mind. I was thinking about my summers on staff at Mountain TOP. It is a summer mission opportunity for youth. There was one summer when I had badly injured my foot. I was on crutches and not giving my foot many opportunities to heal. My fellow staff members offered to lay hands on me and pray for my healing. Anxiety skyrocketed within me. I was suddenly very uncomfortable. I said they could pray for me but not lay hands on me. I’m not sure what I thought would happen. The only place I had seen a laying on of hands was on TV. It all seemed very hokey and weird. Simply it scared me.

Now, I think I was trying to keep God at arms length. I was intimidated by people who knew the Bible well. I felt like my faith wasn’t good enough and at the same time didn’t want their version of faith. If I embraced their version of faith, I would have to change. I would have to give up being “me.”  All of it was based on poor stereotypes of Christians and my misunderstandings of God and faith.

Thankfully God was patient and continued guiding me. He softened my heart and brought people into my life as mentors and guides in faith. Now I can look back and see all of the things God has changed in me. Interestingly, all the changes have brought me closer to the true “me.” I haven’t lost anything that was worth keeping. What I thought was going to bring sacrifice turned into blessings.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God workfor the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God, thank you for continually working in my life not only for your good purposes but mine too. Forgive me for not understanding the depth of your love for me and wanting to keep you at arms length. Forgive me for being afraid of what a full relationship with you would do to me. Thank you for your unending grace through my ignorance. Thank you for your patience. I can’t wait to see how much more we can do together.

If you are afraid of letting God get too close or you’re keeping Him at arms length because you are afraid He’s going to change you, He is. He loves you enough keep to pursuing you until you are safe and secure in His love. He relentlessly pursues everyone He loves and that means you. There have been leaps along that way that have made me uncomfortable but the landing has always been soft. Go ahead give it a try.

Has God changed you? Are you different today than a few years ago? Leave a comment and share how.

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