Get to Know God -Real Dude Spiritual Leadership

If Real dude spiritual leadership starts with getting to know God, then what does KNOWING look like?  I hesitate to give any sort of rules or a 3-step plan because I know (all too well) it’s far easier to check off a list than to pursue a relationship, so maybe the first tip simply is this:

1.    Throw Away the Rulebook

Religion is about rules, relationship is two-way engagement. 

Getting to know God is a lot like meeting a best friend or a spouse and the space between the initial spark and eternity.  One day you are alone and the next –a son or daughter of the King.  You have become the bride of Christ (not a super masculine metaphor here) but the point is –you enter into relationship and it is sacred and set apart and it is good.  

Getting to know God starts with a yes.  You ACCEPT his invitation.  You say giddy-up to a grand adventure.  It is jumping into a wild river and not knowing where it will take you.  Faith is your only rope to hold onto.  Grace is your life-preserver.

2.    Seek Him not Stalk Him

As a bookworm-y sort of gal, I determined to know everything about God.  So for the first ten years as a Christian I became what Bob Goff calls a Jesus Stalker.

I read through the entire bible six years in a row.  I attended two to three bible studies at a time.  I listened to preacher pod-casts (actually we called them tapes back in the day) and I memorized plenty of scripture.  I read every Christian book on the market –including the men’s section and the care section and even the exegetical section.  I had a prayer journal with pictures (I used Christmas cards and pasted them in –all pre-Pinterest).  I had a sermon journal and a reflection journal and a “I’m clearly the best Martha” journal.  I even enrolled in seminary.

I chuckle now at my incredible pursuit to learn about and SEEK Jesus –and then slightly vomit in my mouth when I think about how annoying I probably was.  I was a modern-day Pharisee in a mini-skirt running hard and fast on a spiritual treadmill trying to win the approval of God. 

3.    He’s Got Your Back

The problem with the spiritual treadmill is eventually you can’t keep running any more –usually when a monster storm of circumstances hit and you lose your footing and go flying through the air and land in a sorry heap (At least that’s what happened to me)

One day, Jesus determined I had enough head knowledge and he picked up my ordered little universe with highlighted chapters and sticky notes and chucked it against the wall. 

In this season I learned to DEPEND on Jesus and apply everything I had so earnestly learned into a real and working faith.  I learned to listen and not just ask, I learned to be still and rest in him and I learned freaking HUMILITY.  I grieved and wailed and groaned to my God until the tears ran dry and there I remained –somehow still standing before a Holy God.

And I learned he never left.

4.    Don’t be a Martyr (unless Jesus renames you Stephen)

Time marched on and then I married a pastor and we planted a church and like Isaiah I said, “Here I am God, use me.”  Only I forgot to set good boundaries and it came out more along the lines of “Here I am Church, abuse me.”

This was my entry into the Martyr season of my life, unfortunately I to had to crash and burn-out (again) before I listened to what God actually wanted me to do and not want I thought I should be doing.  I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t tell me to work outside the home and lead a women’s ministry and build a freelance writing career and raise three children and start a church all at the same time.

Only Satan could be such a masochist.

But the enemy of my soul didn’t have the last word.   Jesus picked me up –again- and gave me a lesson on boundaries and we started over.  Much of my journey has been trial and error, but certain activities do draw me closer to God.

5.    Spiritual Disciplines that ACTUALLY work

     a.    A life of Prayer

     b.    A life of Worship

     c.    Space to Reflect

     d.    Jesus with Skin On (friends who keep you accountable)

     e.    Occasional Fasting(from food, tech, muffins or anything you obsess on)

     f.     God’s Word

Here is what this looks like in my life…

 I do only what I am called to.  I say no more than yes, but when I say yes I am all in.  I mother, I write, I go to the park and swing in the sunshine, and I have time to love my husband.  I volunteer within my giftedness and serve when I see a need and where God opens a door. I lean into friendships. 

Life is much quieter now –more simple and yet far more abundant.  I pray constantly but it’s more like breathing and talking to my best friend instead of me picking verses and promises and expecting God to move in my time.  I journal when I want to probe my heart.  I read to grow deeper and I try to find solace and encouragement in the scriptures –not as a to-do list or a way to gain the approval of God.

Part of getting to know God was also getting to know myself and the depravity of my own heart. 

So when I reflect on getting to know God –I can only describe it as a long journey with a good friend who just so happens to be the creator of the universe. 

And the Real Dudes I see who are near to God seem to roll with the Big Guy too.

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Comments

  1. Sam – You have to get Tim into this conversation…

    Hey – got this from a friend of mine from Baltimore (Tim may know him as well).
    Thought it tied into your series on men…sorry dudes.

    http://www.dm.org/about-us/our-staff/kiefferd/newsletters/Kieffer_NL_2012_mar-april.pdf/at_download/file

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