Updated: Aug 30
I recently went kayaking on Deam's lake. I was on the water at 6:15 am. The fog was lifting and the sun was peaking through the trees. I was giddy. I just knew I was going to catch a big one. I made my way around the lake to the dead woods and behold I was greeted by a very large beaver that wasn't so happy to see me. He continually slapped his tail on the water. I thought I would mess with him a bit but quickly realized I was just in a kayak. The closer I approached him the more slap-happy he got. That beaver wanted me out of there and his way of communicating was slapping his long tail over and over again.
Life is about communication. It really is the key to everything in life, relationships, work, creation, and self. Without communication, we are simply breathing to survive. We all have a story based on our upbringing and relationships that inform us how to communicate. We communicate through body language, actions, sighs, facial expressions, and words. I remember when I first got married, communication was difficult because I didn't know how to express my needs, my anger, and my feelings in general, and listening was not a verb. When Jeanne and I got into a disagreement, my first thought (with feeling) was divorce. I finally expressed that wasn't what I wanted but it was my first thought and I thought it was my only option. Growing up, I witnessed the best way to handle disagreements was to cut people off and move on. It was through communicating this to her that we were able to address the issue at hand and also to start the ever-learning gift of communication.
I have been married for thirty-six years and have discovered many aspects of communication on this journey. I was unaware that I needed to express my needs, appreciation, dreams, fears, and hopes to my bride and just how hard that can be at times. We agreed early on that nothing was to remain a secret between us. We are one in the eyes of Christ - let's live as such! I am still learning and I am certain I have many more lessons to learn. Without deep communication with my spouse, to whom I committed my life before God and others, my existence is bland, unfulfilling, and very limited. This holds true in all my relationships, especially with God. We all work from the knowledge we have learned when it comes to communication.
All relationships have their ebb and flow and communication fosters understanding with each other through dry or fertile times. My bride and I have had a saying that always sparks immediate action between us. We can be in the same room with each other and one of us will say, "I feel a million miles away from you." That is the flare, the warning flag, the robot swinging his arms saying, 'Warning, Will Robinson, warning!' From this, we drop what we are doing and choose an action, a getaway, or date night immediately with the agenda being each other, open, truthful conversation, and listening. This is our code red in our marriage... we do not want to slip away from each other and work to maintain it at all costs. Communication is the key to our relationship with God.
I venture to say that each of us has our ebb and flow with God. There are times we feel a million miles away from Him, yet, He tells us He will never leave us. There are times when we are prevented from recognizing Him and there are other times our eyes are open to His presence in our lives (Luke 24). Regardless of what the relationship feels like, the key is verbalizing these feelings as an act of faith, when it comes to God. It is called prayer, but that is almost becoming a taboo word these days. I believe faith resides in my heart and my soul needs to be attached to it for substance otherwise I am keeping things very shallow in the relationship. This is what I love so much about the Psalms - raw communication from the writers to God about circumstances, feelings, fears, hopes, and praises. It is raw and real. It is this type of communication that creates intimacy with our God, spouse, and others.
When I fail to be honest with God about how I feel or my expression of concerns, I place a barrier in the relationship. There could be many reasons for this but the lack of vulnerability stiff-arms God by my words in a way keeping Him at a distance. God feels that barrier. There is really no hiding from Him even though we pretend He doesn't know or doesn't care. He doesn't march much further in the relationship with us without my barrier being addressed, released, and acknowledged because He does care, deeply. To remove a barrier I must become vulnerable, honest, and open with Him. Remember we are conversing with God, the all-knowing One.
We can leave our communication at bay and can go through the motions of faith and life saying quick prayers, like over dinner, or thoughts to myself as if they were prayers to God, or quick 'how do you do's' greeting one another before church as if everything is 'cool' between God and me. A veiled communication with God keeps the 'million miles away' feeling with Him well and alive. When we are desperate, we stop hiding. When His relationship is truly all I have it becomes easier to let loose all that is in within me. What do I have to lose? I can pretend I have a good relationship with God but deep down I know if it is authentic or not. What life is really about is my communication in my relationship with God, my spouse (if married), and indeed all areas of life.
Communication (prayer) takes intentionality, repetition, honesty, vulnerability, and listening, between God and myself. I am sure there are other aspects to good communication but to be known is to be known by another. That another is the One who created us first. Without communication, we are all alone. We were all created for community. When God says He wants to know us, He is inviting us to know Him. He already knows us, and we just get to discover Him now - relationship.
How is your relationship with God? Does it feel like a deep well or a shallow creek? We all have ebb and flow with our relationship with Him. If you need space to process your relationship with God and life, I would be honored to sit with you via Zoom or in person. A place where life and faith come together.