Cultivating an Authentic Relationship with Jesus as a Young Adult
This might just be one of my most favorite blog posts yet and it’s because of the 5 incredible women who helped me write it! Lately I’ve felt really convicted to encourage others who are in similar stages of life that it is possible and so worth it to follow the Lord as a young adult and that there is such an abundance of joy available if we’ll just take His hand. Coming off of Easter weekend, we are reminded again and again that our Savior lives and because of what He did on the cross, we are set free! This is the most beautiful gift that we do not deserve, but that God will always keep chasing after us with, ready to freely give us His reckless love and grace.
I knew this post wasn’t something I could most effectively do on my own, so I reached out to some of my favorite Christian bloggers and friends I’ve made through this community and am absolutely honored to be able to share their responses to the following question with y’all: “What’s your best encouragement for someone wanting to pursue a relationship with Christ as a young adult + what does that look like in your life?” I was absolutely blown away and so moved by each of their answers and think they have so much wisdom + goodness to offer the world! I’ve linked each of their personal blogs with their responses so y’all can be sure to check them out. It’s my hope and prayer that this would encourage you + help spur on your relationship with Jesus!
“Wow. This is such a great question!!! After everything that I’ve been through — from being raised in church, to my dad choosing drugs over our family, to getting out of church, to searching for worldly things to satisfy me, to having Jesus meet me in my darkest place, and now, to having a personal relationship (for 3 years now) with the One who met me in that darkness, my advice to you would be to do it. Dive in head first. The journey that comes with having a relationship with Jesus is a beautiful thing. It’s full of questions, full of unknowns, full of transformation + change, full of His promises, full of overwhelming joy, full of freedom, & full of abundant grace + unconditional love. Honestly, for me, it was weird at first because as I was trying to establish this relationship with Jesus, I was also trying to hold on to certain things from my past that I didn’t need to hold on to anymore. But I finally realized that I needed to either be all in, or not in at all. I chose to be all in, and it was the best decision of my life. I was single for about a year and a few months, and in that season of life, I was solely focused on pursuing Jesus. As my vertical relationship was thriving, I stumbled into Charlie, and my generous Father blessed me with a horizontal relationship, that I had prayed for for so long. He sent me a Godly man that leads me to my Father constantly, a man that builds me up more and more every single day, a man that calls out the best in me - so, I tell you all of that to show you that our Heavenly Daddy blesses the desires of the hearts of those who seek first His Kingdom in everything. He craves your worship, and He longs for a relationship with you. He doesn’t want Heaven without you. Let Him love you, because He does. So much. Dive in head first, my friends. You won’t regret it.
“I have exciting news. Like really exciting, life changing news.
If you are wanting to pursue a relationship with Jesus— if you are tired of trying to navigate life on your own: He already took the first step.
Receive that. Allow that truth to set you free from any fear, doubt, or shame. I used to think I needed to “get myself together,” before I could pursue Christ. I thought I needed to go through the checklist and memorize verses before I would be worthy of His love. I thought the shame, guilt, and sin I was walking in disqualified me from freedom.
I had it all wrong. In fact, my mentality is what kept me at a distance from God. He wants to meet us where we are at, mess or no mess. Christ wants to set us free and carry us through our hills and valleys.
He doesn’t request that we come to Him when we have everything together, because that is not a weight we were created to bear. We were created with a hole in our heart only God can fill. He said, “I love you,” first and sent His only son to die for our sins. He knows we are imperfect; He knows our impure thoughts; He knows our darkest struggles—BUT He loves us anyways. It is a love so deep and perfect; we will never be able to comprehend it.
Thinking back to my first step towards Christ, I thought life was going to be a walk in the park, and it was a one-time decision to surrender my life to Him. Again, I had it all wrong. Every day I have to fight for my relationship with Jesus and disarm the enemy and ways of this world. Surrendering my life to Christ is a choice I have to make frequently, and I recognize how dark life becomes when I stop chasing after Jesus.
I want to end with this: a relationship with Jesus has nothing to do with our good works, achievements, or the amount of worship and verses we know. It has everything to do with recognizing we were not created to do life without Jesus, and we desperately need Him.”
“Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Especially as young adults, we have a lot things to do and a lot of responsibilities. Sitting down, reading our Bibles and praying can sometimes seem like the last thing we want to do. In a world with endless stimulation (our phones cough cough**), somehow, spending quality time with God in His Word can often get pushed to the back burner. As I’ve gotten older, I have realized just how much I need God’s word to penetrate and pierce my soul. There is no way for any one of us to fulfill our desire to be close to the Lord and do His will if we don’t read His Word. Even when we don’t feel like it, we must push through our fleeting emotions and acknowledge the power that God’s word holds.
Push past your feelings of dread or the thoughts that you “don’t have enough time.” The Lord will always meet you where you are, giving you what you need and something to praise Him for; even if that’s just reading for five minutes! The more we dig into the Word and ask the Lord for His guidance, the more it becomes a part of our lives. As Christians, we need the Word (which is God HIMSELF) to expose us as we are and refine us to who He wants us to be. So get into the Word with me, won’t you?”
“My encouragement to a young adult wanting to pursue a relationship with Jesus is to never, ever feel disqualified. I became a Christian around the age of 19, and truly began to wholeheartedly follow Jesus at 20. I remember feeling like I was “late” to the Jesus game. I battled feelings of discouragement and insecurity, feeling like I could never measure up to all my friends who had grown up Christian. At the time, I didn’t even know the basic stories of the Bible, the same ones that many of my friends had heard countless times before. I tried to hide the fact that there was a lot that I didn’t know, many sins I was still fighting, and questions that I still had. And because of all of this I would sit at church feeling like a fraud, as the people around me seemed to have it all figured out. I struggled believing the lie that my walk with Jesus would never be “enough” compared to others. In my mind, I was convinced that the longer you knew Jesus, the better you must be. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Jesus spoke life into my broken spirit through the parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20:1-6. Jesus tells a story about men working in a vineyard, and despite some laboring longer than others, in the end they all received the same reward. This parable taught me this –no matter how long or short we’ve been walking with the Lord, we all receive the same gift –eternal life in Jesus.
With all this said, your life is so precious to God. You are never too old to find Jesus. Don’t feel insecure or ashamed for not knowing, for still struggling, and for just beginning your walk. I promise you that you are not alone in the journey. All God needs is your absolute “yes” to change your life, the rest will all follow with time. All of our life stories are wildly different, and our personal paths to Jesus won’t all look the same. But that’s what makes it all the more special! Your story –no matter what it is – is valuable and oh so needed by God.
How I pursue Jesus in my life
My personal relationship with Jesus revolves around three things: the word, prayer, and community. I read my Bible every morning, not because I have to, but because I treasure my friendship with Jesus so much that it is my joy to. I pray over all the scripture I read, asking the Lord to impress His word upon my heart. I actively confess my shortcomings, and speak God’s truth over myself in its place.
Along with reading God’s word is prayer. There is so much power and authority in prayer! I noticed that in seasons when I’m praying more, my intimacy with Jesus is significantly stronger. Throughout the day I choose to pray to the Lord often. Whether it is in the morning while reading my Bible, or in my car on the way home from work -God’s presence is all around. Going along with that, I also enjoy listening to worship music. I’ve learned that intimacy with Jesus is a constant choice, and the more I direct my heart, mind, and soul towards Heaven, the greater I can hear His voice.”
“Go Deep, and stay there.
There is this idea in our mind about who God is and how we are suppose to pursue an intimate relationship. The idea is that, in order to have a strong relationship with the Lord we need to read our bible and pray everyday and go to church every sunday. When we think of it this way, it’s overwhelming and exhausting. We give it so much thought to the point where we don’t want to do it. At least for me that’s how I went from being on fire for the Lord to being in the driest season of my life. Dont get me wrong, I love praying (talking) to the Lord and I love reading my bible. Do I do it every single day? No. Is the Lord mad at me for not doing so? No.
However, when I allowed myself to overthink and over complicate my relationship with the Lord the enemy saw an open window to farther spread more lies about how horrible I was in not staying on point in reading my bible and praying.
Something that helped me a lot is that I shared my frustration with the Lord. The more I shared, the more I realized that my relationship can fun, goofy and adventure. I soon started sharing to the Lord without fear, had an open communication with my struggles and easily becomae one of my most honest relationships.. If you are confused about this idea, let me explain.
Do you have a best friend who you just miss all the time? That friend you send sweet messages to about how you love them and miss them. The type of friend that you would drive 6 hours one way and 6 hours back just to spend a little time with them. Well that’s how our relationship with the Lord is suppose to be.
When you are cleaning, cooking, driving, or in the middle of a crazy school and work schdule you can talk to him. You can invite him into your situations around you and ask him how to handle them. You don’t have to wait till you get home to pray, or open your bible for that answer. If you have surrendered your life to Jesus and have declared him Lord over your life then you have the gift of the Holy spirit in you. The Holy spirit guides and directs you in your day to day life. So yes you can talk to the Lord anytime of the day.
When I go to bed, I always have thoughts of the Lord speaking to me or guiding me or just simply spending time with me in my dreams. I have waken up many times where I am refreshed and ready to take the day because I had such sweet, life giving dreams with the Lord.
The Lord is the creator of the universe, the author and defender of your life. But at the same time, he is a father who wants a real, raw, relationship with you. He wants to be invited into your everyday struggles, thoughts, ideas and dreams. He does not want to be reserved just for sundays, prayers nights, or bible study night. He wants to be included in everything.
As you starting thinking about the Idea of the Lord wanting to truly be your bestfriend in your day to day life. The following a few steps that you can take to move towards that direction:
Invite the Lord into your life. In that complicated relationship with a friend, family or significant other. Invite him into your job, your workouts, and your “ me” time.
He wants to know you. He created you for his glory. He wants you!
It takes time for this idea to be a consistent thing to do in your life. So don’t quit if you forget to do it one day. Keep going, keep trying.
Worship the Lord. Put on your favorite song and sing, dance, or jump around with the Lord. He delights in your silly, wonderful, goofy personality.
He sees you. Yes you have probably heard of this before, but know that the Lord see you. When he created you, he was oh so intentional with you. Your eyes, nose, freckles, brown skin, long blonde hair. He knew what he was doing and he loved it. He loves you. Let him love you.
Breathe. Enjoy life sweet friend.
In the midst of figuring all things out, think about talking to someone who start this walk before you. Tell them how you feel, and how you just want them to keep you accountable in your relationship with the Lord. Beloved, there is beauty in living life with a community that consistently pushes you to the feet of Jesus. So seek one, in this life you were not meant to walk alone.
With hugs and the love of Jesus,
I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am for these women sharing their hearts and words of encouragement. Each of their snippets are full of so much truth and grace and I’m praying that it could inspire and give you hope that Jesus is reaching out for you and He loves you so deeply. I wanted to end this blog post with some lyrics from one of my favorite songs that has recently become my anthem and I think are so relevant to today’s blog topic. Check it out!
“So don't let your heart be troubled
Hold your head up high
Don't fear no evil
Fix your eyes on this one truth
God is madly in love with you
So take courage
Remember where our help comes from”
Good Grace by Hillsong United