Recently, I've gone through a season where I felt "burnt out", for lack of a better term. I felt passionless about ministry, friends, future, etc. I felt like I had a lot of responsibility that I had loved, but now resented. 

I felt miserable, but couldn't put my finger on why. One day, I was listening to a song with a line that said, "He's going to come change your circumstances this morning". It was in that moment that I realized there wasn't a single circumstance I would ask God to change. There was no crippling pain or inconvenient situation in my life, yet I felt miserable.

Once I realized this, God spoke the words to me: the relationship is the reward.

He showed me that I had been fighting to have my circumstances and my feelings be good. I wanted to be good at ministry, good at friendships, good as a person. I was trying to spend time with God and grow my relationship with God to be better at ministry and life in general. 

But God shifted my perspective. He showed me that He is the reason for the relationship. Just Him. The other things that will come along in life are amazing, but they don't matter in comparison.

I had lost sight of just how good it is to be in relationship with God. I thought He was telling me to do things better in ministry, to think better thoughts, read my bible more, spend more quiet time - but it turns out He wanted to start with just us being together. Whatever that meant for me, He just wanted me. He did want me to get better at things, but He wanted it to happen in response to His love instead of to try to earn it. 

I realized that the relationship with Jesus is the end goal and it's always available, 100% of the time. There will be breakthroughs, breakdowns, pain, hardship, victories, but there will never be anything that matters more than knowing Jesus and nothing can keep me from Him. Where sin once separated me from this relationship, God came and defeated it so that I never have to be distant from Him again.

What I challenge you to try is to be alone with God today in any way that makes sense to you. I like to drive in my car and listen to music, some people like to go on walks, sit in their room, etc. Find your spot (it's okay if you aren't sure what it is yet, just try something!). Don't put pressure on yourself to have some huge revelation or moment. You wouldn't expect to have a deep conversation with your best friend every single time you're in a room together. The most intimate of friendships are the ones who allow each other to be themselves whether that's crying, laughing, dancing, sitting, etc. Start by just being with God without expectations and enjoy growing the relationship!

- Michele Houston