Barriers to Spiritual Intimacy
As we begin a new year, we all make some sort of list of goals or even resolutions. And TBH, there’s nothing wrong with that. I, myself, have some things I am resolving to do/be this year: be more assertive, be focused on building, be a better leader, have greater balance, and work hard so I can enjoy my life. I also have some goals: develop at least 20 more prophets, help my spiritual sons/daughters launch out into their own ministries, make $X, and create a new business/stream of revenue. Again, there is nothing wrong with goals. But have you considered your spiritual goals?
One of my biggest spiritual goals is to remain in a constant state of worship. As much as that may sound strange considering I’m a prophet, I sometimes struggle with worship. While flying back from Punta Cana, I began to ask God what was wrong with me. I mean…I love God with everything within me, but I can’t always get into a good, vulnerable space for worship. Two things came of this conversation: 1) God made it clear to me that worship was more than listening to music and singing; and, 2) A lot of people suffer with blockage when it comes to true worship.
the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.
After looking up this definition, I realized that I don’t actually wrestle with the act of worship; I battle with the formalities of what we consider to be worship. But, if worship is just my own expression of adoration to God, then I do that all the time - 2018 was the year that changed everything in that arena. The trials that I faced taught me to be open and vulnerable with God, making me comfortable to share with Him and allowing Him to just be. With my revelation of my own change in my intimacy with God, it made me consider why others may struggle as well. Let me share some barriers to intimacy.
Whew! Yep, I came in swinging. So often, we blame God for so many things versus just being accountable for what we’ve done. It’s really easy to blame God for our struggles when we don’t want to just own up to what we have done that’s put us there. “Now, I’m broke because I paid my tithes.” No, you’re broke because you’re a poor money manager (yikes). “God is putting me through all of this and I’m still not married.” No, you aren’t married because God told you to study being a wife and you won’t crack your bible open to read anything except Psalm 91. We have to stop accusing God and start being accountable. Own your flaws - He already knows.
Proverbs 19:3 AMP puts it like this: “The foolishness of man undermines his way [ruining whatever he undertakes]; Then his heart is resentful and rages against the Lord [for, being a fool, he blames the Lord instead of himself].” Don’t be a fool.
Lack of Sharing
This was the area I struggled with most until last year. I always had a problem keeping it 100 with God. Like…I knew He knew, but if I had negative feelings, I did everything possible to not tell Him. I learned that it’s just best to keep our conversations transparent with God. Share your highs, your lows and your in-betweens. If you are struggling with this, ask yourself why you aren’t sharing the deep things with Him.
A familiar passage of scripture is found in John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Keyword: TRUTH!
Unresponsiveness/Lack of Obedience
*sigh* I used to say this all the time: “If God told you to take out the trash, why are you washing the dishes?” Too often, we think that God just isn’t responding to us when in all actuality, He’s probably just waiting on us to do what He actually told us to do. Too often God gives an instruction and we stay saying, “I’m waiting on God to______…”. Nah, sis. God is usually waiting on us to obey the instruction that He already gave us. If you think of life as a flight of stairs and we start at the bottom, the goal is obviously to get to the top (*cues track* started from the bottom, now we here). The problem is that we want to get to the top without climbing each step one by one. God may show you the landing, but He wants you to obey the first thing so you can climb step one. God isn’t ignoring you; He’s waiting on you to obey.
Obedience is kind of a big deal to God. I mean Ephesians 5:6 NIV is clear: “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Welp.
Lack of Trust
We’ve all been there. We do the work. We obey the Lord. We go on a 3-day no food or water fast. We pray on the 8 watches for 80 days. And NOTHING. HAPPENS. It can be beyond frustrating when you receive a prophecy or God shows you a thing and it doesn’t happen how/when He said it would. In the natural, when someone doesn’t do something that they say they are going to do, it causes us to doubt anything that they say. If your man says he’s going to make your Valentine’s Day special and then he totally forgets the day even exists, it will make you lose your faith in his words. Same thing with God. Honestly, a lot of people don’t trust Him. And real rap, the reason is because they can’t do Him like a genie. God is not some demon in a lamp who you can summon for favors when you want them. Nope. God not “coming through” for you when/how you think He should can’t shift our feelings concerning our relationship with Him. Over my 31 years, I have learned that God doesn’t always do things the way we think He should because…*drum roll*…He knows best!
A scripture that has really helped me in times where it was challenging to trust God is Psalm 25:1-3 NIV: “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.” I mean…facts.
On the flip side of things, have you ever felt like you messed up and couldn’t be close to God? Or have you ever thought that you were unworthy of a relationship with Him because of a circumstance in your life? That’s a huge barrier to our intimacy with God. Guilt is when you feel bad about something you’ve done. Shame is when you feel bad about something done to you. For example, you may feel guilty for fornicating, but feel shameful because you were molested. Neither of them are things that should be inhibitors to our relationship with God.
When it comes to the things we have done that separate us from God, 1 John 1:9 KJV says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When John was on the Isle of Patmos, he revealed what he saw concerning the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:4 KJV : “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Guilt and shame are eradicated when we bring our burdens to God.
*deep sigh* No one wants to hear this, but sometimes we just be selfish (yes…”we just be”). Some people can get through the blame, lack of sharing, lack of trust, guilt, etc. and actually get to the place of intimacy…and blow it. I hate to use this metaphor, but here it is (plus I’m about to roll out “a thing” for marriage-prep anyway). Metaphor: If your intimacy with your spouse is always based on what you want/need, you will have a very unhappy partner. Intimacy has to be a shared experience. IN THE SAME WAY…God wants to share in intimacy with you. He wants you to talk to Him and adore Him but He will also talk back to you. You can’t go into your time with Him on some “me, me, me!” You have to desire to share with Him in a way that is pleasing to Him as well.
Here’s something you won’t like: technically it’s classified as pride. When we engage in intimacy with God from a selfish point of view, we are basically coming to Him as equals versus as His children. In order for us to operate in a selfless manner we must be in the spirit. Romans 8:5 KJV says, ”For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.“
Knowing that you may be facing a barrier to your intimacy with God, what can you do? I’m glad you asked.
Do you deal with challenges in this area? Need more advice or help? Contact me or leave a comment below. I’d love to share more with you on how I have overcome some of these same problems myself.