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It's all about relationship ...

Certainly, we are taught that relationships matter in sales and management training courses. But to a larger extent, relationships are what friendships, family, and marriage are all about. These relationships support us, sustain us, and bring us the love and joy of living.

Relationships are a gift, yet take some focus and work to maintain and grow them. If we don’t spend any time with our loved ones, if we don’t communicate and share our hearts with them, our relationships will not flourish and will likely deteriorate.

And so it is with our relationship with God. As a spiritual director, among many things, I help people recognize God’s love and participation in their everyday life and help them find ways to invest in that relationship.

First and foremost, spending time with God is critical. Time is the stuff that provides the space for relationship to grow. Yet so often, we give God the time that is left over in our day – the morning times after we have showered, dressed, eaten, lingered over our coffee - those last moments before we have to dash out the door to get where we need to be on time. Or those late-night times after we are exhausted from the day, too depleted to attend to anything else. How many of our friendships or marriages would still exist, let alone flourish, if "leftovers" were all we offered each other? Yes, it can be challenging to carve out some time when we are able to be truly present and attentive to God, but without it, our relationship will be difficult to maintain, let alone fulfilling.

Once I have made the time, there are as many ways to grow in relationship with God as there are people, since God’s relationship with each of us is unique. Here are a few of my favorites: + Reflecting on Scripture - learning more about who God is, what God believes is important, and how this will help me have a more fulfilling life + Reading a spiritual book – learning from others who have encountered God, whose experiences may inspire or inform how God seeks to be with me + Meditating in silence - clearing my mind from all that tries to make itself more important than spending time with God + Participating in the Sacraments – Mass and Reconciliation provide concrete opportunities to encounter Christ in the Eucharist, as well as experience God’s loving forgiveness + Listening to music – God often speaks to me through the lyrics of a song or the beauty of the harmonies + Sharing my concerns, hopes and everyday issues with God – It is a relationship growing act to open ourselves to another, to share our joys and sorrows, fears and triumphs. Check out my Reflection Cards as an aid to helping you do this. If you decide to invest your time to grow in relationship with God - first make the commitment to spend the time. Next, choose a way that seems enjoyable to you, because then you will actually look forward to doing it. Also, those things that are enjoyable to us are often an indication of how God uniquely created you and might be seeking you.

I’d love to hear your ideas for what helps you to grow in relationship with God. Please share your comments here so we can learn from one another.

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