My favorite part of being at home is my large, peaceful backyard. I love to sit silently on my patio and soak in my Father’s creation. After the vibrant green of summer and the colorful palette of Fall, the ground is eventually filled with hundreds of dry leaves that have fallen from the prior seasons. In order for the grass to continue to grow a healthy green in the spring, the dry leaves must be cleared out.

This is exactly what God wants to do when we allow him to get rid of what no longer has a place in our lives from prior seasons. But he doesn’t just clear them, he makes room for something else to grow. When we come to him with questions or in despair, he doesn’t only want to respond and comfort us. He gives us peace so that the burden we previously carried is removed and no longer blocking what he wants to grow in our lives.

That moment of bringing our troubles to God and feeling a weight lift from our spirit, is a wonderful, priceless experience. The problem is that many times, once we feel lighter from receiving the emotional and spiritual relief we longed for, we decide that’s good enough. We engage in daily routine, focus on everything else that needs to get done, or on what is simply “more interesting” than prayer and devotion. Meanwhile, God is still waiting on your heart. If we’re honest, this relationship dynamic with God is strictly self-seeking.

When you truly desire God, when you truly desire his presence, the removal or lessening of your troubles is nowhere near enough. In fact, it’s only the beginning.

It’s an entrance to a whole new place with God without the disruptions and burdens that were there before. Now is the perfect time in which you can actually begin to experience him in a way like never before.

The primary goal of prayer is not to achieve personal satisfaction so that we can move on to something else. Prayer brings us closer to the heart of our creator. From this closeness, our desires align with his and our hearts become fuller than ever. 

If you’ve received what you’ve been asking for, praise God for what he’s done! Praise him, then keep on pressing into a closer relationship with him. Keep on going by diving in more deeply and craving him more strongly. It’s time to embrace his loving presence and spend each day seeking to hear his voice.

The Holy Spirit is not intended to be a band aid.

God didn’t place his spirit in us so that it could all just be about us. He gifted us with the Holy Spirit because he LOVES us so much that he gave us a guarantee that we can be in constant communion with Him if we so choose. When you truly desire a relationship with God to the deepest depths he has to offer, you don’t stop with a sense of satisfaction after receiving what you asked for. That is never enough. Be encouraged to not move on to other superficial priorities once the Holy Spirit brings you comfort. Use it as a jump start to many greater things to come in your relationship with him. 

As you find the peace that surpasses all understanding in his beautiful presence, as you receive forgiveness through his grace, and as you rejoice in answered prayers, embrace it knowing that the path has been cleared for you to experience the Father in a way you weren’t able to before when everything else was bringing you down.

If you took your heart to him and he met you exactly where you needed to be found, let this be a catapult for the rest of your journey as a follower of Jesus. 

God wants to bring you out of your prior season for NEW THINGS to grow. He doesn’t clear out the dead leaves in your life so that your land can remain dry and barren. He does it with the purpose of allowing his precious living water to permeate your spirit and bring you the clarity needed to keep moving toward your purpose. This, my friend, is a process that should never come to a stop.