Unravelling a Relationship with Jesus

Ah the simplicity of flannel graph Jesus.

So I have a confession to make

I’m a pastor’s wife, a 27 year Christian, and I still don’t really understand what the phrase “Relationship with Jesus” truly means.

I know the part about modeling my life after him

I know the part about him saving me

I know the part about God loving us so much he sacrificed his only son, something I can’t ever fathom doing.

But the word, relationship keeps hanging me up.   We don’t have coffee face to face, we don’t text, we don’t do play dates.  I mean I know he’s there in all of those times but I don’t know the nuances of his face, his quirks or what makes him laugh.  I mean I don’t even know, what does he order at Starbucks?

There is something about questioning this phrase, that feels wrong, subversive or heretical.

I’ve been turning this question over like a rock in a tumbler over the weekend.  Trying to spin out the beauty and truth underneath the crusty phrase.

I may not be able to explain it for you, so I’ll tell you how I’m explaining it to myself

It’s one part rock star crush, the kind where you think you know someone personally even though you’ve never met face to face.

It’s one part meeting him in other people who show you who he is by modeling his way of doing things.

And It’s one part becoming him, acting him out the way my child models the actions of a chicken or a baby puppy.

These parts, the cumulative effect of all the small things sudden rush over you like a wave and realize that “relationship with Jesus” is confusing because the phrase itself cannot contain him.

He’s more than the New Testament Miracle Guy who died on a cross.

He’s the conductor of the creation symphony, the genius behind everything we touch.

He is the love I experience in my husband and children and the love I give away.

He is the one who takes my breath away in corporate worship, when I realize that I am standing in a room full of broken people who have a hope because of him.

He’s there when my son starts to echo my singing, “you can have all this world, give me Jesus.”  He is the song on a toddler’s lips.

Can you tell me, how could it be, any better than this?

Suddenly I get it, the word relationship is just a starter word, and perhaps even a hopeful prayer we can breathe over our person to person interactions.

Do you have a relationship with Jesus?  I’m starting to think I have more than that.

Have you gotten hung up on this phrase?  Did it make you feel naughty too?

  • Kate Hunicke-Smith

    Thank you for sharing this! I feel this too, and the feeling of failure that goes with it, like I’m missing something everyone else around me has figured out perfectly. I wonder if we aren’t all afraid to admit that we don’t have it all figured out. But Jesus is there anyway, even if we don’t quite get how, and He seems more real, if I think about it, for not being quite explainable. I really liked what you had to say on this, thank you!!!

    • bethinthecity

      Yes! I get hung up on this! I feel guilty, like I haven’t arrived. But then when I see you describing it I’m nodding my head. I have this. I can still grow – lots – but I have a relationship. And that makes me so happy. Thanks for sharing.

      • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

        Yeah I think the wisest of folks realize that there isn’t an arrival right? It’s a journey and always another step, and that’s okay, there is peace in realize that there is no “there”

        • http://www.facebook.com/deannapiercy Deanna West Piercy

          This might sound heretical but I’m not convinced the whole notion of even *having* a “relationship” with Jesus is biblical. But my thoughts on the subject are more complex than can be expressed in a blog comment.

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      absolutely, if he doesn’t fit in a box how can he fit into our constrains of relationship?