I’ve had far too many conversations with people who are standing outside of grace. It makes me sad to hear their stories. They say they do not hear from God. They tell me that God does not seem close to them. They do not believe He is concerned about their circumstances or is active in their lives.

I’ve developed a theory around this and I invite you to test me on it. I think when we feel disconnected from God, it is because we have unintentionally constructed barriers to receiving His grace. We are unable or unwilling to let Him love us. We struggle to accept that the sacrifice He made through Jesus on the cross is personal to us.

These barriers can be put into two categories. The first is sin. When we continually participate in behavior that is counter to what God desires, we cannot feel close to Him. We all sin. We all mess up. We all need His forgiveness. When we find ourselves in that place, we must acknowledge and confess our wrong. Without that, we will continue to feel distant from Him because we have not received what he offers us – love and grace.

The second category is stuff. Our stuff. The lies we believe about ourselves, the unforgiveness we harbor, and the fear that we respond to get all tangled up. It stands in the way of receiving the life-giving grace that frees us. As we focus on intimately knowing Him, we become less concerned with the world. Instead, our life will sing the song He writes for us because we deeply understand both our need for Him and His faithfulness to us.

Perhaps you are in a place where God seems distant. I encourage you to be in prayer around this. Can you spend time talking to Him about where you have fallen short, where you feel you’re not worthy of grace, and where you are struggling to see His presence in your life?

It took me a long time to understand that I don’t need to pretty things up for God. I don’t need to pray like poetry. I don’t need to exhibit false humility. I don’t need to be anything other than exactly who I am. It is when I am willing to bring to Him my aching, vulnerable heart that I most deeply feel the outpouring of grace I so desperately need. Peace.