Is Your Relationship with God Like Trying to Herd Cats?




Is Your Relationship with God Like Trying to Herd Cats?

The expression “That’s like trying to herd cats” paints a picture that always makes me laugh. It perfectly captures the idea of trying to manage competing priorities and thoughts, each scurrying off in its own direction. Cats in a group have no central focus. They are here one minute, and there the next. Is your relationship with God like trying to herd cats?

For example, your pastor who is preaching a series on praise, exhorts you to begin your quiet times with praise. Then you hear a TV evangelist state that you should read the Bible through in a year. And of course there is that book that you’re reading about the importance of confessing God’s Word each day. You know you need to do that, too!

Thank God for all those who instruct, correct and encourage us. But if we are not on guard all these important items on our “To Do” lists become like cats scurrying about. By focusing on doing, we can lose sight of The Great I AM. Our relationship with God is the source from which all other things must flow.

What is a relationship with God focused on God?

I like to think of my relationship with God as “being” before “doing.” There is an element of rest and relaxation that comes from being in His presence and trusting Him to be God.

In a season of busyness, have you ever experienced the joy of sitting down with one you love and enjoying their company? It’s a treat because the time of intimacy is a refuge from the pressing demands we face. You emerge with a sense of connectedness and further strengthening of the relationship.

I believe that our intimate encounters with God bring about what the apostle Paul prays for the church in Philippians 1:9: …our “love abounds more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (NIV).

But subtly and without our realizing it, we can drift into performing our spiritual “To Do” list as a way to earn love, avoid punishment or receive a benefit. And by doing so, we distance ourselves from the intimacy we were created to long for (Psalm 42:1).

What keeps us from pursuing a focused relationship with God?

There are many answers to this question but let’s look at three possibilities: feelings of unworthiness, impatience and lack of knowledge.

It’s common for people to feel the need to “clean themselves up” before coming into intimate contact with God. Even though they can never get quite clean enough. But, guess what. It was a Jesus-sized job to clean you up and He did it willingly! He shed His blood for your sins. In God’s eyes, you can’t get any cleaner than you are at this very moment.

Another reason people don’t pursue intimacy with God is their impatience with the process. God is complex and beyond our ability to understand. Yet He invites us to know Him. Focusing on God does not come with a formula that guarantees a specific result within a specific time frame. There are no short-cuts or crib sheets. It is your unique relationship with Him that you are called to.

Many people simply lack the knowledge that God is near, that He loves them and that He loves spending time with them. And that’s only a small portion of the Good News. Being in God’s presence and coming to love and know Him more is a position of limitless blessing.

There is nothing we can do for the Maker of the Universe, the One Who Has Done Everything For Us. There is nothing we can “do” to make Him love us more or less.

Are you saying we don’t have to do anything?

No. Placing intimacy with God as a priority doesn’t mean we don’t respond with some form of doing. Doing is a result of knowing Him, NOT the path to knowing Him. It’s just that the motivation behind all of our doing comes from knowing Him, fellowshipping with Him, and enjoying Him. Within the flow of such intimacy, doing is an outpouring of response to Him because it is grounded in Him.

How do I pursue a focused relationship with God?

The point of this topic is that there is no list of 5 things to do. Coming into deeper intimacy with God is between you and God. Be still and seek Him. Be patient. God doesn’t give you a set number of attempts to make a connection. He simply loves that you have come into His presence.

It is your relationship with God that empowers you throughout your time on earth and that you will take into eternity.

Don’t chase after spiritual “To Do” items like those scurrying cats. Instead focus your relationship with God on God. Allow Him to direct your “To Do” list. Cultivate intimacy with Him and watch your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you will know Him ever better.

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  1. What a word picture, herding cats!

    That is how it feels, for sure… recently I was reading an old journal – really old! And in the front page of the notebook I had written a daily schedule for myself… and it included ALL of the things Christians were supposed to do, and guess what?

    One I penciled in all those “should’s” there was no time left just to BE… Seriously, more than half my day was scheduled in one or more type of devotional activities, including prayer, Bible study, meditation, intercession, reading good devotionals, journaling, praise and worship, dance and tambourines…. plus study for teaching lessons and church attendance, 6-days a week!

    “Herding cats” is a good description of that type of zealousness.

    All of those things are good, but we each have to find and test our own rhythm, what works best for us… they all help us experience intimacy with God, but we don’t need to try so hard… like you said, it’s about enjoying an experience with someone we dearly love. You don’t have to work really, really hard to do that 🙂
    Susan McKenzie recently posted..Sharing a Painful Secret Can Relieve Some of the PainMy Profile

  2. I love your analogy of cats Olga! Finding focus in my relationship with God is a struggle for me sometimes. It is all about finding balance and making it a priority each day. Love your encouragement and motivation to keep me focused on what matters most!
    Sue Glashower recently posted..The Many Scents and Beauty of FallMy Profile

  3. Very well written and thought provoking!

  4. I’ve never heard of the phrase ‘herding cats’ before, but what a great description! I love the message here Olga. It is so easy to include God on our list of things to do, when He should actually be the focal point of everything that we do.
    Carolyn Hughes recently posted..The Freedom of Forgiveness.My Profile

  5. “Herding cats”…yes, I have heard that expression before…and I have seen images that depict that phrase and it is very funny. Focus is so important, though, and if your thoughts are scattered, there is no focus. Excellent post, Olga!
    Sherie recently posted..Relationship Tips. #5. Do Please and Thank You Factor in Your Relationships?My Profile

  6. Cultivate intimacy with Him and watch your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you will know Him ever better. This is my favorite part of this message, as I am “naturally” a to do list kind of person. Thank you for always saying something that speaks right to my heart.

  7. I have to say – I love the visualization I get of “herding cats”. Thanks for a wonderful article reminding me of the need for focus! When thoughts become scattered it can feel like a lot to do but focus allows it to actually happen 🙂
    Moira Hutchison recently posted..How to Master the Art of Self-TalkMy Profile

  8. “Like Trying to Herd Cats?”
    <3 it have two cats so this tickled me …
    & it helped bring your point home …
    Have a Safe & Fantabulous Trip …

  9. The “herding cats” quote is a new one on me too, but boy does it paint the picture for you. I got so much out of this blog as I always do when I read your posts. But I thought this sentence was so profound; “Doing is a result of knowing Him, NOT the path to knowing Him.”

    Thank you for this word from God.
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  10. What a great post Olga! Besides getting a giggle out of your great title, I especially loved this: “Doing is a result of knowing Him, NOT the path to knowing Him.” That is SO true!
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  11. Carrie Huskey says:

    I have a close intimate relationship with my God. He knows my every need. He loves me.I love Him.

  12. I love that saying “trying to herd cats”! My grandmother used that one a lot of us kids, and I haven’t heard it in years! Thanks for another wonderful post Olga!
    Helena Bowers recently posted..Does Your Content Have The RSVP Factor?My Profile

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