It’s easy to be hard on yourself about spiritual things. You feel like you should be better, try harder, become perfect. But at the same time, you might also feel like you aren’t as close to God as you want to be and that you’ll never measure up.
When you get used to talking to yourself like this, you can easily become discouraged with your seeming lack of progress and your struggles to measure up.
But you’re doing better than you think you are.
There are little things that you can do – or might already be doing – that will bring you closer to God, especially when you feel like you don’t measure up or you need to be better. The fact is, you don’t need to do a lot of big things to come closer to God. You don’t need to be perfect for Him to accept you. On the contrary, He actually loves when you come to Him in your weakness and imperfection because He can help you more than anyone else can.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, or discouraged, here are some little things you can do to come closer to God so you can receive His help. Remember, little things can bring great things when we do them. And sometimes, little things are all you need.
6 Little Things That Bring You Closer to God
1. Wanting to Change
The power of desire is one that I think we often underestimate when it comes to our spiritual progress. Wanting something encourages us to seek and act. The desire alone can be enough to carry us forward and closer to God. As Elder Joaquin E. Costa said,
Nothing draws you closer to the Lord Jesus Christ than a desire to change.Elder Joaquin E. Costa, “To the Friends and Investigators of the Church,” 2017
Mere desire for change allows God to touch our hearts and help us. The desire for change means acknowledging our weaknesses and struggles, then looking for the progress we need. God is the Healer, the Teacher, and the Guide that our desire turns us to in the face of weakness.
Coming closer to God is literally as simple as desiring to come to Him. More comes later, but if all you can do right now is want to come closer to Him and want to change, that is enough to bring you closer to Him.
That doesn’t mean being perfect. In fact, you’ll never be perfect when you come to Christ. That’s why He asks us to follow Him and bring Him our “broken hearts and contrite spirits.” He knows we need Him in our lives if we even want to change, and so He makes it easy for us to come closer to Him. We just have to want it.
2. Taking One Step Forward
If you aren’t sure how to come closer to Christ right now, just look for a way to step forward in your life. This can be a big thing, but it can also be a small thing. For example, if you feel like you aren’t in the right place in your life, you can look for a new home or job. That would be a big way of taking a step forward. But you can also take a step forward with small things like choosing to put down your phone around your family more or go for a walk one morning.
Taking steps forward, or even just one step forward, forces you to do something with faith. It means not knowing what will happen but taking the step anyway and trusting that God will show you why you needed to take that step.
Take a few minutes to figure out what in your life feels stuck or what you might have been putting off that you know you need to change. Then decide what one step you need to take to make progress with that thing. If what you need to do seems too big, see if you can break it down to an even smaller step.
Most importantly, take the step. God will meet you in your step and give you strength and direction for continuing forward. Acting in faith, even with teeny-tiny steps, gives us a stronger relationship with our Father in Heaven.
3. Studying Differently
Scripture study always brings us closer to our God because the scriptures teach us about Him. But sometimes we might feel like we aren’t getting what we need out of our study. When this happens, we can make little changes to our study habits for a deeper and more meaningful scripture study.
For example, if you feel like you read and mark a lot, but aren’t getting a lot of insights as you do so, you can choose to mark less and journal more. Focusing on writing about what you learned can help you have more insights into the scriptures.
You could also try looking for a more specific topic, talking with a friend about the scriptures, listening to a podcast, and so many other things that are just simple adjustments. When you make little efforts to gain more from the scriptures, God will be able to teach and direct you more in your life.
4. Allowing Silence
Our world is loud and busy. We constantly have things to do, people to see, deadlines to meet, and noise playing in the background. With all of this going on, it can be hard to focus on and hear God. It’s no wonder we sometimes feel distant from God if we aren’t placing ourselves where we can hear Him.
So make time for silence. Give yourself a morning where you don’t listen to any music while you get ready for the day. Or drive to work without a podcast going. Take a walk outside and pay attention to the peace of nature around you. Schedule time away from other people so you can have silence. Try meditating for five minutes.
It doesn’t take a lot to find silence, but we do have to actively seek it. And it takes a few minutes for our minds to settle down to the lack of stimuli when we’re so used to nonstop input. But as our minds settle and start to turn to other things, we can find space to turn to God more fully. We can hear His voice in the silence and feel His love and goodness.
5. Praying Often
Praying often can go hand in hand with allowing silence, but it also takes silence a step further. Instead of simply sitting, listening, and pondering, prayer has us actively speaking to God. If you feel distant from Him and like you need His help, choosing to pray more can quickly change that.
If you want to pray more, try to find moments in your day that you can step away from things for even just a minute or two and speak with God. Ask for help, express your feelings, and seek a stronger relationship. If you really struggle with remembering during the day, set quiet alarms to help you remember to reach out to your Father in Heaven.
6. Remember Him
As disciples of Christ, we are directed to remember Him. But aside from being a commandment, remembering our God helps us come and stay close to Him. We can remember His ultimate sacrifice, the little ways He shows up in our lives, how we’ve felt His love. We can remember that we can turn to Him and that He loves us. We can remember that we are called to serve in His name and become like Him.
Remembering is a powerful tool for us. It helps us become humble. When we remember our God, we remember so many other things and we turn to Him more and more. That reliance is so necessary for us when we are weak, discouraged, or struggling.
And remembering is such a little, simple thing to do. Thinking of Him, setting reminders around our homes, talking with others about Him – all of these things are remembering Him. And you might already be doing some of these things.
Honestly, if you’re doing any of the things on this list already, you’re closer to God than you think you are. And continuing to do these little things will only take you closer to Him. So stick with it, try adding one of these little things into your life, and trust God. These little things will be so worth the effort.