distance #1: personal space can be too expensive

distanceI learned alot about personal space when I took at train ride in China for a few days.  In short, Americans get REALLY hung up on this idea – especially compared to my thoroughly lovable Asian friends (big hugs!). 

This whole space & distance thing can really trip me up – most of my closest friends don’t live in Denver which has been an interesting thing for me to consider.  In the last month or so, God has really been speaking to me about this idea of distance – most specifically in the ways I keep Him at a distance.  So I’ve been on a bit of a journey with Him to explore some of the ways I keep Him at arms length, discovering the great expense to myself.  Here’s something to think about:  in Luke 7:2-10, a centurion sent some Jewish leaders to ask Jesus to come & heal his servant.  When Jesus got close to the centurion’s house, the centurion sent his friends out to Jesus & told Him not to come any further but he still believed that Jesus could heal his servant.  His servant got healed, but the distance the centurion kept was extremely expensive. 

So, I’d be totally interested to know your thoughts about distance.  🙂

Answer me these questions three: 

  1. how do you keep God at a distance?
  2. why do you keep Him at a distance?
  3. how does it work for you when you keep Him at a distance?


Stephen Tafoya

I’m kind of confused, and maybe you can fill in with some info (background or otherwise) to clarify, but to me, the Centurion, though not physically close to Jesus, seemed the closest to Him in certain ways. The reason I say this is cause this is one of the times Jesus exhibited the emotion of surprise and marveled at the Centurion’s faith and understanding of what He did. It’s kind of like the way you say you have some of the closest friends at heart but are far away from physically. So, when you say, “but the distance the centurion kept was extremely expensive”, do you mean he could have had more had Jesus actually came into the house physically or his faith would have been more had He invited Jesus in? I’m just curious, cause it kind of intrigues me where you are going with this. This is definitely a relevant topic since this is something we should, as Christians, be constantly conscious of, or conscious of enough that we do something about it to draw nearer to God. Kind of reminds me of what Kate wrote about from the Celebrate Recovery lesson about finding the root to sin and dealing with it.

So, here’s my response to this (when I do do this):

1. I keep God at a distance by excluding Him from my day, not praying and reading my Bible early on in the day (and that’s where the downhill spiral starts).

2. I keep Him at distance because of my own vices that are habitual and/or ones I don’t want to deal with (ie. pride, personal convictions, laziness, etc.)

3. I don’t think it works well to keep Him at a distance. I understand how the Centurion wanted to keep Jesus from his house due to being unworthy, but we know that we are in a relationship with God, living our lives day by day WITH Him, not God on a cloud and us trooping around on Earth. And He wants to be very much involved in our lives; when we pray, when we drive, when we drink coffee, when we laugh…. EVERYTHING! It’s like when we talk about walking with Jesus on the path and we see something that diverts our focus and direction and we get off the path. He doesn’t just say, “Oh, well, see you later! Catch up later if you can!” If we just turn around, He is right there waiting for us to embrace Him and continue walking the path. Along the diverted path, we get scraped and bruised and thistles in our feet (the consequences of our diversions), but He waits for us to come back and walk with Him and embrace Him.

I don’t know if that made sense… those are my thoughts at a very late hour of the night! LOL SMILE 🙂

Stephen Tafoya

Ok, you’re keeping me in suspense… still been pondering your post… you’ve really got me thinking about this whole space/distance thing… hope I can be there on Sunday!!

hey sarah! this is a good topic, and something that i too have been thinking about. i have done a little reading as of late, and have looked at the relationship of isreal and god in the old testament. the jews not only rarely had their own land, but their culture was constantly in danger of being taken over by foreign influence. so god used prophets to bring the people back to him, and back to their way of life. but despite divine efforts, the people would stray, and need another sort of reminder. so my thought is this…man has always pushed away god, and god has always tried to draw them nearer, a continual dance. so then is a destination our vacation, or is it about how we get there?

Shelly Hubbart

1. how do you keep God at a distance? I find myself not talking to him but I don’t shut Him out completely…I still listen for Him but don’t do what He tells me. Maybe out of spite. kinda like a child in rebelion…I’m stuborn, what can I say.

2.why do you keep Him at a distance? Most of the time I keep him at a distance when I know that if I go to Him He will change things. It usually takes me a while before I’m ready for a change (because of fear usually). Or I don’t trust Him to make things better (in my view), after all God is not as concerned about your comfort as much as He is concerned about your character (I think I have enough character). Maybe the mess I’m in is better than the alternative that I may get. Even though God is in the business if giving us good things and a good future, there is still a trust factor involved. And my good future may not unfold while I’m living here on earth.

3.how does it work for you when you keep Him at a distance? It takes longer to get where He probably wants me to be. But He is so patient with me. He gets me. If I were Him I’d be angry…that’s why I’m not God. 🙂

Wow Sarah your sermon on Sunday was so powerful. I keep remembering when I have kept Jesus at a distance and I have been searching where I still keep him at a distance.

I have always had an independent streak in me where I want to do everything myself and NEVER tell anyone including Jesus when I need help. This has kept me at a disadvantage in all of my relationships. I went through a time in college where I was beginning to doubt that God even existed. I lost two close friends from Cancer within a two-week period; I went into a depression but kept it hidden from family and friends. Most of my doubts in God at that time came from my own willfulness.

When you mentioned in your sermon where Jesus took you back to that room in Germany, I started crying because I completely understood where you were coming from, I had those same feelings 7 years ago. It hit me in that moment that although I have come a long way asking Jesus for help I still have moments where I don’t come to Him with my pain and hurts.

Thank you so much for that sermon on Sunday it was so timely since God has been dealing with me on being truthful with Him concerning my emotions.

How do you keep God at a distance? The clear answer to me would be that by not spending time in the Word and prayer that I keep Him distant from me & that’s definitely true. Sometimes though, I find for me that it’s neglecting to consult and seek Him in the everyday moments of my life…as if He were there every step with me, which He is. Being married and having children has taught me so much more of how to depend on the Lord. Often I keep Him at a distance when I don’t seek Him because ultimately I’m not wanting His opinion because I’m wanting to do it my own way…not always intentionally, but He always so sweetly reminds me that all I have been given is His and He’s just waiting for me to surrender control. Being nearer & nearer to Him is a desire of mine but sometimes this human heart gets in the way…

Why do I keep him at a distance? I guess I answered that a bit in my above answer. I think so often of my dealings with my boys and whether it’s intentional or not, I slip back into my humans ways of trying to do it myself..in my own power. Then I realize that when I’m close to Him and releasing control, then things are so much easier…go figure, coming back to Him and seeking Him & His guidance. He has the answer & the answers are in His Word!

How does it work when I keep Him at that distance? It doesn’t. Things fall apart, I have a good cry and them I’m convicted by the Holy Spirit of my own personal pride and sprint back to Him…you would think I would learn! I’m a continual work in progress and I’m so thankful for His love for me!

Distance let me start there. Distance is a numerical description of how far apart objects are. In physics or everyday discussion, distance may refer to a physical length, a period of time, or an estimation based on other criteria (e.g. “two counties over”). In mathematics, distance must meet more rigorous criteria.

In most cases there is symmetry and “distance from A to B” is interchangeable with “distance between B and A”.
This is the acctual definition of Distance wich tells me that distance works both ways and God in His word has distance himself from His people at times, Distance in my opinion is a tool that is used by God to desire Him more and to teach us indurance, patience, love, and so many other things wich are vital to our spiritual development.

It is what we do with this expiriences that makes us better and truesrue our closeness with God. It allowes me to notice where I need to pay more attention to certain areas in my life such us praying more, visiting the sick children at the hospital, filling distant or being distant demand attention.

Any way that is how I see it.

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