That's the epiphany that I got out of Harvest Cry. That it really is ok to want a real, tangible relationship with Jesus, to have Him show me that He IS real, He IS alive, and He loves ME. Not because it says so in the Word, and not because I'm choosing to believe it is so. Because it IS so, and because He is showing it to ME.
This may not seem like a big thing for some of you...those of you who came to know Him because He revealed Himself to you personally...but for me, it's a big thing. See, I came out of the Word of Faith movement, where EVERYTHING was accepted by faith. It was a mental choice to believe that the Bible is the written Word of God, and that it was true. Not because of experience, not because of relationship, even, but because we chose to believe that the Word was the truth. It was counter to Word of Faith to seek out an experience of Jesus, to have a relationship based upon Him revealing Himself to you. If He chose to give you and experience then that was absolutely fine...but to seek out, or heaven forbid, require Him to provide an experience so that you would KNOW that He is God, well, that was just wrong, and was the opposite of faith!
So I lived like that for so many years...wanting more to my relationship with Him, and yet not really seeking it out, because to do so would mean that I didn't have faith that He was who He said He was, or even that He was real at all. And I go to this Harvest Cry night wanting so much more...wanting more of a true relationship instead of a one-way conversation. Wanting to want to spend time with Him instead of doing it out of a feeling of obligation, or guilt, or thinking that this is what a "good Christian" would do. Feeling like I was putting up a front, that it was all a sham, because I'd rather do other things than spend time with God, and that my time spent was a "waste". Were there times when I felt close to Him, and like the relationship I had was a good one? Most definitely, but I was trying to exist on those times which were few and far between rather than seeking those times out every day. Do I think I really was saved? Yes, definitely...I did, and do, love Jesus, have made Him my Lord and Savior, and was truly doing the best I knew how with my relationship with Him. Did I miss it, and let religion get in the way of my relationship? YES.
So, what am I doing to establish a better, closer relationship with Jesus? Well, I'm asking Him to continue to reveal Himself to me. I'm being honest with myself and with God about how I'm feeling and what I feel is lacking, both in my relationship with Him and just within myself. And I'm being honest about needing Him to empower me to keep up my part of the relationship, because the other thing I realized is that it is not within my power to make the relationship work. Alone, I can do nothing, but I can do anything with Him. And I've started to count on Him to help me in everything, even in those things which seem to be something I SHOULD be able to handle by myself. See, I don't WANT to handle them by myself any longer...I want to partner with Him in EVERYTHING. And in doing that, I know that I will more easily stay the course He has for me, because He is with me all the way, guiding me, empowering me, and helping me do what He's calling me to do.
So where does faith stand in all of this? I have faith that He will be faithful to reveal Himself to me...and that's faith enough.