• Weddings are formal.
  • Funerals are formal.
  • Banquets are formal.
  • Proms are formal. (It was a little bit awkward for everyone, especially during pictures. All of our moms wanted about a thousand pictures…)
  • Spies are formal. (Some great spy movies include the Bond films, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Kingsman, and The Tuxedo. Go check them out.)

These things are always formal and very proper. You have to get dressed up and leave everything in your personal life outside of them.

I felt like that was how my relationship with Jesus was supposed to be; very formal and proper. I used to think that my real life stays out of my relationship with Jesus, because we are supposed to give Him our best. Before I would pray, I would shut out anything else that was going on in my life.

What does this leave us with?

A Superficial Relationship and a Problem

This is definitely not the relationship that God wants with us, and it’s not the relationship that we really want either. A superficial relationship with Jesus doesn’t even help us! Is that not why we want a relationship with Him, so it will help us?

How will we grow in that relationship if we aren’t even being our true self? My true self, for example, is an absolute nerd who is quite lost as an adult. Who is around you when you’re being your true self?

  • Teachers?
  • Teammates?
  • Your priest?
  • Your parents? (Did you just feel a shiver run up your spine, too?)

It’s almost always your best friends. So how do you act around them? Is it a formal and proper encounter every time (like when you dressed up going to prom), or is it casual? If it’s my best friends, we normally have casual conversations that get serious every now and then (real talk, guys). We are also extremely ridiculous, silly, and weird to the point that we may scare people.

These serious and often exposing conversations happen because I know that they won’t judge me; they won’t stop being my friend because of what I say. I know that they aren’t going to be disgusted or terrified or surprised if I expose my true self, the real me. They care about me, so they listen and give me advice if need be. My best friends are real with me, and I’m real with them.

Jesus wants us to be real with Him. He wants us to have casual conversation with Him in prayer; a real conversation. In exactly the same way as a true best friend, He won’t judge you; He won’t stop being your friend because of what you say. He isn’t going to be disgusted or terrified or surprised if you expose your true self, the real you. He cares about you in a way that no one else can, which means He will listen and give advice in a way that no one else can.

How Do You Be Real with Jesus?

When you talk with Jesus, bring with you what’s on your mind. Don’t leave it out of the conversation. Talk to Jesus about it! Are you one or more of these things?

Frustrated Tired
Scared Lost
Stressed out Left out
Sad Bored
Hurt Excited
Distracted Happy

Bring all of that to Him! Let Him know how you feel about what’s going on in your life. He wants to know! What if you’re having the worst day of your life? Bring that especially to Him!

Whenever I’m going through tough times (the real heartbreaker moments), I come before Jesus in prayer. I need to have a real conversation with Him. I can’t help but break down and cry sometimes (Real men cry! Even Ron Swanson cries!). It’s in these moments that I can’t always put into words what I’m feeling, so I say this prayer:

“Jesus, please listen to my tears, for they are my loudest of prayers.”
If we’re being real with Jesus, then we know that not all of our conversations are going to be profound and serious (like my cry-fests). That’s okay, because all of our conversations are going to be life-changing if we’re just spending time with God (Just a reminder, He created the universe). If He can change our hearts during our big conversations, then imagine how much He can change our hearts during our daily small conversations.

Once I stopped being so formal with Jesus, I found that I could pray easier. Easier prayer meant that I would pray more often. I would get more out of it. Prayer isn’t just a chore anymore. It’s now my best friend, being there for me whenever something comes up!

To give God our best is good, but to give Him our worst- our true self- is something on a completely different level. It’s something that deepens our relationship in profound ways. Be real with Jesus, and it will change your life!

Praying for you always,

Matt Muhich