Latter-day Saint Life

A realization about ‘relentless pursuit’ to help you feel closer to God

What if we approached our relationship with God with more enthusiasm?
Nattu Adnan on Unsplash

In Elder Patrick Kearon’s latest general conference address, “God’s Intent is to Bring You Home,” he tells us emphatically that “God is in relentless pursuit” of us.

As I try to wrap my mind around “relentless pursuit,” my mind goes to my five-year-old daughter who recently opened up to me about her first crush. In her excitement to express the depth of her love for our nine-year-old neighbor she says, “Mom, I have a hundred crushes. No! A thousand crushes on him.”

Thinking about my daughter’s crush (and remembering the lengths I went to get a crush’s attention when I was younger) has helped me understand the idea of “relentless pursuit” that Elder Patrick Kearon recently spoke of at conference.

“God is in relentless pursuit of you. ... He employs every possible measure to bring you back,” Elder Kearon said.

My daughter’s crush also made me consider the other side of Elder Kearon’s question: Am I in relentless pursuit of God?

Do you remember what crushes were like when you were younger? Maybe you thought of your crush every hour during the day. You might picture your future with them. You will try to dress your best in front of this person, and maybe be a better version of yourself. You would likely drop everything at an opportunity to spend time with this person. You might read everything you can about this person. You would look at pictures of them, and if you are brave, maybe put up a picture of them in your room or locker. You might want to get close to people who are close to this person, to learn more about them. Maybe you drive by their house just to see if you might get a glimpse.

What if we approached our relationship with God with that enthusiasm?

How to Relentlessly Pursue Our Heavenly Father

1. Communicate with Him

We can begin our relentless pursuit of our Heavenly Father with constant communication with Him. Yes, we can pray. But what if we did not just pray but talked to Him about everything little or big—our fears and hopes and even funny moments throughout the day, anything that helps you keep Him close?

We can also communicate with our Heavenly Father when we read His words written for us by His prophets, learn about His son’s life, and think and meditate on Him and His words.

Constant communication is even better maintained when we go to His house regularly and converse with Him there. The windows of Heaven are opened wider at the Holy Temple, and we may understand the answers to prayers more quickly with this proximity to our Savior.

2. Choose Him

Second, in our relentless pursuit, we must choose Him above all else. Think how easy it is when you have a crush to choose this person every day. You wouldn’t be distracted by other people, or even hobbies when you are in pursuit of a serious romantic crush. Do we sometimes allow our hobbies, or non-celestial interests to get in the way of our pursuit of a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father?

If anything is coming before our relationship with our Heavenly Father, and distracting us, we might reflect on how He can be our first priority.

3. Use His Love Language

Third, we can show Him love using his love language—which He has communicated to us loud and clear. Jesus Christ told us that the two great commandments are to love God and to love our neighbors. The more we love God, the more we want to follow His commandments with exactness and create a closer covenant relationship with Him. The more we want to pursue Him, the more genuinely we love our brothers and sisters. God loves us so much that Elder Kearon says he “wants for us a radical reorientation of our selfish prideful impulses.” He wants us to love because the more we love, the more we can come to be like Him.

Roadblocks to Our Relentless Pursuit 

A common impediment to the relentless pursuit of our Heavenly Father is feeling we need to distance ourselves when we sin or fall short. Elder Kearon’s reminder is that “[Jesus] did not recoil at the leper and did not reject the woman taken in adultery—and with his grace, change is within our reach not beyond our grasp.” Our Savior does not want us to be distant when we sin, but quite the opposite.

To be a bit more direct, if you drink alcohol on a Saturday night, He still wants you at church.

If you yelled at your kids on a Sunday morning, He still wants you at church.

If you haven’t prayed all week or read your scriptures, He still wants you at church.

Our Savior will meet us where we are. He will never reject us the way an earthy crush might. His love for us will never diminish.

We can grow to love Him even more when we turn back to Him after we sin, communicate with Him, and keep Him close. If we give Him our hearts and our weaknesses, He will make us more holy. Our hearts are purified when we “yield” our hearts to God (Helaman 3:33-35). The first step in giving Him our heart is communicating with Him our most intimate thoughts. As Elder Kearon reminds us, “He will not refuse you when you turn to him with your broken heart.”

And His intent when we get close enough is to heal us. Even from those long-lost unrequited loves, or more recent minor hurts. As Elder Kearon says “His plan, His purpose, His intent, His wish, and His hope are all . . . to give you peace[.]”

And I think this is a love worth relentlessly pursuing back.

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