My own journey to an authentic relationship with God was much harder than I expected.

I was born into a Christian home and grew up going to church.

Janet Salazar

I attended church schools for the majority of my scholastic career, all the way until I graduated with a BA in English and later returned for my Master of Arts in Teaching.

I studied the Bible on my own, at church, and at school. I desperately wanted a relationship with God.

I wanted Him to speak to me like He spoke to the people in the Bible.

I wanted to experience His love in such a way that it would become a “fire in my bones” and I couldn’t be silent about it.

But it didn’t happen. God didn’t speak to me (or so I thought).

I did not fall head over heels in love with Him.

I couldn’t figure out how to take Him with me through my day. I couldn’t mesh my religious life and the rest of my life.

God remained distant; the Bible stories unrelated to my life. I definitely felt like I was part of the people described in 1 Timothy 3:5, who have the “form of godliness but lack the power.”

My religious experience was a dry, barren desert with an occasional sip of water.

I chose to remain a Christian because it made sense. I looked at friends and colleagues who did not follow the Bible’s rules for life, and their lives were full of problems – personally, financially, and sometimes legally.

Following God’s rules for life just made life simpler, less stressful, and resulted in stronger relationships, and fewer legal problems. It was a way of life, a culture if you will, that was safer and more productive.

But deep down, I was angry with God for not rewarding my efforts with a personal relationship with Him. Why was it that other people could be so on fire about a relationship with Him, and I was just going through the motions, following the rules, reading The Book?

By my mid-20s, if I had not been married to a pastor, I think I would have walked away. As a pastor’s wife, though, I had to stay connected to church.

So my form of religion became more pronounced, to the point that one member told me, “Your body is here, but your spirit is not.”

And he was right. I no longer believed that the God of the Bible was active in my life… that He cared about me personally.

Finally, in my 40s, with two children that I desperately did not want to struggle in their Christian walk as I had all my life, I decided I was going to throw out all the rhetoric, all the theory, all the “methods,” and I was going to read the Bible for one thing and one thing only – to get to know the God revealed in its pages.

I stopped reading for all the dos and don’ts and read to find out what God’s character was really like. I stopped reading to prove doctrines, and read to feed my soul.

And slowly, over the years, my religious experience began to change. It was no longer a dry and barren desert. I even began to enjoy an oasis now and then. Eventually, I made the connection that when I spent time daily praying and reading His word in the morning, I was a better mother, wife, daughter… a better person.

I began to notice that God was working in miraculous ways to change my character from the angry, grudge-holding person I was, into a more patient, kind, and loving person. The Bible began to come alive when I read it, and often it was like God wrote the words specifically for me.

I am still learning and growing today.

My passion is to share what I am learning with you in the hope that you, too, can stop wandering in circles in the desert wasteland and begin journeying into the fruitful Canaan God intended for you to possess. (Blog)

Not that I have arrived, or have all the answers. I am simply a fellow traveler extending a hand to help you a step higher.

Like Paul, I can say, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press … on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14, NIV)

If sharing what I am learning along the way makes your journey a little easier, that’s all that matters.

Don’t read what I share as some kind of “how-to” method to make your spiritual life come alive. The truth is, there is no specific “method” that will make that happen. Your relationship with God is unique. You will need to find what works for you.

What I am offering are some tools you might find helpful, new insights, and different ways of looking at things, that I hope will inspire you to “press on to win the prize.”