When trouble comes or you find yourself in need, how quickly does your heart turn to God? How close is He to the forefront of your thoughts? Is your instinct to turn to people for help, or to Him? Or even to go it alone and rely on your own strength?

I think there are lots of reasons why we may not think to turn to God first. One can be plain old habit; another can be the “immediacy” of affirmation from those around us when we share our concerns with them; or that coveted thrill of a sense of independence when we solve a problem ourselves.

For me, I struggled for a long time with the fear that if I prayed for something and it didn’t happen—especially when I thought I was praying within the will of God—that it somehow meant either He didn’t love me, or worse, that maybe He just didn’t listen to prayers at all.

But what a limiting worldview! I had completely forgotten where Ephesians 3 tells us of “Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work in us…” and instead I was “deciding” well before the fact that God wouldn’t care to act on my behalf, that He would not give in abundance in my time of need, so why even bother?

This created such a coldness in my spirit – a sense that what I thought was important and what was important to God were two very different things. It took me years to fathom this callousness around my heart and I’ve only just begun to chisel away at it.

So how do we go about prioritizing our reliance on God? How do we make the shift to seeking Him first in all things?

For me, it’s taken conscious effort. I teach this lesson to others now as often as I can—verbally and through blog posts like these!—so they’ll stick in my brain, too. When troubles arise, I have to mentally slam on the breaks and ask myself, “Have I talked to God about this yet?” Then I carve out time to pour my heart out to Him.

It’s a process, let me tell ya. I still have moments where my first instinct is to consult my friends before my Father. Thankfully, He is patient with me—and because I’ve asked, He’s been faithful to bring this lesson to remembrance as often as I need it.

 So now I pray He brings it to YOUR remembrance, too: His nearness, the abundance of His love, the greatness of what He can do, and the peace and inspiration that comes with seeking Him first in all things great and small.