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Find Out the Ways You Best Connect with God

Find Out the Ways You Best Connect with God

(Inside: Do you want to find the best ways you connect with God in your current season of life? Are you ready to deepen your faith?)

 

People raising their hands in worship is weird. It’s all just too much enthusiasm for me. At least that’s what I always thought…

However, maybe two years ago, or three…(Where do the years go?), I was in church singing worship music and something weird happened. Unexpectedly, I felt moved. But, differently – the music soothed in a new and refreshing way. As the melody filled the church, I felt our Creator reach down and minister to me. Then, as if an alien took over my body, I slowly peeked my hand out by my side – not raised high, I. will. not. join. the. over-the-top. people. – but with my palms facing up level with my waist. My hands open felt good, like a kinetic expression of me surrendering, not my will, Lord, but Yours.

{Fast forward to now.}

I recently skipped church and felt “itchy” all day. But it wasn’t the Minnesota deep freeze drying out my skin. It was more of a feeling that I didn’t get “filled.” I was itching to be “filled” through worship. Then, a thought ran over me like a truck – Did I actually miss the worship music? Am I, the person who often turns off the radio (it’s just noise!), actually becoming a music person?

What is going on?

I asked my wise seminary-graduate friend, Lori, about this new side of me. “Why do I crave worship music with the same intensity that I crave my morning coffee? I’m a high school band drop out. And also, if truth be told, when my husband and son jam on their guitars in the basement, I often go upstairs. To the third floor…so rude.”

 

The Different Ways People Connect with God

She laughed as she answered, “Everyone worships and connects with God in different ways through different seasons of life. Have you read Richard Foster’s book Streams of Living Water? Or Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Pathways? These books were life-changing for me.”

“Life-changing? I cocked my head in question.

Lori went on, “Before I read those books, I observed that everyone seemed to connect with God through a ‘quiet time.’ But I couldn’t get there. Silence and solitude didn’t move me. Consequently, I felt inadequate as a Christian; I wondered why I didn’t feel as close to God through a quiet time as everyone else seemed to. Then, I read Richard Foster’s book and Gary Thomas’ book and a light bulb went on. I noticed that I came alive while engaged in theology, studying God’s word, research, and discussion. In the same way others experience God through prayer and quiet moments, I experience God through intellect. This realization was freeing.”


 

Lori’s words clicked for me – I know why I’m a music girl now. I’m in the busiest season of my life. As a working mom with three boys, I feel stretched thin. Singing worship music is a place where I can relax and look up. It makes sense that God loves me enough to know my busy life and choose to open up a new form of connection to minister to me.

 

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In What Ways Do You Best Connect With God?

But, what about you?

How do you best connect with God? Let’s walk through some different ways to experience God outlined in Gary Thomas’ book Spiritual Pathways. Together, let’s find out your best way(s) to feel God in your current season.

 

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1. Naturalists

Do you ever slip on your coat and go outside simply to look at the stars? Or do you come alive while you’re hiking? Then, you connect with God and discover spiritual truths through the majesty of nature. In other words, you’re a naturalist.

 

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“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens, God has pitched a tent for the sun.” Psalm 19:1-4

 

2. Sensates

Does a lit a candle, worship music, and/or warm blanket pour God’s nourishment straight into your soul? Or do you linger in an art museum, your heart pulsing at the beauty? Do you feel God’s presence as you create? Does the taste of a delicious meal ignite your heart to praise God?  Then, you love God by using your senses like sight, taste, sound, touch…etc. You are a sensate.

 

Best ways to connect with God
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3. Traditionalists

I have a friend who abhors the contemporary service. Okay, maybe that’s too strong of a word. But it doesn’t feel “right” to her. She can’t relax and enjoy it. On the other hand, she loves the formality of traditional hymns and weekly communion. In addition, she loves the choir robes, the recited prayers; the “structure, repetition, and rigidity” deepen her faith.  If you can relate, then you’re a traditionalist and grow in faith through rituals and routines.

 

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best ways to connect with God
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4. Ascetics

When you want to escape the stress and noise (I see you moms of small kids hiding the bathroom!), do you pull out your Bible to read and pray? Or do you crave sacred experiences through Christian meditation? Then you connect with God through silence and solitude – you are an ascetic.

“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:15-16

 

best ways to connect with God
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5. Activists

Do you see an injustice in the world and fight for those that need your voice? Do you connect with God by fighting for a cause? Seeking social justice? If this describes you, then you’re an activist. You feel close to God through fighting for faith-filled values and godly principles.

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’

‘No one, sir,’ she said.

‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” John 8:3-11

 

6. Caregivers

As you’re walking towards Target, if you see an elderly person finishing loading her groceries into her car do you impulsively go grab the cart for the woman? (“No, don’t walk all the way over the cart return. I’m just starting my shopping anyway!) Do you thrive while serving at the local food shelf? Have you gone to the foster care informational meeting? Did you adopt once your biological children grew up? If this describes you, then you may connect best with God through taking care of others – you’re a caregiver.

“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” Proverbs 31:20

 

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7. Enthusiasts

Do you enjoy spending hours preparing the perfect Easter meal or Christmas celebration? Is the only way to worship for you is with enthusiasm? (Go big or go home!) Can you not help but outwardly show how passionately you love God? Then you’re an “enthusiast” and you connect with God through zeal.

 

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8. Contemplatives

Is your prayer life active? Do you keep a gratitude journal? Do you worship through reflection and writing? Then you might be a contemplative.  Contemplatives worship through paying attention, loving deeply, meaningful moments, and deep relationships. Are you a contemplative?

 

 

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9. Intellectuals

When you read scripture, you always look through the footnotes. You love a healthy religious debate and dissecting theology. You might even write articles or blog posts about faith and its implications. Research makes you come alive. If I’m describing you, then my friend, then you are an intellectual. Learning new things about God through study and apologetics is how you worship.

“That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you.’

Solomon answered God, ‘You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place.  Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?’

God said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.'” (2 Chronicles 1:7-12)

 

 

Which are your best ways to connect with God?

Are you like my friend Lori who comes alive researching for her next sermon? Or are you like me, a “sensate” who feels God through worship music? (I’m also a Contemplative – read more here.) Remember, your spiritual pathways of worship may change through your many seasons of life. Also, you might have two (or six!) pathways working all at once for you. God loves you enough to meet you exactly where you are. And, who knows…God just might take a once weird idea (hand raising during worship) and make you crave it when you miss it.

 

Take the test Spiritual Pathways Test

Or, did you have a hard time figuring out how you worship and connect with God? I found a great site where you can take a free test to learn more about your spiritual self. Take the short test here. They will even email you your answers.

 

Do you want more?

I loved this video of Gary Thomas introducing his spiritual pathways. (Plus, he has all sorts of goodies on his website.)  Or read Richard Foster’s book Streams of Living Water and Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Pathways.

 


 

Your turn

Now that you’ve thought about this, we’d love to know which spiritual pathway describes you the best  Or what combination of pathways helps you worship and connect with God? What is your current life season and how is our intimate Savior reaching down to ministe to you?

Leave it in the comments below or send us an email at extravaganthope.us@gmail.com

 

 


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4 thoughts on “Find Out the Ways You Best Connect with God”

  • Cheryl,
    Thank you! This is so good!
    One thing I’ve been learning in the past year or so is that God loves variety! Look at all He has created!
    Being #1, 2, 4 and 8, I struggled with being different than so many other people. The “prescribed “ ways to connect with God, we’ll… didn’t reach very deep for me.
    Recognizing the variety in creation, helped me to see, that we are all created in God’s image, who is infinite and has the wealth of characteristics that our finite minds can only begin to grasp. Every one of us is uniquely wired with strengths and weaknesses and bents and personalities different than another.
    Paying attention to the ways the very heart of me felt closest to my Creator helped me understand that He made me, to connect with Him in these ways.
    Thank you for sharing this! It is encouraging to my heart!
    Chris

    • I love your thoughts – especially on the “prescribed” ways that didn’t help you personally go deeper and you’re understanding of the variety of ways God uses to connect with you. Lori and I’s conversation was eye-opening and since doing the research for this post, I’ve found myself better appreciating the diverse routes God uses to connect with us. For example, I just went to a very traditional service (out of the box for me) and LOVED it. It felt good.

  • I feel all these things and I love it. I do love the traditional services because I love the old traditional hymns and the choir. I go to a church now that has a contemporary service with one traditional hymn. I also feel close to people when I am helping someone who has been abused or an elderly person and advocate for them. I guess I want to people to see the God and Jesus that I love through me. Thank you Lori and Cheryl.

    • Thank you for your thoughts – I do see how you feel close to God while serving those who need a voice. You’re an inspiration!

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Hi there! We're Cheryl, Lori & Mendie, co-owners and writers of Extravagant Hope. We are moms (and a grandma), daughters, wives, teachers, and friends. We are ordinary women, just like you, who have experienced hard stuff in life, just like you. But we are also women who have incredible joy because Jesus has given us hope - and continues to give us hope - in the midst of even our toughest realities.   We are three women who have a dream of sharing that hope of Jesus with you. Join our Extravagant Hope Community and 10+ hope-filled freebies (prayer journal, memory verse cards, printable art and more) will be emailed straight to your inbox. Thanks for being here. :)

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