I’ve been reflecting lately on the way we relate to God and what the experience of having a relationship with him might really be like if we move beyond the standard metrics we’ve come to accept.
One thing, in particular, I have noticed is the more emotionally and mentally hyped up I become the harder I find it to really observe what is going on around me. My world becomes small and intense, single focussed and hurried. I miss the small, quiet, and oftentimes profound moments that shape the deeper parts of my life.
As much as I believe in and advocate for becoming excited about my faith and ‘stirring up my faith’ worshipping in song and shouting for joy, and being openly fervent in prayer with others, I also take great comfort from knowing that these are not the only ways to encounter and experience God.
As a child, I was strongly encouraged by well-meaning believers that I had to pray out loud. I was even forced at times to pray aloud to prove I was actually praying.
I found this quite distressing and often felt vulnerable to criticism and judgment. It’s not like I didn’t believe I should pray out loud; I just didn’t like being told that I had to or that it was the ‘right’ way to pray.
My personal experience has been that God has a unique relationship with every one of us and that he relates to me in ways that foster that relationship and to others in ways that foster their relationship with him. Therefore who am I to judge the way he relates with others? And who are they who have the right to judge my ways of relating with him?
Sometimes I find his presence in song, in dance, in conversation, in intense worship, and in corporate experiences.
And sometimes our time together is quiet and few words are spoken, with deep moments of revelation revealed.
After nearly four decades of consciously building a relationship with God, I am only now really letting go of these early influences and digging into my experience with him on my own, taking the time to ponder and reflect on the intimacy of such a profound and life-giving relationship.
I pray you find ways to encounter and experience God and build a relationship with him. I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for Christ and what he has done so that I could have this relationship.
Photo copyright (c) 2022 Miriam E. Miles