Faith

Different Ways To Feel Close To God

In a world with such diversity, in terms of ways to connect with God, it can be difficult to find something that works for you. There are so many various ways you feel a deeper and stronger connection with your faith that doesn’t involve sitting in a pew trying to concentrate on the sermon. Since I have started my journey I have tried a few different things and thought I would share them with you in hopes that you find something you enjoy that will stick through the busy days!

1. Prayer/Prayer Journal

This is one I started right from the beginning and I think that’s why I was so motivated to keep going. There are so many ways you can pray which makes it so much fun! You can pray in bed at night, on the way to class, in the middle of class, on your drive to and from work, or before eating any meal. This is nice because it is something that doesn’t have to happen at a certain time, a certain place, or in a certain way. It is ALL up to YOU. My tip is just to try and do it once a week and continue to heighten that to twice a week or once a day! I like to pray in this form: I pray to thank God for something that happened that day (always bring your appreciation, thanks, and gratitude before your wants), I pray for my future husband and kids (even though they aren’t here yet I still want to help them as much as I can), and then I pray for myself. This helps me make sure I am not using prayer for just wants that I am declaring God to answer. Now I added “Prayer Journal” because I think it’s such a great idea to keep your prayers to look back on later to see which ones were answered and which ones weren’t and how that ended up being a good thing because God had something much bigger and better for you!

2. Bible/Bible Study

This is one I have kept up with pretty diligently but I don’t punish myself if I just don’t have time or feel like it. When I first started it was scary to try and read such a huge book so I started with reading two pages a day, that’s not too bad! Soon I began reading so many pages and not wanting to put it down I was so entranced with His word! But BE PATIENT. It might not happen right away! DON’T GIVE UP. I like to highlight verses in my Bible that stand out to me or form questions in my mind. Then I transfer those thoughts, feelings, and questions into my Bible Journal. It keeps all of my thoughts in one place which is nice and easy to look back on! I also started drawing and coloring in my Bible to help make the black and white pages more vivid and full of life! If it helps, contact a friend and start a Bible study to keep you on track and have conversations about verses! It can bring different perceptions that you may never thought of! It’s amazing what the human mind can’t see at first glance and how everyone can read the same sentence differently!

3. Devotionals 

I have recently started reading the “Daily Guideposts 2016” devotional book. It sheds light on different verses and how each person applies it to their life through the lessons they have learned. It also includes a little prayer from each individual which is my favorite part because it helps me expand my ways of praying! This is great if you don’t want to work with someone else through your journey but you still want different opinions, ideas, and thoughts!

4. Church

To be honest, this isn’t the place I feel most connected with God but I know that it is for some people! Try finding a church that you feel most comfortable in, friendly people, and an interesting pastor/priest. If it helps, you could bring a notebook to help jot down things from the sermon to help you stay focused and listening. Sometimes it’s hard not to start looking around the room and thinking, “Wow, I didn’t even know that light fixture was there!” and completely dismissing the whole sermon. Try as many different churches that you need to in order to find the perfect one for you.

5. Meeting With Your Pastor/Priest

I have not yet personally tried this one but I am really interested in doing so. After reading quite a bit of the Bible I have accumulated tons of questions and thoughts that I wish I could express with someone who has an abundance of knowledge in that department. But these meetings could even be about how you’re feeling or just getting a connection through God with a close relationship with your Pastor/Priest. You could even go to them for different ways to feel another connection to God, I am sure they have even more tips than me! These are people who are trying to spread God’s word and are more than happy to help you become closer to God.

6. Pinterest Bible Studies/Ideas

I recently found that there are TONS of people who are in a Bible study or have worksheets for you to copy and use on your own time. With technology being so efficient and helpful these days why not use it?! I know I only gave a few ideas but I am sure the internet could give you even more! Pinterest is such a great tool to help spark creativity, ideas, and interest.

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A Smack In The Face

There are days I doubt His presence, His ability to answer prayers, lately, I could tell I had been doubting quite often. I still studied the Bible and journaled through my readings but in the back of my mind I hesitated to fully believe. Apparently God decided to give me a little nudge toward the path of believing.

The night before I had had a rough night with my friend and a guy I had liked. I woke up feeling angry and betrayed. I silently asked God, “should I be mad? Am I overreacting?”. I wasn’t receiving an answer which only made me more upset. I pouted throughout the day and basically had a huge pity party for my bad night. Then I headed towards my Bible study with a close friend. It was our first day of it so we were discussing how to start, where to start, and what to do. I suggested that I flip through the book and randomly land on a verse and then we would discuss it. As I was flipping I again silently asked God, “should I be mad?” and as I stopped to point at a verse and started to read I felt a smack in the face, a punch in the gut, and became weak in the knees.

I ended up in the book of Psalms, ironic because it is the most emotional book in the Bible. I pointed to chapter 37. The first words I read were, “Quit being angry and dismiss fury; do not get heated; it leads only to evil.” I knew right then that He existed, He was listening, and He was answering. Since that day I haven’t doubted Him once and I don’t think I ever will again.

I know firsthand how difficult it is to believe in an idea so complex that your brain cannot even comprehend it. But let me assure you, it is not impossible. If you open your ears, eyes, and heart to God He will protect you, heal you, and answer you.

A Smack In The Face
New Berkeley Version – Psalm 37: 8

 

Faith

The First Step To Faith

 

I remember being in my Government class of senior year and politics were being discussed through heated arguments and finger pointing. I am someone who doesn’t like to voice my opinion when it comes to politics because I truly believe I don’t contain enough knowledge and facts to. I sit back and listen to other people’s opinions and dissect and analyze them. But there are a few topics in politics that I am very passionate about, I won’t say what because that isn’t what this blog is about, but I kept hearing people say, “Well in the Bible it says” or “God said” to justify their reasons for believing what they did. As I sat back and listened I thought to myself, well how do they even know that? Have they read the Bible through and through? Have they studied His words enough to know what He has said? I made the decision that day to do just that.

That night, I went home and scrounged around for my dusty and untouched Bible my church had gotten me for confirmation. I flipped through the pages and thought, “Holy crap, where do I even start?“. I became intimidated by the small print, countless pages, and large book. I figured I would just start at the beginning and work my way through the words. I soon was engrossed by the detailed stories that were difficult to understand at first glance but soon I examined every word and became fascinated. I began highlighting verses and questioning stories which led me to become very overwhelmed. I figured the best way to keep my thoughts, questions, and feelings in one place would be to start a Bible journal as well. But soon I became bored; bored of reading and trying to unscramble the messages hidden in the sentences, so I quit. My Bible was tucked away and untouched for months.

When summer came around, I was getting nervous for my first year of college. My mind kept wondering to worries, concerns, and questions about it. I was cleaning through my deceased grandma’s things when I came across her Bible and was inspired once again. I ran home and copied all of my highlights and notes into my grandma’s Bible. It had a black leather cover and somehow sparked faith in me I didn’t even know I had. I began to devour God’s word and apply his wisdom to my own life. My worries for college began to drift away when I was reading His words and I started to become a better friend, a more caring sister, a helpful daughter, and a more confident woman.

I figured telling the beginning of my journey through faith would be the best way to start off my new blog. I hope to encourage others to study His words, believe in His miracles, and serve Him the best you can.