Six Steps to Reconnect with God.
- L 1. Learn It
- I 2. Integrate It
- S 3. Share It
- T 4. Talk with God
- E 5. Experience It
- N 6. Note It.
I have a habit of letting my life run on auto-pilot. Sure, I’m making decisions, fulfilling my responsibilities, practicing my faith, engaging with my family, choosing where to spend my time, energy and treasure. I know my to-do lists are getting done, the small crises are getting resolved, our schedules are met. But the truth is, I know that I am letting my life run me. And by lower case life I mean “Little Insignificant Feel-good Events” that the world and I somehow have decided to measure as meaningful. But the truth is, I know that’s not the upper case LIFE God intends me to build and live. The chaos and hectic cadence of day-to-day life often lulls me into a sense that “things are great!” But with even the slightest deeper assessment, it’s more like a locomotive that has jumped the tracks and is running amok. Where am I going? What’s my purpose? Am I living my best life? And, most importantly, who am I? All the questions, I know and believe as a Christian, God has answers for. But I’m not listening. So, when I am able to be self-aware enough and muster enough discipline, here is how I interrupt my life and reconnect with God:
1. Learn It.
Read God’s word. Devour scripture. Even memorize it. I read different translations. I do my best to understand what the Bible actually says. I add this task to my to-do list and make it part of my routine. Staying in the WORD is my best way to keep things real and stay grounded. To make sure my life is foundationally centered on Christ.
This tends to be an easy step for me; for some of my friends, not so much. Too often though, if I do the reading I’m too quick to call it complete and I never make it to step 2. How about you?
“Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions. Do what I say and you’ll live well. My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it! Write it out on the back of your hands; etch it on the chambers of your heart.” (Proverbs 7:1-3).
2. Integrate It.
Ok, I’ll admit it, I think if I can memorize a scripture, I own it. I think I automatically understand the meaning and more often than not . . . I really don’t. And more importantly, I’ve not explored how to apply it or integrate it into my life or how it can help me connect with God spiritually. If I haven’t really attempted to explore what the scripture means, how can it inform my day-to-day approach to the world? How can it become part of who I am?How will it help me connect to God? I’ve learned step 2 is so critical for me. Blending my knowledge and understanding of God’s word into my life is key to really connecting with God.
My understanding of God’s word is helped by referencing my study Bible. Mine even has wide margins so I can journal too. A study Bible offers supplementary passages for adding context and deeper understanding. I’ve even like using Bible apps and books from Christian authors. Now, I know this sounds overwhelming. It’s not if you can find a good study Bible that can really go a long way to helping you un-pack certain scriptures. My pastor and Bible study leaders offer wonderful resources and information in this area. Find a good Bible study group to join. Reach out to your church ministry team or find a local church for support with this step.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
3. Share It
I believe we need community to help us connect with God! In a trustworthy community we can process together, worship together, support each other, find freedom in honesty and vulnerability, and build each other up. But honestly, community is messy, isn’t it? Relationships are hard and sometimes we are disappointed. But because God created the church for us, I’ve found it has been worth it to press into relationships and let people into my life.
We are so busy, aren't we? Typically the first thing I sacrifice to save my schedule is community. Well, friends, we were not meant to live out our faith alone. We are called to community to stir one another to love and good works! There is nothing quite like friends who encourage you, inspire you to connect with God, and push you to go after God every day!
Author David LoPresti describes that when we interact with each other -- discussing more than just local issues and the weather -- we are drawn closer to God. (Saved by A Community for Community) There is amazing value realized when we press into conversation with each other about how the gospel interacts with our lives.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
4. Talk with God
Ah, prayer. Probably the most practical way for us to connect with God is to simply pray. God calls us to prayer all throughout the Bible because He wants to interact with us. Yes, it’s a two way conversation.
“Prayer is the only entryway into genuine self-knowledge. It is also the main way we experience deep change—the reordering of our loves. Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things he has for us. Indeed, prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we most desire. It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God. Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life.” - Tim Keller
By simply coming to God in prayer, we open a door and give God permission to lead us as He desires.
But here is the deal, telling God is the easy part. Pouring out our needs, our hurts, our hearts’ desires, and asking is easy. The pausing to listen to the quiet answers He often gives is the hard part. The answers are ALWAYS there, just sometimes over the noise of our lives, we miss it. The most difficult part of hearing God is the fact that it takes time to learn to discern God’s voice ̶ and it takes a humble heart.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
There it is again. The promise of answered prayers, but first we have to pray. One important element I’ve added to my prayer time is silence and solitude. Escaping the noise and chaos of my life has become a critical part of my prayer life. Here’s an article that truly blessed me on silence and solitude from David Mathis called “Take a Break from the Chaos”. It might be a good read for you today too.
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jeremiah 33:3).
5. Experience It
Here is where we act. The Holy Spirit will put on your heart the action you should take. The quiet little voice inside that whispers to you to make a simple act of kindness, an act of love or compassion. Our actions allow God to move in the world in mighty ways. God gives us gifts, skills and talents to use not only to bless others, but to be blessed by seeing Him work through us.
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. . . . But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it” (James 1:22,25).
6. Note It.
Journaling might be something that you already do, or something that you haven’t yet explored. I have found great value in journaling over the years as it becomes a safe place for me to process through life and reflect. It is a huge blessing for me to document how God has moved in my world.
“A journal can become a sacred place,” writes Margaret Feinberg. “Mere blank pages are transformed into a site where you can record the most intimate parts of your soul. A place where you can travel with your deepest thoughts and confessions. A place where you can slip off the mask of who you are supposed to be and slip into something more comfortable: who you really are.”
Journaling is where I process through my sin, write prayers, and express gratitude. This step is so important because we can look back and see God working in and through us. We can see him answer prayers that we might have missed if it wasn't written down. And, when we feel discouraged or like God is distant, we can look back at all the ways he was faithful. Ann Voskamp wrote this article :: Journaling as a Spiritual Discipline: 8 Reasons to Journal .
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16).
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6, 7).
It’s a cycle. A never ending, always enlightening process of connecting to God and growing in my faith. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Your process will look different than anyone else’s. The important part is that you jump in and let God direct your steps.
These are the ways that I LISTEN to God. I’m praying you find your way too.