Menú
``````````````````````

Experiencing Connection

Spiritual Pathways in Your Walk with God

guitar

By Bayta Schwarz

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

True confession: I don’t particularly enjoy listening to and singing along to worship music. For a long time, I thought there was something wrong with me because it seemed to mean so much to others. Why not me? Meanwhile, I loved spending extended time digging deeper into Bible texts and felt connected with God during those times. I couldn’t understand why others didn’t feel the same way.

 

Whether you call it “spending time with the Lord” or a “quiet time” or whatever term you use, connection with God is something we all long for and need. However, how we learned to do it from others and what we have seen people model can sometimes leave us feeling frustrated. What works for them does not seem to work for us. Often, we strain and persevere regardless. Or we give up.

Do you recognise that pattern in yourself? I hear you! Different authors have tried to describe what they observed in themselves and others. Learning from them has been a great gift. One of the books that has greatly enriched and shaped my understanding has been “Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas.

 

Yes, we all need and long to connect with God through his word and in prayer. How we do that and what context helps us most can vary. There is so much to discover about how God created each of us! Perhaps you have noticed this already. Some people thrive on worship; others on studying the Bible. Some come alive when they serve; others when they create.

bible

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Why don’t you take a moment right now to reflect: when do you feel especially connected with God? Is it sitting quietly reading your Bible? Out in nature? When you’re singing and praising him? When you journal?

Our goal in considering these “spiritual pathways” (as they are often called) is to understand ourselves better, so we can make space in our lives for what feeds our souls. At the same time, we can be more aware of the gifts others bring and step out of our comfort zone from time to time, trying out pathways that are not our natural bent.

 

Here's a sample of some of the pathways people have described. This is by no means a definitive list and I would encourage you to use the book I mentioned to explore further.

 

Wonder

Some people connect most easily with the wonder God inspires. Here are different pathways that relate to this:

  • Do you find that your connection with God really comes alive in His creation? If that’s you, be sure to spend time in creation, even (and maybe particularly) if you live in a city!
  • Do you draw near to God more easily when you engage all five senses? Be creative in how you include that in your time with the Lord (for example, light a scented candle or listen to the sounds around you as you pray).
  • Does seeing art help you connect with God? There are many paintings of biblical stories. Go to a museum, read your Bible and journal while being inspired by the art!
  • Do you thrive on engaging with long-established Christian practices, such as daily, weekly or annual rhythms, or the use of set prayers? You might try and incorporate some of those throughout your day. Or there might be churches or retreat centres near you that offer events you could attend from time to time.


Contemplation

Our whole being is part of relating to God and this group of spiritual pathways reflects that.

  • Does studying the Bible and discovering new things about Him bring you joy? Invest in resources that help you dig deeper in the Bible. Many are also available online for free.
  • Do you need to be in a simple, quiet environment, by yourself to meet with God? Go away for a morning or a day if solitude is not possible at home.
  • Do you feel drawn to the emotional aspect of faith that we find in many of the psalms, and in creative expressions? Consider choosing a psalm and let it inspire you to paint, sketch, sculpt or use calligraphy to express what you’ve read.


Action

This next group of spiritual pathways reflect the fact that God is active, engaged in his world and with people.

  • Do you find yourself coming alive and feeling closest to God when you’re engaged in causes that reflect God’s heart? Maybe you would be able to take part in a service project or engage with an advocacy group. For many causes, there are helpful ways to get involved online as well.
  • Do you express your love for Him by loving and caring for others? Next time someone you know is recovering from a surgery or just had a baby, offer to help for a day or a longer period of time. There are myriad people who need love and care.
  • Do you like nothing more than celebrating God in worship? Make space in your day, your week or your year to engage with this aspect of who you are. There are many opportunities to engage in musical worship: throughout your day and at special events, leading others in worship, and benefiting from others’ gifts.

 

Hopefully, this short introduction helps you see how these different pathways reflect the ways God relates to us and to His world. As the church and as communities, we need each other. Whatever your preferred pathway is – we need you to help the rest of us engage more fully with God. Have fun exploring how you most naturally relate to God and trying out ways you wouldn’t normally be drawn to. 

Share on

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Send to a friend