Life is complicated. We make many decisions each and every day of our lives. We are fed options for living by social media, advertising, family and friends, the Bible. So, with all these voices, who should we listen to on our spiritual journey? How do we find out the answer to life’s big questions? What is this all about? Why am I alive? What is my reason for being? Am I even on the right path?
And how do we make sure we are moving forwards, not just going around in circles?
Becoming a Christian isn’t about jumping over the fence into a heavenly field, where we can just lie around doing what we like. It’s more like we have been groping around in the dark and suddenly a bright light has been switched on. Suddenly we can see everything differently, the whole earth, everyone we meet, and ourselves.
A wonderful quotation from CS Lewis reads: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” (C.S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?” The Oxford Socratic Club, 1944 Samizdat University Press, 2014.) Being a Christian is to see ourselves as God sees us, which is the same way that He sees His Son, perfect and blameless. Jesus took our sin upon Himself to make us free.
So how do we begin our spiritual journey of walking out our faith? In this blog post, we’re going to look at some tips for starting out on your spiritual journey and how you can strengthen your connection with God.
1. Know That God Wants To Speak With You Everyday
It’s true! You are worth His time. Believe that He has something to say to you. Come expectantly. God is always speaking; He is like a radio constantly transmitting loving thoughts to each of us. Coming to spend time in His presence is like tuning ourselves into that frequency and receiving some of His truth.
2. Understand That He Speaks In Different Ways
God speaks to us in different ways. When I talk about hearing from God in this blog post, I don’t always mean hearing a direct message from God, or an audible voice. Sometimes I hear a voice in my head, but other times, it can just be a phrase that makes an impression on me. It can be a word from a friend (not necessarily a Christian friend), it can be the lyrics of a song (not necessarily a Christian song), it can be a sentence from a book or a verse from the Bible. God can speak to us through anything, at any time. The question is, are we ready to hear Him?
I remember when I was in the throes of parenting toddlers and couldn’t find time to come to God. Quite often phrases from the children’s bedtime Bible stories would leap out at me, speaking right into the situation I was in. I find the mystery of learning to hear God’s voice awe-inspiring. The thought that the Creator of the universe wants to speak to me is mind-blowing! Every time we hear His voice, whether it be an inkling, an urge or a feeling, we have the choice of whether to respond or not. All these decisions over the course of our lives make up our spiritual journey. And this brings me neatly on to my next point…
3. When You Hear Something, Write It Down
When I feel like I have heard a word from God, I write it down. Knowing that God wants to actively speak into my life is a precious thing not to be wasted. I have a file of words on my computer and I open it sometimes and remind myself of the things I have heard Him speak to me. This encourages me on my spiritual journey. Otherwise, the words we have received can easily be snatched away like those seeds in the Parable of the Sower.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:3-8
Don’t let His words be snatched away from you.
4. Slow Down
Some days, when I struggle to still the world’s pace, I sit somewhere quiet and write prayers in my journal. It helps me to write down my prayers so I don’t get distracted. This helps me to ease into this other kingdom, one where the rules are different from this world’s rules, one where I can be like the tree in Psalm 1, soaking up the refreshing water of God’s ways.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Look Back
A wonderful quote from Nelson Mandela reads:
“I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.” Nelson Mandela, Long Road to Freedom
Do not be afraid to look back over your life. Your story and your walk with God are precious. The ways that God actively impacts our lives are gold dust; they are times of heaven touching earth. So, own them and share them. Tell others about what He has done for you.
You Matter To Him
So, don’t worry about your past and don’t worry too much about your future, just know today that your life matters to God. The decisions you make matter to Him, and your life is of eternal significance.
Just come today, spend time with Him, and write down what you hear, big or small. This is the way that you will make your way along your path and this is your spiritual journey. Through all the little things, which in the end, will have crafted a whole life.
If you enjoyed this blog, you might also enjoy this one, all about finding guidance at the start of a new year.