I was totally out of my context, and completely over it.
I was literally screaming from a rooftop somewhere in a foreign country, This was my last hope.
Either this was going to work, or I was giving up for good.
“Speak to me!”
I grew up going to church and became a Christian at the age of 11. That was the first time I realized this thing called Christianity was a relationship more than it was religion.
I also realized that a relationship meant personal connection, for which I was partly responsible.
So, since that time I have always pursued God as best as I understood how.
I read the bible (and understood very little of it),
I went to church and youth events,
I attended and even led school bible studies,
and I prayed how I was taught to pray.
But after years of talking to God, I eventually reached the point where I could no longer handle the one-sided relationship.
I had talked and talked and talked to Him for years with very little to show for it. I cried, and laughed, and screamed, and argued, and all He gave me in return was boring church services and tired bible readings.
I wanted Him to talk to me, or I was done.
So, sitting on a rooftop in the middle of an Indian countryside, I shouted,
“SPEAK TO ME!”
I was brutally honest.
I told Him that I was tired of hints and clues and confusing signs.
I felt like He had given me a million puzzle pieces and said, “figure it out” only to find the puzzle pieces didn’t fit.
I wanted Him to speak, and I wanted Him to be clear.
I even told Him,
“Listen…I’m stupid, and I hate puzzles. Just talk to me like a dim-witted child and tell me what to do.
And if You don’t want to talk to me, then you’re a cruel God and You don’t care about me at all.”
That day was a pivot in the direction of my life.
It was a new beginning.
That was the moment I began learning ways to actually hear Him clearly.
Now, let me be clear, there is no ONE WAY to hear God speak. In fact, I believe there are as many options as there are people in the world.
So currently, that puts the options for how to hear God right at about 7,726,309,508 different ways…and growing by 15,000/hour.
My main purpose in creating this blog is to help you encounter God in REAL and TANGIBLE ways, so you can begin the lifelong journey of growing in grace, peace, and purpose. Well…in order to do that, we have to begin learning how to hear and recognize the myriad of ways God communicates with us.
More importantly, you have to recognize and hear the ways He speaks to you individually.
After all, your relationship with Him is TOTALLY unique.
That’s what makes it so beautiful.
So, over the next few weeks I will give you some helpful guidelines to get you started finding your own path to hearing God speak to you.
Call it a playbook if you will.
I want to give you some tips and tricks to get you used to practicing listening to God’s Spirit, and the more you practice, the more you will begin to create and innovate new ways to hear Her. You will hear Her in ways that no one else can hear as well as you.
And if you feel you already have a path, then I encourage you to try some of the things we will discuss as a way to grow even deeper in your connecting with God.
So let’s get started.
1. Relationship takes authenticity.
Most people in America look at the bible as a black and white instruction manual.
We want quick and simple solutions to the problems of our lives, so we look for quick, simple, and direct verses in the bible that we can easily implement and make our lives better.
However, real life is anything but simple.
Life is complex. It is dirty and ugly, and sometimes, it’s royally screwed up.
It is also simultaneously beautiful and wonderful and full of ecstatic joy.
Life is more like a roller coaster without a track,
that’s where the Psalms come in.
The defining characteristic of the book of Psalms that sets it apart from every other book in the Jewish and Christian scriptures is that it is BRUTALLY honest, even to the point of irreverence.
One minute it sings about the goodness of God and swears loyalty to His trustworthy name for all eternity.
and in the next breath it curses Him for screwing up their lives and leaving them to die alone in despair.
Where some believe we should approach God with reverence and humility, the Psalms spit right in His face and tell Him to “eff off!”
Where some say we must show restraint and poise, the Psalms inspire people like David to make love and dance naked through the streets.
The difference between the Psalms and books like Proverbs, for example, is that the Psalms are authentic, raw, and intensely expressive.
It makes them the most human of scriptures.
If you want to connect with God on a real, authentic level, if you want a REAL relationship with Him where BOTH partners are equally engaged, then you must approach Her with authenticity. God has little interest in and can ill-afford an intimate relationship with someone who only reads about Him and approaches Him before meals and bedtime.
She wants someone who is going to share their whole heart with Her.
Someone who is brutally themselves in His presence.
Tip #1: practice raw and emotional authenticity with God.
Get in your car, drive to some place remote, roll up the windows, lock the doors, and have it out!
Shout at Him until the blood fills your face!
Scream profanities at Her if that’s what rises up in your heart.
and if you find it too difficult or scary to do this out loud,
then write a letter to Him.
Type up an email that you can always delete.
But whatever you do, however you do it, find a way to openly, honestly, and unashamedly share your true feelings with Her, no matter what.
There simply can be no relationship without vulnerable authenticity.
And If you find yourself feeling a little worried about how God will respond,
if you’re afraid He may abandon you or strike you down with lightning,
let me share with you some of my scream-fests:
I have called God a liar, an a**hole, and a jackass.
I have screamed at Him to f*** off, leave me alone, and “do SOMETHING for the love of God” (which may be a little more than ironic).
I have told Her I hate Her, I want nothing to do with Her, and I think She is cruel.
And guess what,
I’m still here.
Not only that, but He is my very best friend.
She is my first and last lover.
He is the core of my very existence.
I love Him irrevocably, and know deep within me there’s nothing He could do that would make me leave Him.
I also know She says the same about me.
So if you’re tired of broken puzzle pieces, if you want more from God than confusing signs and secret clues for you to decode,
if you want to actually hear Her talk with you like a real relationship would,
it’s time to get real.
Relationship demands it.
And the only way to begin the journey to hearing the real Him, is to give Him
the real you.
FYI: I have just created a 90 Second Guide to Hearing God for Yourself. It is a short, simply little practice I do when I am feeling distant from God. If you are wanting to practice hearing God speak to you personally, I would try that out as a good place to start. Just remember…there is a reason it’s called a practice. It will take time. But this specific practice in hearing God has really helped me through a lot of different seasons.
Lastly, I am only one person with limited experiences, so in order to help all of us in our search for more of God, leave a comment below of some of the ways you practice authenticity with God. Your experiences are the best way to help someone else experience the grace, peace, and purpose God longs to give to them.
Thanks for your time, friend, and may God meet you in your shouting.