Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spiritual Pathways

Christians don't always access God in the same way. In fact, there are various ways in which we can feel God's presence in our lives. God wants to be fully present with each of us. But because He made us to be different from one another, we are not identical in the activities and practices that will help us connect with him.

What leads you into worship?

When do you feel closest to God?

If you'd like to find out which pathway helps you best connect to God, please read through the descriptions below or take the Spiritual Pathways Assessment to find out more!

Spiritual Pathways
Relational: you connect best to God when you are with others or in significant relationships.
Relational people feel closest to God by connecting with others, deepening relationships. Living in community comes easy to you. Being alone drives you crazy. Relational people are good at entering in and sitting in the mess with others. Relational people love to be in small groups where they talk about their feelings.
Danger: People pleaser.

Intellectual: you connect best to God when you learn.
*This happens to be one of my highest. I have always loved learning, and academic environment excites me, which is probably why I became a teacher. I love listening to sermons, reading books, finding how many times the word “hope” or “wait” is in the bible, studying Hebrews, Romans, & Proverbs in my life groups, etc. these activities absolutely delight me! I feel so close to God when I read and study His word. It is a source of encouragement, excitement, comfort, and challenge for me. It thrills me to read and I desire to know my bible to know Him more. Intellectual people get nervous in small groups when people start talking about how “well to me, this verse means . . .”.
Danger: Arrogance, Legalism

Worship: I connect best to God when I worship.
Praise and adoration flow from these people. Outwardly expressive. Perhaps moved to tears or deep joy, God seems so close during worship. This is my highest. Sometimes I put my ipod in and kneel on the floor and sing and cry and shout for joy, longing to see Jesus face to face. Since I’m also highly intellectual, I love reading scriptures that bring me to my knees in worship . . . like the Psalms or Isaiah 40 or even the end of Romans 11.
Danger: Emotionalism

Activist: you connect to God when doing great things.
You have a passion to act. When you hear an injustice, something must be done!
Danger: Don’t let God become a means to an end.

Contemplative: you connect best to God in silence.
These people are observant, reflective. This is Santino, my husband. He is a contemplative intellectual so he needs quiet time. I’ve learned to keep the tv off so when he gets home our house is soothing, calm, quiet. He retreats to the study around 7:30 and I usually go in 3-17 times until he comes out. After corporate worship, he is out the door within 5 minutes. It stresses him out just thinking about how much I do in one work week or how many people I meet with. If he gets too busy or has too many people around, he feels drained.
Danger: Isolation

Serving: you connect to God while completing Kingdom tasks and helping others.
You want to know what you can “do” in a group setting or with people. This is my mother-in-law. She is always taking meals to someone, or visiting elderly friends, she’s starting answering phones at the church. The other morning Santino was cooking breakfast at 6am for his life group and she offered to come over and cook it and clean up!
Danger: Don’t get so caught up in serving, you forget you’re a child of God too. Abding in Christ is hard for those who love to serve.

Creation: you connect best to God in nature.
This is my worst one, which is weird because I’m kind of a secret hippie and I love pictures of nature and fields and oceans. However asking me to take a walk in the woods to connect to God sounds kind of horrifying. Worship is my highest, but it’s not usually when I’m looking at a sunset that I worship God most, it’s when I’m in His word, listening to music that stirs my heart or with His people (either relationally or serving). This is why when Santino takes a long bike ride on Saturday mornings, I no longer get upset. I realize that those 2 hours of alone time riding through hills and dirt and nature is equivalent to the 2 hours I spend in worship/prayer and reading through the Psalms.

The danger is saying because you’re not an intellectual pathway, you just won’t study your bible. Or because you’re not highly relational you won’t be in biblical community. The important thing is not to think there is one way to connect to God, that we all have to be like the guy behind the pulpit. We also can't let our feelings dictate our beliefs and it's a must that we read the Bible and let Truth guide our thoughts.Above all these are ways you connect to God, and although some won’t feel natural to you, they are still wonderful biblical practices that will stretch you and grow you.

So . . . did you discover your spiritual pathway?

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