I have often found that the presence of the Divine is surprisingly subtle.
Experiencing, feeling, noticing, observing, communing (or really, whatever you want to call it) with God, for me, is typically an occurrence in the quieter, more reflective spaces of my life.
This is counterintuitive to many of the religious spaces I have found myself in over the years. Places where God is equal to loud praises, loud shouts, and loud songs. And sure, God can be found here too, in fact, I think that God is accessible anywhere and everywhere.
Yet, for me I feel God when my environment errs on the side of discreet and still.
So, it was completely “on brand” that when riding my bicycle this afternoon I felt the noticeable, pressing experience of God. Gliding along the paths near Crestmoor Park I was sorting through what felt like a million feelings. I had just returned from Rwanda. Even after two weeks, I was literally gleeful to be with Chelsea again. I was considering upcoming transitions. I was thinking about weddings, fall plans, and the end of summer. I was also recalling conversations with my parents, wanting to make sure that they were both doing well after not speaking with them during my travels.
A lot was on my mind. At one point during these thoughts, I turned the corner, touching on my brakes ever so slightly when –
I felt a need for all things to be quiet – mostly the noise in my head. And so, with resistance, I silenced my questions, to-do lists, and contemplations. I existed in the moment, amidst the vibrant, green trees and slightly rocky bike paths. Suddenly, a mantra –
You are loved. You are enough. You do not have to explain yourself.
These phrases came to mind – on repeat – like a song that you just cannot get enough of. I wondered to myself: how do you know when you are skimming the line of God versus when you’re giving yourself positive self-talk?
And, the real answer is that I don’t know. I literally have no idea. However, I do have a hunch.
When I am with God, everything is in balance. Everything is with perspective. And, any thoughts I have (positive or otherwise) feel exquisitely simple and yet equally profound. It is as though my spirituality is full of reminders of love, yearnings for compassion, and fierce dedication to hope. All of this, without any of my own internal baggage. It is quite nice.
Prayers, revelations, and messages come together – time with God is never so clearly sparred out and divided like we do with our church programming. God just is.
I kept riding my bike, sifting through this nugget of faith that I was greatly welcoming. You see, connecting with God in this way has been more difficult lately. There has been so much moving around, so much change, so much distraction, to be frank. Because of that, I have missed these still moments that allow me to push further, beyond myself, so that I can access God, the Divine, and explore life from a fresher perspective – even if it is just for a moment.
Connection with God, I am learning requires connection to self. One must take the space. One must understand their identity. One must be willing to find what is available to them in any moment. God does not require a church, God does not require a certain verse or saying, God does not require a performance.
God just desires you – me – us.
Realizing this is changing my prayers, too. Today, I prayed a simple set of questions, a kind of prayer of humility:
Thank you for today.
Thank you for bringing me home.
Thank you for the love I have in my life.
My hope is to steward this love well.
Where can I grow?
Where can I learn?
Where can I forgive?
Where can I hope?
Where can I give?
Where can I receive?
Where can I support?
Teach me how to explore these spaces – whatever my resistance, whatever my disposition. May I live well. May I love well.
God, help me to not forget the richness of this life. God, be with the hungry. God, be with the lonely. Be with all of us – regardless of belief, regardless of circumstance, regardless of anything. May your presence and experience be known. May your love reign.
I love you.
Faith is both incredibly simple and extraordinarily complex.
I will forever fall short of describing my faith. I mean, how does one describe that which can only be felt?
Here’s to finding God in all kinds of places, in the most unexpected of ways.