If praying on your knees just doesn’t cut it, you don’t need to categorize yourself as hopelessly “unspiritual.” The hardest thing about developing a relationship with God is it’s an intensely personal experience. You can’t completely explain it to someone else and someone else’s experience is not totally accessible to you. Yet, despite that, we are forever trying to fit ourselves into one religious box or another and compare our experience to that of others. To complicate matters further our encounters with God are often sporadic and may seem vague or intangible.
James Houston, a renowned author and professor, acknowledged that we can’t simply meet God as others meet, because God will only meet us in an “authentic place”—that place within ourselves that is unprocessed, candid and sincere. To meet God you have to find that place inside where you can truly be yourself.
Finding that place has to be a priority in our life of faith. To know God is also to know yourself because when you get in touch with who you really are, your nature, what drives and motivates you and your deepest desires, then you are ready to meet your Heavenly Parent face-to-face. The difficulty is that this requires us to overcome our greatest fears —am I good enough? Am I loveable for who I am?
Understanding your spiritual style is liberating because it frees you from the burden of trying to respond in ways that don’t work for you and allows you to acknowledge and celebrate who you were created to be. You can discover how God does speak to you using your spiritual style. Perhaps journaling is the medium through which you offer your heart to God and hear His voice speaking softly back to you between the pages.
Take the God Language Quiz
In her book, What’s Your God Language, Dr. Myra Perrine describes nine spiritual temperaments or personality types.
• The Naturalist
• The Sensor
• The Traditionalist
• The Ascetic
• The Activist
• The Caregiver
• The Enthusiast
• The Contemplative
• The Intellectual
It’s possible to have a combination of two or more of these temperaments in the personality. Understanding individual spiritual style is liberating because it frees us from the burden of trying to respond in ways that don’t work. It allows each of us to acknowledge and celebrate our uniqueness.
Be Who You Are
Being who you are not only allows you to discover your relationship with God but opens up possibilities in other relationships as well.
We sometimes fail to honor the individuality or uniqueness of those we are closest to. We might think our spouse should parent the same way we do, we easily assume they should connect to God in the same way. This of course leads to separation instead of closeness and then judgment creeps into the relationship.
Unity in the family is not about everyone being the same but a harmony born out of embracing each other for who we are. As we become more aware of each other’s God language we can support one another’s journey and also find the way that we can create a shared life of faith as a family – discovering what works for us. It is in that atmosphere that each person can find God and experience the divinity in each other.
This is time honored wisdom. John Calvin wrote in 1530, “Our wisdom….consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of these two precedes and gives birth to the other.”
Many of us get to the end not really knowing who we are. We may even reflect back on our lives and feel like we lead someone else’s life or at the very least someone else’s expectations for us. Understanding our own spiritual style and God language can help us find our connection to our Heavenly Parent so that we can realize our divine value and lead a life we love.