I don’t shy away from spirituality, but I don’t believe I’ve ever explicitly blogged about it either, save my most viewed post to date, The Celibacy Syllabus. I grew up in a Christian home, and I attended church every Sunday, but somewhere along the way my faith became a matter of tradition as opposed to religion, the latter word being defined here as a pursuit of supreme importance. Transitioning into adulthood, when I felt myself drifting or it felt like the walls of life were closing in on me, there was this spiritual foundation on which I was raised to fall back on. Now, that religious beginning is a matter of expanding in a personal relationship with God.
One of my most exciting discoveries has been access to His voice. It took years of life experience and tears to search for and recognize it. If I’m quiet, it’s easily found. This particular trip to the beach afforded me the opportunity to experience him through conversation in a very fulfilling way. I emphasize the word conversation, because all too often I believe we miss opportunities to hear from Him when we dominate the speaking floor. I have found that I no longer go to Him just to ask for things. I don’t treat Him as a bank that I withdraw from but rather one I also deposit into. I wanted to share with you the things that I get from accessing God’s voice.
His presence is a reward for my efforts to move closer to Him. We often think of God’s limitless provision in terms of tangible or material things He gives us, but his voice is an invaluable gift we get from maintaining a communicative relationship with him.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
When I feel like I’ve fallen, I’m no longer surprised that he still speaks words into my life, because He wants for me to do and be better. I find comfort in knowing He won’t condemn me, that He’s interested in what I have to say, and He’s patient to steer me away from negative thoughts and through difficult situations. Prayer is expression that allows us special friendship with Him.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
As I share more of what’s on my heart with God and He reveals himself, I become more confident in being vulnerable and honest with Him about things He already knows. I also become increasingly confident in self, because knowing God means knowing who I am. I have greater determination for my identity to be found in Him.
But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
I Corinthians 6:17
Walking along this stretch of beautiful creation, I found God in his voice, in the steady breeze, the sun on my skin, the blue of the sky, and the crash of the waves. Conversations with Him make me more aware of His omnipresence, and I’m able to experience peace in life knowing that He’s there and listening wherever I go. If ever I struggle to hear from God, I remind myself that it’s because I’ve drifted away, not because he’s moved or changed. Everyone accesses and experiences God in different ways, but most important for you to remember is that if you start listening, He’s always talking.
Photography: Keith Nixon