I can remember the first time my husband and I were going on a long bike ride together. He just got into cycling, and this was going to be my first ride along with him. I was so excited because I couldn’t wait to connect and talk side by side for like an hour. We went out to our front yard, got on our bikes, clipped our shoes in and off we went.
Ten seconds later, he puts in his headphones. And I flipped my lid.
“What are you doing? I thought we were going on a bike ride together?” To which he replied, “we are” while putting his headphones back in, and continued pedaling.
I was shocked. How could he possibly do this to me?! He asks me on a bike a ride and then puts in his headphones? Did he really think I wanted to ride my bike beside him to just “be in nature”?? Blech.
And it was through trial and error, we learned we connected to each other differently.
I let him know my idea of fun and connecting was riding so that we can talk about our feelings the whole time. His idea of connecting was being active together in nature.
Recently, I read through the book Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas. In this book, he talks about how each of us connects to God in different ways. Let me be clear: not, “there are different ways to God” – Jesus is the only Way – but we will all connect to Him, or draw near to Him differently.
Jesus is the only Way – but we will all connect to Him, or draw near to Him differently.
It was so freeing for me to read that God has made different avenues for us to connect to Him. It helped release me from the burden that I must connect to God the same way my mentor does, or my pastor does, or my husband does. It also helped me discover the Gospel is about meeting God daily and delighting in His presence often, so that I can walk in and remember the Good News of Jesus. If I am trying to fit into someone else’s personality or design for connecting to God, I may not grow the way He intends.
Have you ever thought about how you connect to God? Or are you just trying to do what you think you’re supposed to do? My husband connects to God in nature, hiking and seeing his creation, so should I do that too? My friend feels closest to God when caring for people, so I guess I better go volunteer at the retirement home?
Just because someone else draws near to God one way, doesn’t mean we all we connect to Him in that same way. Maybe some of these nine pathways will help you draw near to God to know Him and worship Him more.
1. Naturalists draw near to God through nature. These are people who love to go on hikes, stand on the beach, retreat to the mountains and experience God.
2. Sensates draw near to God through the senses. These are people who connected to God using all of their senses. A slow and flavorful meal, good smells, or tactile lessons help Sensates connect to God.
3. Traditionalists draw near to God through ritual and symbol. These are people who love liturgical services, incense, or readings from prayer books.
Just because someone else draws near to God one way, doesn’t mean we all connect to Him in that same way.
4. Ascetics draw near to God through solitude and
simplicity. These are people who find nearness to God by being alone, sometimes even in a solitude retreat.
5. Activists draw near to God through bringing about social change. These are the people who hear of an injustice and feel closest to God when working toward change and fighting for the oppressed.
6. Caregivers draw near to God through caring for and serving others. These are people who feel closest to God when meeting needs, bringing meals, caring for the elderly, the lonely, and the brokenhearted.
7. Enthusiasts draw near to God through celebration and mystery. These are people who love to experience God through excitement and awe.
8. Contemplatives draw near to God through personal adoration and heartfelt devotion. These are people who meet God on their knees in prayer, through deep thought of his character.
9. Intellectuals draw near to God through their minds. These people draw near to God through study. They meet God through scripture, doctrine, and books.
So just as my husband and I connected to each other differently, so will each one of us when it comes to God.
Have you found your spiritual life to be dry lately? Distant? Non-existent? Perhaps it’s time to look at finding your spiritual pathway. Maybe try something new. If you connect best to God in solitude and never spend time alone, maybe find a way to do that. If you draw near to God by fighting in injustice, rally some friends and get after it!
God is creative, has uniquely made each of us, and gives us freedom for how we foster intimacy with Him.
While God has given us direct commands to know and obey His statutes, and reading the Word is a foundational way we can grow in the LORD, God is also creative, has uniquely made each of us, and gives us freedom for how we foster intimacy with Him.
If you’re not sure of your pathway, you can take the quiz here.Or you can buy the book!
We’d love to hear if one of these pathways resonates with you. Please share!
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