Have you ever wondered why you feel more connected to God when you’re by the sea, during worship or helping others?
Have you ever considered, like I did, that other people might not have the same sense of nearness to God during worship times when you feel overwhelmed by His presence?
This is because God has designed us all to be unique and individual and to experience closeness to Him in different ways.
Psa 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
The ways we experience God in unique and individual ways are called ‘Spiritual Pathways’. John Ortberg has written an excellent book called ‘God is Closer Than you Think‘ in which he identifies them. After hearing some teaching on this subject I suddenly realised (although it may be completely obvious to you) that not everyone feels close to God during worship in the way that I do! This was a revelation to me because I feel His presence so strongly in worship times and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit that I thought everyone else did (d’oh).
I really enjoyed and found it helpful reading about the seven ‘Spiritual Pathways’ and how they are all so different. They are as follows:
Intellectual, Relational, Serving, Worship, Activist, Contemplative and Creation.
People with this primary pathway connect with God through learning about Him.
People with this primary pathway connect with God through being in community and around others.
People with this primary pathway feel a tangible sense of God’s presence when helping others.
People with this primary pathway seem to have a natural gift for this expression and celebration. Something inside feels released during these times.
People with this primary pathway have a passion for being involved through action and have lots of energy.
People with this primary pathway enjoy ‘quiet time’ with God when all noise and distractions are removed.
People with this primary pathway feel deeply connected to God when they are in His creation.
I personally found completing a Spiritual Pathways questionnaire helpful in understanding my primary pathways to connect with God. This helped me to prioritise opportunities to connect with God by spending time in my primary pathway, worship, alone and with others. I also feel close to God when I am serving by praying with people during ministry time, so I make sure that I serve in an area where I can do just that. In fact, when I spend time doing these things I feel alive and energised.
So, if you have wondered why your spiritual batteries feel more charged after a weekend in the country than if you had spent the weekend with friends relaxing, it might be that this is your Primary Pathway of connecting with God. Knowing how He has wired you to connect with Him can then help you intentionally plan time to do more of this.
It’s good to be open to trying the other pathways too and not limiting yourself to experience God in these other ways. It’s also imperative NOT to compare yourself with anybody else as God wired us all to connect with Him in our own way. If we try and connect with Him like our friends and others around us, who look like they are having a great time with God, we are potentially missing out on the unique and special times God wants to spend with us.
Enjoy finding out about your own Primary Spiritual Pathway and get connected!