I was sitting in a circle of high schoolers, listening to them talk about God and life and stuff, when I noticed one of the guys obviously had something on his chest to say. He listening as well as he could, but he was moving around a lot, and not really adding to the conversation. When he couldn’t wait any longer; when he couldn’t hold it back, this came out:
“Look guys, it’s fine to say that we’re Christians and all. It’s fine to say you love God. But you don’t really mean it. I mean, I talk to my friends, and they say, ‘I love God’. And then I ask them why they’re going to the college they’re going to, and they say, ‘Because I like the campus’ or ‘Because they have a good sports program’. They don’t even bring God into it. If we really love God, if we really believe He is who He says He is, shouldn’t He be part of that? Shouldn’t He be part of every decision we make? A major part of our life?”
And he’s right. We do lip-service to God. We say we love Him, we might pray over our dinner, and we definitely pray when things aren’t going our way, but often, that’s about it. And really, God should be more involved than that.
So, what does that mean? God’s not exactly in physical form these days. He can’t hang out at a coffee shop with you and tell you what to do next. Even if He was, I’m not sure He’d give you the next three how-to steps of life. But I think He still wants to know. He wants you to talk to Him. I know He wants to know what you’re thinking, why you’re feeling the way you are, all of that. I mean, sure, He’s God, so He already knows. But…but He likes hearing it from our mouths too. He desires that sort of relationship with us. He wants to be one of the people you tell everything to.
But how? If you can’t sit on a couch with God, or go on a hike with Him, and tell Him face-to-face what’s going on, than…..how? For me, I journal. It’s how I pray. If I don’t write it down, my mind wanders. If I write it down, at least there’s some sort of physical aspect going on in the conversation, and I can pay better attention. And if God’s telling me something, I write that down too.
And because I have this relationship with God, I do ask Him what He thinks about the decisions I have to make. I want to know what He’s thinking. After all, He’s God. If we can talk to Him, it makes sense to get His take on things as often as possible, right?
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty sure it’s okay to not ask God which cereal He wants you to eat in the morning. I know people who pray before choosing which outfit to wear each day. And sure, it’s great to have that posture of prayer and openness. But…God also gave you a brain and a fashion sense for a reason. So it’s okay to not necessarily ask Him about every little thing (“God, do you want me to go to class today?” Chances are, yes, He does.) However, when it comes to something you think God might be interested in (like college, or friends, or attitude, or well, you fill in the blank) ask Him! He might give you direction; He might let you use that incredible mind He gave you and use your logic.
I was told once, as a child, that the reason God called David a man after His own heart is because David always asked God’s opinion before making a decision. I don’t know if that’s the reason or not, but if you look through David’s story, he did – at least in the beginning, when Saul was out to get him. There were many times when David’s actions didn’t make sense to the men who followed him because his actions were in obedience to God, not to himself. And maybe that’s what went wrong. Maybe sleeping with Bathsheba and Uriah’s death and David’s family issues (talk about dysfunctional!) all happened because David stopped talking to God. Maybe David thought he had it all figured out. Or got tired of listening, or….I have no idea. He still loved God, that’s obvious in his response to Nathan’s correcting David after Uriah was killed. But you can love someone without talking to them all the time.
So, my suggestion is to start talking to God – just a normal conversation during the empty moments of your day that you usually fill with music from your ipod or maybe even TV or video gaming or texting. Tell Him how your day went. Ask Him what He thinks about global warming (just kidding. I mean, you can, but, really? THAT’s what you’re going to ask Him about? He’d probably rather you ask Him what shirt to wear tomorrow. No, seriously, He wants to hear your heart. ). He’s the God of the universe, the one who created the world, the one who imagined you and smiled when you were formed. He’s also a good listener. But don’t just take my word for it – go find out for yourself!