Do you recall going into a closet where things were just thrown in, most likely to make the main room look presentable? You probably stood there staring at the heaps, unsure where to begin to find what you were looking for. Isn’t that kind of how it is at times when you are seeking God?
Life is Full of Things
Life can be so full of activities, worries, tasks, and problems that one takes on, even when they aren’t their own. Trying to find God amidst life’s clutter is like trying to see out a dirty windshield while traveling on a clear path. So whether the term is declutter or simplify, it’s all the same. Release that which is not absolutely necessary to live a simple life.
“Some buy land in the wilderness and go off the grid, others build a tiny house and declutter their stuff. The idea of having fewer bills to pay, less stuff to care for, along with becoming more self-reliable is inspirational.” Certainly, when there is less clutter, a person is able to think more clearly, to listen with one’s heart or to meditate. With clarity, you can take a deep cleansing breath that relieves stress and relaxes the body, as well as the mind.
God, Himself, through the writings of his predecessors and followers, told us: “Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, ‘I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,’ we can boldly quote,
God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?”
Free Yourself from Unnecessary Baggage
Now that you’ve worked on freeing yourself from unnecessary baggage and junk in your life, what’s next? Getting to know God better, perhaps? “How many relationships can grow if the two people don’t talk to each other? Likewise, if you’re not talking to Him, how can you get closer to God?” Okay, so you can’t see God, and you’ve never personally met Him face-to-face, so how can you develop a relationship, better yet, a friendship? Prayer is the best means. “It’s simply pouring your heart out to God. Sharing with him your sins, fears, doubts, etc. Prayer is about praying for the lives of others and thanking the Lord for all He has done.”
Take a bible or a picture of what it is believed that Jesus Christ looks like and talk to it just as you would your best friend. In most instances, your best friend is either with or talks with you on a daily basis. God, whether you pray to God the Father; Jesus Christ, His Son, or to the Holy Spirit, God will be with you at all times.
Dr. James P. Noll, Ph.D. in his writing, “How to Get Closer to God” suggests, “…each person has to ‘walkout’ their salvation. This entails their relationship with God and the daily how’s and why’s of that walk. Some day’s there will be great joy and bliss while other days you want to remove from the calendar.” If one doesn’t have bad days, how can they appreciate the good ones? Always remember that God never leaves your side. He’s always with you. On those days when you want them to pass by quickly because you’re sure the next day has to be a better one, He is with you. There’s probably a lesson for you to learn on such a difficult day. Turn to God and pray. To help you with your praying, Dr. Noll suggests using the acronym ACTS, which stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Remembering the word ACTS gives structure to one’s prayer:
- Adoration is praising God for all that He is, all that He’s made and given to the world.
- Confession asks for forgiveness for the offensive things one has done, which is known not to be pleasing to God or that which is against one of the Ten Commandments.
- Thanksgiving expresses gratitude for all the blessings one has received.
- Supplication is where requests are made.
“The thought of believing in God is not just out there to give us hope but to know that God is real. God listens to prayers and answers them if those prayers are in his will.” To repeat those last few words, “…if those prayers are in his will.” Just because you pray for something doesn’t mean it will be granted – at least not in the way you desire. God may have better plans for you. Another thing to keep in mind is that God’s time and man’s time are not the same. God doesn’t work by the clock. He answers prayers in his time.
Besides praying, reading the Bible, also referred to as “sacred reading” is another means of becoming closer to God. “The goal of ‘sacred reading,’ however, is to seek God. It’s an exercise of the heart and a process that’s led by the Holy Spirit.”
There is a procedure for reading the Bible that “Beginning Catholic” suggests: “1. Understand the scene; 2. Imagine the scene, in all its detail; 3. Consider a specific aspect of the scene; 4. Draw conclusions about that specific aspect of the scene.” For example, the Message translation of the Bible, Matthew 10:29-31, reads “What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.
While this is a relatively simple reading, it demonstrates the vastness of God’s caring. Taking the procedures named above, imagine the apostle Matthew speaking about the canary. He’s talking with relatively simple people. To know the exact scene is not possible with this reading. One could read it and conclude, “God cares about the canary and me equally. He cares about me so much that he knows every detail about me. If I’m that valuable to God, what am I doing in my life to reflect back His value to me? By taking time reading one biblical section at a time, thinking about it, praying about what it means in your life, and then drawing a conclusion, the Bible will become a valuable tool toward bringing you even nearer to God.
Now that the closet of your mind has been freed from all of that unneeded baggage, and you are cultivating a basic and regular relationship with God through prayer and bible reading, you’ve achieved the challenge of simplifying your life to become closer to God. Find time to be still and listen. God will speak to you. Inhale the peace and clarity with which you can now function, and share God’s love with others.