“My Relationship with God” is a series of reflections written by the Rev. Susan Bowman to help you develop and maintain an ongoing relationship with God. It is available by a $5 monthly subscription. Here’s what it’s all about:
HOW IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD?
I grew up as an Episcopalian in the 1950’s and 1960’s in southeastern Virginia. We were quiet Protestants, praying only when we had a prayer book in our hands. The idea of a “personal relationship with God or Jesus” was not part of our spiritual or religious life. In fact, the mere mention of this intimate connection with the Almighty was enough to cut off any conversation. The result of this aversion to such an unlikely possibility was a spiritual life that, for most of us, was non-existent; for those who actually did have a prayer life, it was extremely personal and never discussed in polite company.
The result of this upbringing for me was a life that was bereft of any personal connection with God. I believed in God on one level but it was purely intellectual. I had no understanding of the spiritual side of my human nature – I didn’t even know I had one. I prayed but only in worship services with my Book of Common Prayer and I knew God as a Biblical construct which had no form or image but was, in my mind, the object of worship in church on Sundays. I never even considered that I could have any encounter with God on my own; this was only a result of the minister’s pleas in the printed prayers and when the worship service was over, that encounter would also have ended.
By the time I entered seminary at the age of 34, I was an ignorant Christian who thought I was a good Episcopalian. While I was sadly lacking in Biblical knowledge, I considered myself a faithful Christian and it wasn’t until the first days of the required Spiritual Theology class that I came face to face with my own non-existent spiritual relationship with God. As I listened to the Professor talk about prayer life, meditation, and daily conversations with God. I realized just how bereft I was. I don’t know about the other students, but I was suddenly ashamed of my ignorance of all of Dr. Hughes’ obvious spiritual accomplishments.
It was a rude awakening for me. Here I was, a seminary student who had never spoken directly and personally to God and who had no clue how to go about doing that. About that time, I heard Dr. Hughes talking about meditating and telling us how to start with deep breathing, relaxing, and letting go of everything. As I looked up, he put his hands on his head in the shape of large claws and said, “And if you do it right,” he scratched his head with his claw-like fingers, “you’ll feel it.” I looked at him and thought, “Oh no, I’m sunk! I don’t want to do that!” My only solace came from the hooting and laughing of my classmates after class who thought Dr. Hughes had gone off his rocker. I was not alone in my horror at the strange suggestions of our Professor but I went home knowing that I had to do something about my spiritual emptiness.
Have you ever found yourself in this predicament? Have you ever come to the realization that you have never met God up close and personal and then realized that it was possible to do that and you don’t know how? There’s no better help for anything than what comes from somebody who has been there so I invite you to join me in a search for spiritual wellness. Subscribe now to “My Relationship with God” for a weekly reflection on such topics as God’s desire to have a relationship with us, our desire and need to have a relationship with God, what God expects from us and what we can expect from God, where to start, what to do and what’s not helpful, how to do what is helpful, where to get help, what is a “prayer life” and how to develop and maintain one, and many others. For only $5 a month, you can sign up now .