I have no idea how to start this post, really. I’ve begun with a million different openers, but none seem to really grasp my feelings.
I don’t know the first thing about Religion. I am not religious. I am spiritual. I do believe in a Higher Power, and I do believe in Jesus. I believe he died on the cross, for me.
I do not attend Church, though I was raised Catholic and had First Communion when I was 12. I regularly attended as a child, and grew up saying the Our Father, praying over large family dinners, and having impactful relationships with leaders in the church during troubling times, like my mother’s death. I cannot say that in this time though, that I had a relationship with Jesus. I don’t think I believed. It was just the “right” thing to be doing. I think I wanted to believe, but I still had so many questions, so many doubts.
So no surprise, when I became an adult, I drifted away from it all. Instead of KNOWING a Higher, Universal Intelligence existed, I leaned into things like coincidence when positive things happened to me, and karma when bad things happened to me. When things got really bad, and I was in a ball curled up crying, sure, I would throw out a “Jesus, why me?” with my sobs. Did I really talk with Jesus? No. Did I call him out when I was desperate AF? Sure. Don't we all?
Fast forward to last Thanksgiving. I was nose deep in a book called The Reason For God, listening to it on Audible. I have no idea why I decided I needed to read this book. I think I just wanted to KNOW, once and for all, what I actually believed. God was real or he wasn’t. I wanted to know exactly where I stood, and allow that belief to chart a course for how I’d live going forward.
Either everything in life has been left up to chance, or everything in life is controlled by a Higher Power.
Thanks to THAT book, thanks to Timothy Keller, I personally know that YES, there is a God. I needed everything that had happened to me in my life, to bring me to that specific moment, in my car, listening to that book, that chapter, that sentence. When it all clicked, it all fell into place. I had my coming-to-Jesus moment, on the side of the road, sobbing into my hands, because I finally, finally, knew.
But shit, what does that mean for me?
I will be honest and tell you, I don’t like most Religious people. In fact, they annoy the shit out of me with their holier-than-thou attitude. I'm also not trying to force people to believe something, and in no way shape or form, so I think my understanding needs to be everyone else's understanding. We all have our lives, that we gotta live, and we gotta live them in alignment with our beliefs. It just so happens that I believe in God.
I don’t care what you do, what you believe, if you swear, go to Church, are in a same-sex marriage, have been divorced (yikes, almost all of those are me). What you do, does not concern me. I believe in one thing - and that is love. Love everyone. It is not our place to pass judgement. Thank goodness, what a tough job. No, thank you!
I believe in staying conscious, present, and connected with Universal Intelligence (I call that God), you can call it Karma, or whatever. We were put on this Earth, each of us very unique, with a set of goals and desires that are God-given. De-sire literally means “of the Father.” For me then, to wholly glorify God, means to awaken, hone, and craft, the traits and desires that make me unique.. (If you have a desire to kill baby bunnies, that’s not a desire given from God, sorry).
I desire to be a good wife. To be a good sister. To be a good dog mom, and real mom (one day). I desire to make money, so that I can provide for my family, my community, and give back. I desire to help people, to inspire people and to live inspired.I believe that the energy we put out there (I do this through prayer and manifestation) is returned to us by the Universe (God).
There’s a lot I don’t know, and don’t understand, and a lot I am not sure I believe in. But I do know that being reminded regularly of His incredible love for me, and this powerful relationship I have with Him, gives me the energy to go about even my most trying days. It gives me peace, calm, patience, and reminds me that I am never, ever, alone. And that I am strong enough, powerful enough, and have the tools, to fulfill my desires. Anything less, I think, is to sacrifice the gifts the Universe has given us.
Have I lost you yet in all those whoo-whoo mumbo jumbo?
I started this post because so many of you have expressed an interest in having a better relationship with Jesus or getting into a habit of regularly reading the Bible, and wonder what my routine is, what it is I’m reading, and how do I go about doing it. This next part is for you!
So first we need to understand why reading the Bible is even important.
The Bible is the Word of God. It’s really the only written account we have, all the stories are God-inspired. This a book we read to seek understanding. The Bible is not a “how-to” guide. If you perceive the Bible in this way, you’ll realize just how dated much of the guidance is. Instead, consider the stories as bits of inspiration to be interpreted in a way that helps you LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE (remember, your desires are given to you by The Father, living your best life then - is living out those desires). It’s a book that brings us close to Jesus, reminds us of the promises He’s made to us, and that he loves us, no matter what. I think filling your cup every day with these reminders is pretty powerful.
We live in a world where it’s so easy to become disconnected from this higher, universal intelligence. TV, social media, work, commuting, kids, bills, all have a way of crushing us, of sucking the air out of the room. Regularly communing with the Universe, regularly thanking God for what you have, and asking for more of what you want, is how we fill our cup, and most importantly: keep it full.
The Universe has your back. God has made it so.
My routine is simple. I take 10 minutes out of my day, usually first thing in the morning, before I’ve had the time to get lost in work or other distractions. I find a nice place to sit, grab my pencil pouch, my Bible, and my devotional.
I’ve had this particular Bible since I was in my early 20’s. I bought it from the College Bookstore. It’s a Student Application Bible. Meaning they’ve taken various stories out of the bible, and in little blurbs, have applied it to young adult, student life. It doesn’t really apply to me anymore, but it is a Bible, all the same. I linked something similar here.
Next, I bought myself a Devotional. It’s a 365 Day Devotional called Jesus Calling. There are so many really wonderful daily devotionals out there! But I am committed to this one for the year.
My devotional has a short blurb for the day, a summary, that applies to real life, and below it, a few scripture references from the Bible that reinforce the message. It’s these references that I pull up them, in my Bible, and read more thoroughly.
More recently, I’ve started doodling through this process. I have some highlighters, gel pens, notecards, and as I’m reading the word, I’m writing it down, highlighting what’s resonating with me, underlining important bits, etc. I feel so much more connected to the message in this way. I typically write on a notecard, cut the card down, and then tape it into my Bible.
I’m a very tactical learner, and when I’m talking or “processing” I need to be doing something with my hands, so I either write a passage directly from the Bible that resonated with me, or part of the Devotional message for the day.
A relationship with God is like any other relationship - it takes two. You gotta nurture it. It’s not a one sided street. Like any relationship, it requires trust and faith. And diving into the Bible every day with the help of a Devotional, is a huge way for me to keep my relationship alive, thriving, and to keep myself immersed in the goodness of the Universe.
Looking for a quick dose of inspiration? Peep the “Faith” Highlights on my Instagram page. There I share the passages and summaries that really resonate with me.
This is a really personal journey for me, thanks for following along as I continue to grow!