Four Simple Ways to See God More
My husband and I have owned five of the thirteen places we’ve called home. (We’ve been married for fifteen years. You do the math.) Each time we began a house-hunting adventure, this crazy phenomenon happened. Suddenly, I saw “For Sale” signs everywhere. I’d be driving down a busy street only to see a sign in a yard, pump the brakes, mom-arm the kid next to me, and turn that van around Vin Diesel-style. The property may very well have been on the market for months. But suddenly, I saw it—because now I was paying attention.
I’ve found the same to be true about seeing God. When I am actively looking for Him, signs of His presence start popping up. I begin to see little glimpses of His graces hiding in people and places that have been there all along. Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV) says,
Seeking God is essential to seeing Him. But that doesn’t mean it comes naturally. We must build practices into our lives that keep us on the prowl—at work, the school pick-up line, the book we’re reading, or the sinus infection that just won’t quit.
You could probably find 1,001 different habits to help you see God more, but here are a few simple, tried-and-true methods that work for me. They may seem a little elementary at first glance, but please take a second to consider how these practices might change how you see God.
1. Get alone.
I have four kids who are up in my armpits ninety percent of the day. Solitude is a novelty, especially at this stage of life. But time alone—away from people and phones and distractions—helps quiet my heart and calm my nerves. Even ten minutes of alone clears out the clutter in my head so that I can come back ready to engage with the world around me (and provide yet another snack).
Build solitude into your day. Even little moments add up and give you fresh eyes. Alone time can happen in the early morning, when you step away from your cubicle to walk a quick lap around the office building, or when you have to “go to the bathroom” (lock that door and take some chocolate with you).
2. Take time to reflect.
It was Plato who said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Boy, do I believe this to be true.
Reflection—taking time to think about your day and your decisions, your emotions and your motivations—keeps you from being a bystander to your own life. When you build reflection into your habits, life doesn’t just “happen” to you. You are no longer carried away by your circumstances, like a helpless victim who wakes up one day and wonders how she got there. Instead, through reflection, you become engaged. You glean insight. You see the gentle nuances of God’s presence, the eternal significance of seemingly little things. But only when you pay attention.
For me, reflection occurs when I write. But for others, it might happen during a daily walk, a morning cup of coffee, or picking up a paintbrush.
3. Listen to stories.
Only in the last year have I started listening to podcasts. But in that time, I have fallen fast and hard. Here’s why: I love hearing people’s stories. My favorite podcast to date is Jamie Ivey’s The Happy Hour. This podcast features real women telling real stories about real life. They talk about their journeys (from failure to infertility to building multimillion-dollar companies), and as they do, they point out how they have seen God.
When I listen, I make connections between what I have experienced and the wisdom these women share. Call it an “aha” moment or a breakthrough—whatever you want. All I know is that stories about God help me make sense out of the mess going on in and around me.
We are wired to connect with God through story. Whether through podcasts or (even better) sitting down with another human, stories are a crucial part of our ability to see God. Why else would His Word be chock full of them?
4. Read the Bible.
Okay, don’t roll your eyes or skip this one. I’m not trying to give you a Sunday-School answer here. But the reality is that when it comes to seeing God, you can find no substitute for reading the Bible. As a young mama in those weary breastfeeding-in-the-middle-of-the-night days, I told myself it was okay that I wasn’t reading my Bible so much. I was tired. I was covered in spit-up. Friends told me I got a free pass.
While we must have grace with ourselves in these seasons (I couldn’t have tackled a Beth Moore study if I tried), God’s Word cannot be replaced. Our hearts need it. Our eyes need it to see. God’s Word has no substitutes. So even if you only read a verse or two, remember that Scripture is essential to seeing God.
The signs are everywhere, friend. God does not hide Himself from those who are looking. He wants to be known. He wants to be seen. He wants you to know the fullness of His presence right where you are. But first, you must seek Him.