What is that person doing? Why does she eat that? Why is he crying? Why does she worship like that? That dance style is very strange. Why does she use her time like that? Why does he pray like that? How could anyone read that and get anything out of it? It's silly to give that much money. She does too much.
In a church setting there can often be an 'us' and 'them' mindset. Some think that others are dead, dried-up people with no expression. The other lot think they are a bunch of 'out there hippies' always distracted by the weird things of this world who get carried away with their emotions.
The reality is, we are all created differently. God has created us to connect with him in different ways. You may have been sitting in church one particular Sunday morning feeling like nothing is relating to you or assisting you in any way. But then you see someone further down the aisle who is crying out to God, eyes closed, on their knees, obviously with their heart being moved by the mornings proceedings. What are our judgements?
Generally we will jump to conclusions; perhaps they have a major sin in their life that really needs dealing with, we may assume that he is putting on a big show to 'look spiritual', or possibly you should just leave him to connect with God?
Passion, balance and maturity is what we should all be striving for in our spiritual journey. How this looks, will be different for everyone. One person may connect while laying on the floor with music playing and eyes closed, whereas, another person may connect with God through reading and studying, another, from giving of their time/money. Is any one way better or more spiritual than the other? No!
Helpful way forward
Christian A Schwarz is founder and president of the Institute for Natural Church Development, located in Germany. His books on the theology and practice of church development have been published in 40 languages. In the past few years, his institute has worked with more than 65,000 churches in 72 countries. (www.3colorsofyourspirituality.org/en)
Christian is the author of 'The 3 Colors of Your Spirituality'. It portrays nine spiritual styles and helps every believer identify which one is the most natural way for them to connect with God: the sensory, rational, doctrinal, Scripture-driven, sharing, ascetic, enthusiastic, mystical, or sacramental style. Based on this fundamental discovery, the book outlines a growth path resulting in passion, balance, and maturity. (www.3colorsofyourspirituality.org/en)
Personally, this book has helped me realise that there are many differing ways to connect with God. I was extremely excited to find that there was more than MY way! It has given me a freedom to connect with Him in my natural expressive style and not expect or put boundaries on my utilisation of that. It has also helped me realise there are many other different ways that I can learn to connect with Him and give those a try! Ultimately it has opened up my eyes to the ways that others connect with him and be respectful and mindful of that, without judgement.
John 4:24 says, 'God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in Truth.'
Connecting with the Lord
So, what is an acceptable way to connect with God? If you are coming to God in Spirit and in Truth.
God knows exactly what is going on in your heart. Singing in church isn't the sole definition of true worship. True worship in spirit goes much deeper. God searches your heart. True worship in spirit is to keep Christ in your heart and mind each day; to devote every thought to Him; to praise and glorify Him with all your heart and soul each day; to humbly devote your all to Him who gave you life.
So, go and lay on the floor face first, read something, dance, get revelation from a sermon, carry your favourite picture around, quote Scripture, paint something, sing with your arms raised, sing with your arms down and your head bowed, cry, laugh, pray!
Connect with Him.
Belinda Croft is married to Russell and she has a son BJ, 11 years. She has a heart and passion for God, mission and social justice. Belinda is a part of Katalyst Church in Victoria and serves on the leadership team.
Belinda's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/belinda-croft.html