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Spiritually Stronger Outside of Church

Striving for Authentic Connections

For two years, I attended church consistently. I met many wonderful people and was even part of the music worship team. I learned about stories from the bible that I could not understand on my own, and the pastor made each story relatable to everyday life. I was even baptized at the beach and found my way back to God. It was a beautiful experience. The kids department is full of energy and relates with children on a personal level that I've never seen. Kids were excited to go to church because it was fun. I will always recommend this to church to anyone in my area. However, the longer I attended, the more I realized I wasn't growing spiritually with God. Receiving advise about what to read in the Bible is fantastic, but there comes a point where you want to read the bible for your own understanding and connect with God on your own. I can sing for God all day long on a stage, but only through silence can I truly hear what God is saying to me. I had to take a step back from all the noise so I could truly find the connection with God I was craving.

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Steps to Connect with God at Home

My mind and heart are always open to "intuition" when I am alone, in silence, or in nature. As well all know, Jesus taught to many in the fields. Being outdoors in the countryside is a p place to connect with the Lord. Hearing the birds sing that He created or listening to the creeks flow for all to enjoy puts me in a state of mind that appreciates the small things. I am more apt to listen to my "gut feeling" (which I believe to be God). In the church, I don't have many of these feelings, and I think this is because I have little time to listen to anything but the service that is being provided. I'm not saying church is a bad thing, but I think when a person spends most of their time in church thinking of ways to reach out to the public they forget the real reason why they are attending church in the first place: to connect with God. When I rise and before I go to bed, I try to talk to God. I'll thank him for the people in my life, ask Him to keep them safe, give me strength to get through tough situations, or for me to find peace with difficult situations. I don't always pray like I should, but I actively try to speak to Him each day so I can make the best decisions everyday for the rest of my life and to be a good person. Since I'm a music lover, I'll pull up a YouTube video with instrumental music with bible versus popping up on the screen while I read my bible, an inspirational book, or writing in a journal. Sometimes I'll listen to podcasts about connecting with Jesus or follow positive social media pages that focuses on being a better person. I love listening to the local radio station that plays worship music or even songs that have a positive message in general. I tend to stray away from negative messages that may get me down. Also, socializing with positive people makes me want to be a better person and stay connected with God. I've also learned to look for things that touch my soul. It could be through an activity or a person. I like to keep those people and activities in my life because I feel like the best version of myself. For example, I feel amazing when I am able to touch another person by a poem I write as opposed to feeling good about a compliment someone gives me on my appearance. Both are nice, but feeling good about something that touches another human being is a far cry from a feeling of pride. I look for authentic moments that means something rather than moments of happiness that will last for a short period of time.

Prayer to Jesus (A Poem by Me)

Jesus, bless these praying hands

Grace us with peaceful lands

Guide our actions through the day

Mold our decisions through the clay

Jesus, bless family and friends

Help them to transcend

Inspire all to shine

Assist mankind to age like fine wine

Jesus, please forgive my sins

Walking with you is where my life begins

You remind me to wash my neighbor's feet

Without expectation while being discreet

Jesus, hear me praise your name

Hear my voice through song and flame

Restore the lack of people's faith

Fear is an easy route of escape

Jesus, frame my choices to be pure

Boost my confidence so I am secure

The light inside me gleams through you

Feeling your presence is a grand review

Jesus, pinpoint my gifts

Give me passion so my talent may exist

Point me down the proper road

Help me walk the path of love overflowed

Jesus, remind me to close my eyes

And talk to you in the mornings before I arise

My hope in you keeps me optimistic

That your promise of eternity is realistic

By: Brittany Benko

In Conclusion

1. Slow down

If you want to stay connected, slow down so the holy spirit can get your attention. It is hard to hear what is being said to you when your life is so busy to the point that you have trouble sleeping. God's light will shine if we have room to let Him in.

2. Meditate/Pray

This creates openings for the creator to reveal Himself. Think of meditation as a way to experience God in your body, emotions, heart, and mind. Prayer is more of a conversation.

3. Enjoy being outside

Find a sacred place among God's creations to help you quiet your mind. It could be a walk by the sea, the river, a lake, the mountains, or even a hiking trail. Just make sure your desired place is far enough from city distractions so you can soak in the beauty and wonder of God's landscapes.

4. Find God Within

Finding God is as easy as finding him within yourself. Explore all the things you have done to make the world a better place, no matter how small.

5. Look for God in Others

This will truly change the way you view the world. Remember you are a part of God's family, and that involves every person who is on this earth. Realize not everyone you meet will want what is best for you. Instead of getting upset, look at that person as a lesson and move on with your life.