There is no single path for finding God that will work for everyone. Seeking to find, to know, to understand and to connect with God is, for most people who claim success, a lifelong process.
As a devoutly religious person myself, I found that religion helps me to find and understand God. While I remain a flawed human being with countless failings, I do believe in a personal God who is aware of me and concerned about me. I am confident that God is also aware of you and concerned about you, too. God wants you to make the connection.
Finding your connection to the divine may start by seeking to understand your own feelings, your roots. For many people, the foundational principles about deity they were taught as children have a special resonance or at least relevance. You may wish to start there.
Harking back to your roots may give you a place to start — literally. If your parents took you to church, a synagogue, temple or other place of worship, you could return there. Often, a sacred place will evoke feelings and emotions that may allow you to connect not only with the past, but with God in the present.
If you still find yourself unsure about the existence of God — and such doubts in a world with abundant food and nearly a billion hungry people seem natural — you can seek out learning from a variety of sources.
The literature written in the largely academic battle between atheists and theists personally leaves me wanting. In recent years, however, two particular books have provided interesting perspectives on faith in the divine from converted scientists. The Language of Godby Francis Collins and Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander III provide compelling stories that affirm faith in the divine. Collins ultimately makes a case for his particular brand of Christianity, but that short summary isn’t nearly so compelling as his larger case for the existence of God as evidenced by science. Alexander’s book is purely non-denominational.
Finding God in your life may begin with little more than a hope that such a being exists. As you begin to seek a divine influence in your life and open your heart to it, your hope will likely mature into faith.
As you seek and develop faith, you may also find or develop a philosophical view about many things in life, including your comportment. The more you live your life in harmony with that view — the closer to God you are likely to find yourself becoming.
Most religious world views argue for doing good toward others and toward nature. Even if you are still flummoxed by religion and feel uncertain about deity, you may find yourself connected to God by serving other people or protecting the environment. Connecting with a cause that stirs your passions and motivates your best behavior may be a way to build a relationship with the divine.
Many religions suggest a connection among people in a human family, that we are creations of God. You may find that by serving the underprivileged and downtrodden, the vulnerable and infirm, you can connect not only with these who have equal claim on the earth’s resources yet unequal share in them, but you may also find a connection there to the divine.
Finally, you may wish to seek personal contact with God through prayer. Though different religions use a variety of models for prayer, it is easy for the novice to believe that a God who is willing to connect with individuals would certainly put substance over form. A favorite prayer, attributed to an ancient American Indian king, begins, “Oh God ... if there is a God, and if thou art God, please make thyself known unto me.” That seems like a good place to start.
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.