Podcast #112 Finding a theme for your spiritual walk (4:19) (Connecting with God #2)

Starting a new journey often feels intimidating. I share some prompts and questions in this episode to help you find a personal focus for your spiritual path.

Here’s the podcast transcript:

Welcome to Sabbath Cafe Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 112 – Finding a personal theme for your spiritual life.

So last time we talked about writing a letter to God. And it’s a chance to get reacquainted. I hope you at least gave it a try. I’m hoping writing a letter gave you some momentum so you can continue that dialogue with God. Today, I’ll share about how to find a theme for your spiritual life.

When you’re starting your own spiritual journey, one of the more challenging things is that now it’s more free form. It’s not as structured.  So I get questions from people asking about that because they’re used to going to church and having a sermon or Sunday school program already planned for them.  There’s a theme that’s already picked out.  And suddenly, when you start your own walk with God, and you’re like what do I focus on? What do I do?

So today, let’s look at 2 simple ways to start your own program.

The first question I often ask people is what are some verses that you’ve been thinking about lately? If there are scriptures that come to mind a lot, start writing them down.  And look it up.  Read up the whole chapter… or the whole story, if it’s about a Bible character.  The other day, I was praying, and something reminded me about Queen Esther, so I read parts of the Book of Esther.  It was very insightful and helped answer my questions.   Is your name Joseph?  Maybe you can read up on the story of Joseph.  The key is to keep your heart open and see what truths or insights jump out at you while you’re in this process.  

Another helpful question is… what’s a topic you’ve been curious about or you think about often? Is there a question you’ve been wanting to ask God about?  For a season, I was curious about prayer.  The idea that a normal person like me can influence the divine is simply fascinating.  So I went to a Bible website, and searched for all the scriptures about prayer in the New Testament.  Surprisingly, there weren’t too many in the New Testament. So I just started reading through them.  And I learned a lot about prayer from that.  

So as you can see, there are many ways you can start your own spiritual journey.

The important thing is to find something that you’re interested about so you can start a dialog with God. I’ve found that God is so ready to share His thoughts with us in a personal way… It almost doesn’t matter how or why we come to Him… As long as we do, He will take that opportunity to connect with us. So feel free to jump in wherever you’re at in your journey. 

I hope the ideas I’ve shared in this podcast have been helpful, and I hope you try it.  Have fun, and I’ll see you in the next podcast.

Reconnecting with God – (Podcast #111 script)

Lately, I’ve been focusing more on making podcasts. Here is the transcript of Podcast #111 for those that prefer to read it in blog format.
(Click here for podcast #111)

During Covid lock down, I reconnected with many friends online.  We talked a lot about how they’re doing with the changes. And as time went on, I noticed a common theme.  Because they couldn’t go to church, and couldn’t meet up with friends, they felt pretty spiritually isolated. 

I can understand that.   Especially when you’ve been in a spiritual community for a long time.  You have a worship team or a choir that brought beautiful music, and pastors and teachers who gave great messages.   Everyone brings their talents, and the whole experience is just wonderful.  But when you’re suddenly cut off from that, it throws you off balance.

And this happens at a time when we feel like we need spiritual guidance and encouragements the most. Suddenly, we feel like we’re cut off from our spiritual support.

So someone asked me how I was dealing with changes now that church has gone virtual. And I realized that God has been transitioning me and my husband for a while.  In the last few years, I’ve been mainly working on my own personal connection with God, and I’ve moved away from a community based spirituality.  

It’s not that having a spiritual community is bad, but I think for most of us, we have been so blessed with our friends and christian community that we kind of forgot how to connect with God on our own. 

Actually, our Christian faith is immensely personal.  The essence of the Christian faith is that we don’t need any more rituals. We don’t need a middle person either like a pastor or priest. We don’t need any more sacrifices or intermediaries…The real good news as Christians is that we can connect with God directly… simply as who we are.  Any time.  Any place.  We don’t need to wait for Sundays.  We don’t even need to go to a building or a temple. Jesus has done all of the work so we have the privilege to get access to God 24/7, anywhere, any time.  Not only that, He even gives us the Holy Spirit as our personal spiritual assistant. 

And this is awesome! We now have an all-access pass to God. The veil is torn, the gate is opened. There’s nothing blocking us from God anymore.  

But even though we know this in our mind, often, we can still feel intimidated approaching God by ourselves.  And that’s what many of my friends were feeling. 

So if you also feel like you don’t quite know how to talk to God on your own right now, I have a few tips and activities to help you and God get reacquainted. And I’ll be sharing that in the next few podcasts.

And the first tip I want to share with you today is to write a letter to God.  Sometimes, when you haven’t talked with a friend for a while, it can be very intimidating to call them up out of the blue.  And you feel like… it’s going to be awkward… What do I say? I feel bad I haven’t been in touch…  All of these things run through your mind. But when you write a letter, you take that pressure off. Take time to write out your thoughts.  You can also go back and delete sections you don’t like.  In a sense, you have a safe space, and you can still communicate sincerely. 

So I want to invite you to write a letter to God and share what’s been on your heart lately. The key of this exercise is to help you get comfortable in opening your heart and sharing with God again. 

In the beginning, you may feel like you don’t know what to say.  And that’s fine.  You don’t have to put pressure on yourself.  If you don’t know what to say, just write that down. You can write something like “I don’t really know what to say, but I’m taking this first step…” Just start with that and write what’s on your heart. You’ll be surprised.

So the first step I have is to write God a letter.  You can write about your frustrations or fears… Do you have any questions for God?  And even who do you want God to be for you in this season.

You can use any piece of paper to do this… but I would recommend that you start writing in a spare notebook.  Any notebook will do; just something designated as your letters to God. And that can be your private space… a private dialog between you and God.  Any time you feel spiritually disconnected, just start writing in that notebook. And see how things go.

That’s all I have for this session. Thanks for listening and enjoy your letter writing!

Podcast #111 Reconnecting with God (5:41)

Many of us feel spiritually isolated lately. In this new podcast series, I’ll be sharing some ideas to help you jumpstart your personal dialog with God. I share my first quick tip in this short episode.

Podcast #107 Connecting with God in times of crisis

Like the rest of the world, we’ve been sheltering in place for over a week now. I felt tossed about in the storm, and overrun with fear. Where do I go from here?

Podcast #102 – The Power of Remembrance

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Lately, I felt a bit disconnected from God in the midst of a stressful season. Instead of forcing myself to worship or give thanks, I took a break and remembered the last time God showed up…

My Journey With Anxiety

I wrestle with anxiety often. I’m not sure if it’s an Asian thing, but many of my girlfriends also have similar struggles.  When I was young, when my mom came home late from work, I would jump to the worst scenario possible and couldn’t shake it off.  It’s weird.  I remember having a rather carefree childhood.  Somewhere along the way, this fearful mindset snuck in.

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Agreeing with God

Do you struggle with knowing what and how to pray in the midst of differing cultural values and world views? Sometimes, the shortest prayer is the most effective prayer.

I admit, I have a love / hate relationship with social media.  I refresh my FB feeds constantly. I’m drawn to the latest top search items, the latest “trending” topics.  Boy, it is not good for my emotional well being.

This morning, I found myself at that place again – feeling emotionally overwhelmed, and confused with so many conflicting thoughts shouting through my head.  I wanted to… needed to pray and release some of that inner tension.  In the midst of the chaos, all I could say was “Yes, Lord.”

Yes, Lord. We say yes.

Yes, Lord. We agree with You.

Yes, Lord. You alone are good and just.

Yes, Lord. You alone are righteous and kind.

We agree with You.

I agree with You.

Yes, Lord.

Amen.

Lessons From a Love Story

I went to a wedding banquet recently.  The invitation came as a surprise. Our friend, the bride, has been single for over fifteen years.  She was very content with her life. Being a caretaker of an elderly parent and working a fulltime job, dating and marriage was not on the top of her priority list.  Imagine my surprise when she told me she was engaged. They decided to have a private ceremony, and we were introduced to the groom for the first time at the banquet. Knowing my friend, I was very curious to learn more about this man who swept her off her feet in a matter of months. As we all got seated at the banquet, the couple got up to address everyone, and the groom began to tell their story.

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Crafted Prayer – Praying for the long haul

How do we develop persistence and longevity when praying for cases such as long-term illness or difficult relationships?  What do we do when we are so emotionally attached to the people or situations that we feel drained and spent emotionally every time we pray? How can we pray in a sustainable way and not burn out?

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