"What kind of idiot talks to God? Does he talk back to you? What does he even say? Is it only a few minutes or do people actually spend all day doing this kind of thing?" We were sitting in the resident lounge when I turned to my chief, Rachel, and started discussing (more like ranting about) how ridiculous this online article seemed. I was somewhere between fuming with anger and laughing in mockery that this could even be a discussion.
I was reading a relationship piece written by an atheist girl who was dating a Christian guy. They had gotten into a ton of arguments every single time religion came up, and there was no end in sight. She constantly hammered him with questions about "talking to God" and "having a daily conversation with Him" while trying not to imply that he sounded nuts. She even felt like he was cheating on her with Jesus. Her article came about after a massive fight that culminated in her screaming, "You love Jesus more than you love me!!!" to which her boyfriend calmly replied, "Yes. Yes, I do."
My immediate thought was "What kind of schmuck is this guy? Letting his girlfriend just break down, and then ignoring her feelings like that. He's got to be stupid or crazy." It was strangely reminiscent of my relationship with Jewelz. We'd argue for hours into the night every single time religion came up. It was like I was trying to wage a war on Jesus and Jewelz. How do you win against a dead guy that came back to life? Seriously.
It took me a long time before I understood what that boyfriend in the article was talking about. When I first became Christian, I was encouraged to "build a relationship with God." What does that even look like? To understand it, I had to first grasp the fundamental principles of Christianity.
Christians believe that God made the universe. They also believe that He plays an active role in it. He is everywhere at all times and knows exactly what we are thinking and feeling at all times. Therefore, in the same way people talk to a deceased family member's grave when they "aren't there" anymore, we can choose to direct our conversation to God anywhere and at any time because He's "always there" even when He isn’t physically present.
The process of learning to talk to Him takes time. It's definitely weird at first. What do you say? Anything and everything. For me, it started off with gratitude. Despite the pain from the recent breakup, I was thankful for the realization of every way God had stepped into my life (especially through the 5 Pillars). Eventually, I opened up about my thoughts, my worries, my fears. Even my joys. My wishes, my wants, and my hopes for the future. Of course, being omniscient, He already knows it all. So why bother telling Him? Because when you tell Him, something starts to change within you. You start listening for a reply. And then all of a sudden…
God starts to talk back.
Not a physical voice, but through the recollection of lessons you've learned about how to live your life. From where? The Bible. The Word. God's Word. (Get it?) People reflect on all sorts of ways they can handle their problems and circumstances, and often they'll cling on to some random idea that sounds good. However, the principle behind that idea may not actually be as wise as we consider it to be.
Let's take the principle of "an eye for an eye." It sounds great, right? Say someone shoves me in line to get coffee and doesn't apologize. I'm in a rush to get to work, so I shove him back to get to the creamer first. He's obviously a jerk and deserves it anyway, right? Once I shove him, we're technically even, and we can happily move on with our lives. He then comes back to shove me out of the way to try to get out through the door first. Wtheck bro?!
Coffee in Oslo <3
"An eye for an eye" promotes revenge that continues to escalate beyond the original problem. Even if the debt is repaid, it creates resentment within the initial perpetrator and pride within the initial victim. These feelings will lead to behaviors that inflict pain back and forth, creating a cycle of destruction and negativity that eats away at us from within. So how do you break the cycle?
You talk to God. You listen to God. And eventually, you hear His words. In this scenario, after that guy shoved me aside, I would have chosen to act how God tells me to in the Bible… to show that guy grace. To forgive him and not do the same to him. That's how God talks to me. That's how He influences my life. He speaks within the moments of chaos and in the quiet of my reflections. He answers by helping me understand what the right course of action is, and He answers through coincidences and blessings in my daily life, big and small (knowing which ones are truly God inspired is a whole conversation of its own).
So what kind of idiot talks to God?
This kind. Me. I'm an "idiot" that talks to God, and I'm not ashamed of it. It's transformed me into a better person than I've ever been, and it's by far the best conversation I've ever had.