What an honest, for-real question.
Let’s talk about it.
Straight to it. Yeah, I think it does.
For myself, I know it does and has most definitely in immeasurable ways in the past.
What about for other people? Yeah, I think so there, too. I think that it certainly could.
A moment please, to assuage any suspicions of this Alabama Christian that may arise.
This is not a question I take lightly.
Yes, I’m a Christian. Yes, I’ve grown up in a Christian culture in a Christian family and in a largely Christian town. And yes, I’ve only been a resident of a Western country.
So mmm hmmm, I’m biased.
However, I do use my mind.
Though I do not read directions when something from Amazon comes and has to be assembled, and I look at the ingredients of a recipe and just throw them in a pan and guess at the measurements, and I can never remember how to spell rhythm …. or is it…rhythym??? and I still have no clue what a widget is.
Even with those shortcomings, I consider myself a critical, skeptical, and curious thinker.
And my decision to believe in God is not something that’s been a one-and-done since a young age. I’ve had several significant periods (and at least two whoppers) of searching, doubting, whining, questioning, and researching.
It’s not something that’s always been secure. It’s something I like to check in on regularly, for maintenance and updates, as I do with my Chromebook.
And every decade or so I’ll have a big deep-dive research and wonderfest that lasts for multiple seasons or multiple years.
I’ll get into this all in another post at some point. But for now, I just want to reassure you, that I’ve thought about this. A lot. For many years.
And I always, ultimately come to the conclusion that I believe in God.
And He loves me and is relational and interested in my life and my 100 years here. (120 if I get a shiny new robot heart, circa 2043).
So, this is not my Christian platitude response.
I don’t care for those much anyway. This is my experience, thoughts, and observations.
And, I’ve just gotta tell you, I love talking about this stuff.
Why are we here? What’s the meaning of life? If we’re all dying anyway, why does it matter if we’re good to each other? Why did God make snakes if He knows I’m scared of them?
I mean, I love it! And I’m thankful you’re here for it.
Because I care about you.
And if my humble perspective makes any difference to you, it’s an honor.
But mostly, I’ve run out of friends to talk to about this.
So grab some wine and a sleeve of Ritz crackers and let’s do this thang!
Why Do I Believe Life Is Better When You Believe In God?
Um, please explain why something so mundane and not an Old Testament-Parting-The-Red-Sea miracle-y type thing is your reasoning for why to believe in God.
I was talking with a friend a bit ago about God. He is a very nice, never seen or experienced God agnostic.
He had a simple, clear question.
“If I’m studying for a test, and I pray and ask God to give me an “A” on the test, and I get an “A,” is that why I should believe in God? What if I take the test and don’t ask God, but I still get an “A?”
The difference between those two scenarios is the experience.
Let’s say you take the test and get an “A” in both versions.
With the non-God version, you study and work hard, take the test, get your “A” result and feel good, relieved, and pleased.
With the God-included version, you also study, work hard, take the test, and get your “A” result. You feel good, relieved, and pleased here also. But you get the added experience of talking to God as you go through the process. You get to feel seen, heard, and connected to a divine presence. You feel taken care of, loved, and you get to go through the whole thing with someone intimately tied to you in every phase of taking the test and receiving the result. You exercise hope, vulnerability, encouragement, dependence on God, and the feeling and trust of a relational engagement.
You’ve chosen to involve yourself in a non-solo experience. In a trusting, caring, dual relationship.
So the partnership is what’s really different there.
It’s not so much the outcome. Though God, can and does sometimes intervene in an outcome. But that’s not my point here.
What you get to feel and experience is the gift of believing in God. You get to feel a presence with you. A sensation and comfort that you are not alone. That no matter what happens, you’ve got a confidante with you.
With God, you’re not alone. You’ve always got company.
If you look at humans in every stage of life, we’re all really looking for companionship. As a baby, we want to snuggle up with Mom. There’s safety and love in that.
On the first day of school, you hope you make friends. For a young person, school is typically good or bad, depending on whether or not you have a pal to go through it with you.
Why do we want to be married?
For one thing, to intimately know and be known by someone.
To intimately love and be loved by someone.
To have someone snake the drain when it’s got hair in it.
Why do we doubt ourselves, get grumpy, depressed, gain weight, and feel more purposeless when we withdraw or are separated from other people? Because we’re made for camaraderie. Even extreme introverts are made with a desire for connection, understanding, and meaningful relationships.
How does God fill the role of Companion?
God is always available to talk with you.
Just grab your golden phone receiver and dial 1-800-555-GAWD.
He’ll be there.
He’s always interested in having a conversation. About deep stuff, funny stuff, sad stuff,
or even a “Hey You, just checking in.”
When you’re doing your daily routine and chores, it’s a respite to do it all with someone by your side. It’s a refresher to just stop when you’re making lunches or are at the stop sign and check in and feel the warmth of another being. To know that you can discuss your worries, stress, annoyances, and gratitude with someone who genuinely wants to talk with you, never tires of your voice, and is always, always there to listen and discuss is a relief.
God cares about you, your life, and all of your messy issues and wants to guide you through it.
I like this verse from the Bible:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him/her ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him/her.” James 1:5
He wants to help you make good decisions. God wants you to have goodness, joy, and peace.
He knows what’s in your best interests. And He wants to make it clear to you. He’ll lay stepping stones for you to take one stride at a time.
Sometimes God will send people to encourage you or give you a message. God can give you direction through signs, songs, scripture, and your intuition or a peaceful feeling.
And often God is most easy to identify when you feel antsy or unsettled. If you just don’t feel right about something, that’s God and it’s a “no.”
He’s a balm to the soul and doesn’t operate through stress or anxiety for you. He is found in the calming of your body and mind.
God is a source of strength and stability during difficult times.
Sometimes life is smooth.
Then it’s rough.
And when it’s rough, it’s usually rough for a while then more rough things happen in addition to those other rough things.
Maybe He’ll change your circumstances. Maybe not.
Again, that’s not really the point.
You know I think life is a gorgeous, wondrous treasure. But she’s an unleashed wild thing! Full of unfair and unreasonable acts.
When life is kicking up a storm and beating you down, God is still your partner.
Here’s how He can show up:
He can give you a sensation of peace that surpasses understanding
He can give you the strength to endure that you cannot muster up on your own
He can comfort, support, and encourage you
He can intervene, heal, provide, and reconcile
He can open doors and create opportunities for you
He can send you people to love on you and walk with you through it
However He does it, He wants you to know He’s with you, and you’re not going through it on your own. God will shelter you with love and be a safe place for you.
Having an ally like this can give you what you need to make it through.
God will be with you when it’s your time to die.
I’m sorry to bring it up. I don’t like thinking about it either.
But it’s real.
At the end of it all, we go alone. Dying is a solo experience.
But spiritually, it doesn’t have to be.
God can be with you, leading the way, holding your hand, and filling you with the warmth and contentment that you feel when He’s nearby.
He could even show his face to you, physically take your hand, tell you jokes as it happens, bring your old dog with Him to brighten your heart when it’s time. All things are possible.
I’ve never understood Christians who say, “Come now, Jesus,” or “I can’t wait for Jesus to come and take me with Him,” and other stuff like that.
I do not and never have felt that way.
I’ve always been scared of it. Scared of death, eternity, what happens after. Will my family be there? Will I look like me? Will my old cat be there, or is he in Cat Heaven? Will I even get into Heaven? Can I get any quality time with God since He’s got all those other people there who want to hog Him?
What does forever-without-end even feel like and will it be boring? Will I like the food? And I don’t want to be stuck with all of those other humans throughout history and have to talk to them and be with a bunch of people I don’t know.
I don’t like crowds.
I no longer think eternity will be a white and fluffy Heaven where we have to sing together all the time. Now, I believe life after death will be pretty cool. But we’ll need another sleeve of Ritz to get into this one.
At any rate, I’ve always been petrified of heaven, dying, getting older, and losing time.
But I have to look at my relationship and experiences with God so far.
I’ve been through some scary, painful stuff. And I felt like God was with me during all of them.
When the car rolled over after I was hit by a drunk driver-
I felt physically held down and protected, shielded from harm. I felt a powerful presence with me as it was all happening in what felt like slow motion. God was there, protecting me.
When I had alarming and frightening moments with both deliveries of my babies-
I felt scared and panicked. But I felt like I was being watched over. I felt an abundance of supernatural attention on me. I was scared, but I felt a heightened presence with me. God was there, covering me.
When I had my heart broken–
I felt a depth of sadness I had never known. But I felt loved, supported, and patiently held every day. God was there, tending to me.
When I moved to NYC and couldn’t figure out how to get home on my first day-
I felt overwhelmed, small, and lost. But I felt a strengthening presence, and pep talk in my spirit. “Take a breath. Slow down. Look at the signs and look at your map. You will get home.” God was there, encouraging me.
I did nothing to get Him to show up for any of those occasions. He just showed up and helped me. He made sure I didn’t have to go through any of it alone.
So when I ponder that, logic and faith lead me to believe that it will be like that when I die. He’ll just show up, and help me. And He’ll be with me.
Knowing that He’ll be with me then as He’s been with me in the past and is every day, I find that hugely reassuring.
I don’t know what happens. But I know he loves us. I know He’s always with us, especially if we look for Him. And I know he doesn’t want us to be scared or alone. He will be with us, even then.
God will give you affection–
I swear, when you feel like you’re in the presence of God or when you feel like He’s near you, it feels like warm honey! Like you’re being hugged by cozy, warm sunshine. It’s like a kitty on a bundle of warm laundry. Purrrr. So deeply comforting, relaxing, restful, and settling.
I have a friend who taught me about the “sweet presence of the Holy Spirit.”
That’s how God feels, warm, cozy, and sweet. Like there’s breath and love moving in every part of you.
You can open your hand sometimes and feel warmth, electricity, tingles, or energy. You can snuggle up in bed and feel like God is a big down comforter wrapping you up and holding you.
When you take the time and open up to it, God will wrap you up.
God forgives you without making you work for it.
He’s just handing out the do-overs!
Not naming any names that are mine here, but some people have a story of accidentally getting overserved at the Xmas party. Which of course led to waking up the next day with a sense of mystery and dread.
“What did I say last night?” And. “How obnoxious was I?”
The God version of that is when you act selfish, you’re a brat, you hurt someone’s feelings, you lie, you give God the silent treatment or say something ugly about Him, and just do stuff that makes you feel icky.
What a great time to have God, Companion Extraordinaire, by your side.
Unlike almost everyone else in the world, God’ll say, “I love you. Be sorry. Let’s move on.”
Or He’ll just hug you and wrap you up and say, “I love you. Nothing can separate you from my love. Try again today.”
God is always rooting for you-
More than yer mama, God wants the best for you.
He wants you to use your gifts; He gave them to you.
He wants you to enjoy your life; He made it beautiful for you.
He wants you to live with purpose and contribute; He put the desire in you in the first place.
He’s so interested in you making the most of your unique abilities and dreams, that He’ll gently, lovingly put a nag in your heart until you do something about it.
Last but not least:
God cares when you need a good parking space.
We’re made for companionship. And what a joy when we find people with whom we can share that. But people have their limitations. Time, energy, personality, and self-focus can put a strain on friendships. And we’re all like that.
But God’s not like us. He’s like Him. And Him is always, always, always, there and available.
So yeah, I think life is better when you believe in God.
If this is something you want to talk more about, check out The Heart To Heart with God Coaching Package.
This is the one where we focus on you and God. Let’s see how we can get you this always-available gift of companionship with God.
I’d love to stay to chat about this more. But I’ve got to go take care of my babies and get some weird stuff from Trader Joe’s.
Sorry about that.
I guess that leaves you alone now.