Living in Ghana, I think we learn about God firstly through a sensational experience before we learn about Him any other way. Maybe because your mother or father had someone pray over you and you were forced to feeeeel the Spirit before you even know who or what he was and why he was so intent on being felt by you.
You rarely get an explanation of who the Trinity is, what their purpose is, or who is who in said Trinity. You must believe because your father believes, and your father’s father, and their parents before them. And God forbid you be the one who doesn’t follow the path the ancestors have set. No questions can be asked, because how dare you question God?
Based on that experience, of relating to God viscerally before you can relate to him emotionally or mentally, I think, I think we tend to become slaves of that visceral feeeeling of God.
There’s nothing wrong with that though…right? How do you know God is there if people aren’t wailing and you not breaking out in goosebumps everywhere? And if that’s how to feel God, I don’t think I feel God anymore.
By which I mean, not every gospel song is giving me goosebumps. You know those goosebumps you get because someone hit that high note? Or because it sounded like the angels in heaven had descended to come and sing with the choir? Yeah. I’m not getting goosebumps anymore.
I’m not really moved to cry either during worship songs. I mean, before, the mere feeling of being overwhelmed with gratitude for what God has done for me and the people around me would cause a waterfall at any instant. Now, not so much. I’m still grateful, just not always inclined to burst into tears with every song.
Eventually, with all these sensations I used to feel every time in steady decline, I was like ei. Boss. Please, are you still there? Warriz going on?
I realised I had been over-reliant on those sensations. I had sensationalised God and his presence. Ergo, in my mind, there was a part of me that had been semi-programmed to believe that unless I had goosebumps, I was crying, I was falling under someone’s anointing or some other out of body experience, I wasn’t in God’s presence. Or I wasn’t “feeling” God.
When that’s all you’ve known for your whole life, it’s hard not to think that’s the only real experience of God. I finally got to know God outside of just feeling him. I got to know him in my head and my heart, so when I listened to worship songs and didn’t necessarily “feel” him, I knew it didn’t mean he wasn’t there.
I took the time to learn about who God really was. I actually started reading the Bible on my own. Taking the time to go over and understand the nuances of it. Not just reading when I was at church and there was a verse. I began to read books about Christianity and trying to understand the historical context of the things I had believed for so long because someone told me I had to believe. I asked more and more questions, to the right people, and always reminded myself that no one person had all the answers. This helped because so many people have different answers. And if somebody’s answers were just too “alternative facts” for me, I headed back to the Bible, because Truth is Truth.
It wasn’t until I began to embark on this truth-finding-mission, that I also learned that I didn’t need to just feel God to know He was there. He is there even when I’m not crying to a worship song, or I don’t have goosebumps. He’s there regardless of whether I decide to raise my hands during a song or not (so now I can stop judging the person who doesn’t).
God is there despite my feelings. That is, whether I want Him to be there or not, He’s right there. If I’m angry or upset, he’s still there. If I’m happy, he’s still right there. My feelings and the sensations I used to attribute to His presence aren’t the only indicators. As much as those are great representations of a fleeting sensation, His presence isn’t.
So… I’m not always “feeling” God anymore, but I’m also kind of glad I don’t have to just feel him to know He’s right there. Always.
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