Since the creation of the world, we were designed for complete, total, uninhibited intimacy with God. The kind of intimacy described in Psalm 17:8: “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”
This scripture in Hebrew could also be understood as “keep me as the little man of the eye,” meaning the tiny reflection you see of yourself when you stare directly into someone’s eyes. Talk about intimate. And we are designed to live with God like this all the time, every minute of every day.
But it does not often feel like this. In the drudgery of our exhausting everyday routines, it doesn’t feel like God is looking at us–much less staring at us so closely that we can see ourselves in His eyes. It doesn’t feel like God is working in our mundane lives. If he were, they wouldn’t be so mundane, right?
We hear stories of others’ victories and moments where they heard God’s voice or got an answer to an impossible prayer. And we wonder, where is God in my life? Sure, he shows up in desperate situations, but then it’s like he leaves again. Does he really “go before me and follow me” throughout every day of my life? (Psalm 139:5).
The beautiful truth is that God is there. Every day. Working for your good (Romans 8:28). It just takes spiritual discipline to see him more and more.
So here are 10 ways that you can start practicing seeing God more in your daily life:
1. Ask to See Him
The first step in anything that we want to grow in spiritually is to ask God for His help and guidance. Invite Jesus into this area of your life, and humbly ask to see Him, feel Him and experience Him more.
We can forget that when we want to grow spiritually, God wants us to grow even more. And He is capable of transforming us through His Spirit.
And remember that Jesus promised, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
2. Trust How Involved God Is in Your Life
Wanting to see God more in your life is a vulnerable and scary place to be. What if he doesn’t show up? What if he doesn’t care enough to come? What if he has forgotten me?
If you feel like this could be what is stopping you from seeing God, go to the scriptures. They are absolutely flooded with reassurances about God’s care for you:
Psalm 139:1,5-6 says, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me … You hem me in behind and before, you go before and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand.”
Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will quiet you with His love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Isaiah 40:27-28 says, “O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.”
Search the scriptures for verses that resonate and comfort your heart the most. The more you believe the truth about God, the more you will see it for yourself.
3. Be Humble to What His Involvement Looks Like
It’s easy to put constraints on what God “should” be doing in our lives. This can block us from seeing him work because we think that if God is to show up, it’s only in one way: the way we want him to.
“If God was working in my life, he’d give me that promotion.”
“If God really cared about my daily struggles, he would have given me a husband by now.”
The truth is, a lot of the time, the way that God may be working in your life is not the way you’d want him to be working if you had it your way. God’s involvement can often look like a blessing, absolutely – but it also looks like circumstances that are hard to believe are blessings at all.
For instance, maybe God is helping you to be content in him before he gives you that promotion. Or maybe he’s giving you time to find yourself before giving you a relationship. Maybe he knows you so well that he actually knows neither of those things would be good for you at all.
A lot of the time, we think God isn’t working in our lives because it’s filled with struggles–when really, God is the one who lovingly put those struggles in our path to begin with because he loves us and wants us to grow.
Photo courtesy: ©GettyImages/AntonioGuillem
4. Start the Morning Off with God
Your morning can set the tone for the rest of your day. So much of who we are is determined by our routines. So do whatever you can to start your day with God.
This sets you up not just to have a better day but to expect to see God working more throughout it. And when we expect to see God, we will!
5. Use the Mundanity of Life to Serve God
God absolutely gives us lives of adventure–but he is just as present even in the mundane of daily life. And we can use even the most boring thing we do in our days to serve and connect to God.
Brother Lawrence, in his work Practicing the Presence of God, teaches that even the most mundane tasks can be done for the love of God and therefore given a spiritual purpose.
He writes, “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees….”
Invite God into your daily tasks and use them to serve him. Talk to him while doing laundry, deleting emails or working for your clients, and see that he is in every little bit of it.
6. Listen to Other’s Inspiring Stories
Hearing how Jesus shows up for other people gives us confidence that he wants to show up for us, as well.
In their series called Jesus Stories, the Wild at Heart Ministry aims to share these life-changing stories and stoke the fires of desire for an intimate relationship with Jesus, too. I highly recommend listening to every episode of this series.
When you hear more and more of these stories, not only does the possibility of God working for your good open up, but you realize how fervently he is working in the lives of people around you, too. Pay attention to how God could be moving in the lives of your family and friends, point it out to them, and rejoice in His goodness with them.
It won’t be long before you start seeing Him show up for you in big and small ways, too.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Bohdan Bevz
7. Start a Gratitude Journal
When you start realizing that every little good thing in your life is a gift from God, a whole new world opens up where you see His involvement in the sweetest way.
Even if it doesn’t seem like anything good is happening to you, you can thank God for a blue sky, oxygen to breathe, or shade from the sun. The more you see God’s provision for you, the more you will see God’s provision for you all around you, all the time.
A gratitude journal is a super practical thing you can make part of your daily routine, and it will shock you how quickly you fill-up the pages with God’s goodness. Even if you didn’t think he was working, your journal will tell you otherwise.
8. Write Down Ways God Has Worked in Your Life in the Past
Gratitude journaling will help you to see the little things God does for you every day. Taking time to think about your past will help you to see the big things. And the beautiful thing is, you’ll see that the big ways God loved you were often done in little, daily, almost unnoticeable bite-sized pieces.
If you view your past like a timeline with Xes marking your big life events, there would seem to be many, many days in between where God didn’t do anything. Between your graduating college and getting married, it might seem like God was silent.
But was he? Wasn’t he working in the smallest details of you happening to be at the right place at the right time to meet your spouse? Wasn’t he working in the most mundane of things, like providing you with a boring office job, but it was the very thing that gave you the money you needed to get married?
What is one thing God has redeemed you from? What is the sweetest or most tender thing God has ever done for you? What’s one time God surprised you by giving you more than you could ask or imagine?
When you start asking questions about the amazing things God has done for you in the past, you start to believe that God is working for your ultimate good today, right now, this very second.
9. Take Advantage of How God Made the Brain
I am not a neuroscientist, but I can tell you that there is a part of your brain called the Reticular Activating System. This part of your brain helps to filter out the massive amounts of stimuli and information that your brain is being bombarded with every second. Its job is to bring to your awareness what you already believe and find important.
Productivity expert David Allen explains it this way: “Just like a computer, your brain has a search function–but it’s even more phenomenal than a computer’s. It seems to be programmed by what we focus on and, more primarily, what we identify with. It’s the seat of what many people have referred to as the paradigms we maintain.”
To demonstrate how this part of your brain works, look around at the room you’re in for 5 seconds.
Now, spend 5 seconds looking for everything in the room with the color blue.
Even if the room just had the tiniest bit of blue in it, your brain found it. And even if you weren’t conscious of the existence of blue before that exercise, now you are–although the blue was there all along.
So, if you want to see God working more in your life, you just have to train your brain to look for it. You can do this by practices like writing down all the ways you see him working in your life already, praying to see him more, telling your friends that you want to see him more, or finding scriptures that you want to see God demonstrate and waiting for him to do it.
As a bonus, everything on this list will help you train your RAS to see God more, too.
10. Practice the Daily Examen
The Daily Examen is a spiritual practice that dates all the way back to 1522. According to Hallow.com, St. Ignatius of Loyola came up with this discipline to help people “develop discipline, ask for God’s grace, and see how God works through us and among us daily.”
There is no set way to practice it, but the gist of it is that you ask yourself a series of questions that help you get in touch with how you felt about the day, where you saw God working throughout the day, where you see your need for God’s grace and celebrating it, and how you can look forward to tomorrow with God.
This is a spiritual practice that can be done briefly at the end of your day to help you feel closer to God and more confident about His hand in your life.
If you want to learn more about it, you can read about it here, here, and here, and even download the Daily Examen app that leads you right through it.
So, being able to see God working in your life is actually a lot more up to you than you may have realized. Instead of blaming God for not showing up more, take an empowered stance and put these disciplines into practice for yourself, and you will see God move in more beautiful ways than you ever thought possible.
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/ljubaphoto
Kelly-Jayne McGlynn is a former editor at Crosswalk.com. She sees the act of expression, whether through writing or art, as a way to co-create with God and experience him deeper. Check out her handmade earring Instagram and Etsy for more of her thoughts on connecting with God through creative endeavors.