If religion and spirituality are an important part of your life and you want to know how to get closer to God, it may not be as easy as you thought it was going to be.
You know life is going well for you! Your dreams are coming true. You love your job. You are in a great relationship. Everything is going well!
But, with all the good happening in your life, why does it feel like something is missing? Maybe it’s because of your relationship with God.
There are many religions in the world and a lot of people have a hard time connecting with them.
Why is it so hard to connect with God when things are going well? When you are going through good times, it is easy to forget you still need the holy in your life. You create the illusion that all this good that has come to you in your life has come from your efforts.
Having more material items leaves less room for God. We forget that God has given us everything we need. We forget that God loves us just for being us and doesn’t care about all our material wealth other than how we use it.
There are many reasons why it’s hard to draw near to God when life seems so full of success.
Here are 8 things you do that make it difficult for you to get closer to God, your religion, and your spirituality.
1. You take things for granted
You start to think your success is all to do with you. You forget that God and many people have helped you to get where you are today.
You get carried away with all the positive things coming your way, the money, your material possessions, your prestige, and the belief in your self.
There is nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself. You need to learn the difference when self-confidence shifts to self-righteousness. You have moved into self-righteousness whenever you become focussed only on yourself.
How do you respond to this holy crisis? An excellent place to start is to begin practicing Radical Gratitude where you take time every day to thank God for everything good in your life, especially the things you take for granted.
Practicing Radical Gratitude helps you to put everything in perspective. Pick a time everyday to note down everything you are thankful for including food, shelter, friends, family, a good job and more.
2. You have an inflated sense of self
As you get used to your luck, you start to think that you deserve this. You begin to believe it was through your own efforts that you are so successful now. Everything becomes about you.
The more you become focused on yourself, it becomes harder and harder for you to share with others. You start to fear other people taking away your hard-earned wealth. It is easy to blame others for their lack of success as compared to your wealth.
It is easy to start to see yourself as superior to others. The more self-aggrandized you feel, the easier it is for you to distant yourself from those who are struggling in life. You blame the poor for their poverty. This is why it is hard to connect with God.
You begin to change your harsh attitude by taking the time to reflect on the many different reasons you have been so fortunate in your life. You start to realize all the people who have helped you to get where you are today.
You notice how privileged you are having been given opportunities others don’t have. You realize how lucky you were to have had your parents pay for at least part of your university education.
You begin to realize that you have been given great responsibility to share your education, wealth, and time in the world to make it better. You might like to try journaling, centering prayer, yoga, meditation, reading a holy book, and more.
You will start to feel a lightness in your heart.
3. You’ve lost connection with the spirit
You are probably like many who get busy with life; you gradually loose connection with spirit. Maybe you don’t think you have time to meditate or pray. Perhaps you imagine going to your house of worship no longer fits in with your schedule.
The longer you are disconnected from a spiritual community, it becomes harder and harder to go back.
You start to think you don’t need it. You think to yourself if I am so successful without being part of a faith community then going to worship and prayer is a waste of time.
You feel like you are missing something and often you don’t know what it is you are missing. An excellent place to start is to slow down. Find some way to quieten your mind, open your heart and relax your body.
4. You’re addicted to power and money
You are human! So, don’t be too hard on yourself. It is rare to find a person who is happy with what they have.
You are probably like most of us who often dream of having more no matter how much you have. You also are deluged with advertising that is continually trying to convince you that you need their product.
As you get more money, property and material items, you have a hard time imagining life without them. You get used to the privileges that come from having this kind of power. You get caught in a desire to show off by having the latest and most expensive products showing the world around you how successful you are.
Over time your money becomes more important than God. You start to think you must use all your time to keep getting ahead. Connecting with God continues to get less and less important in your life.
As time moves you on, you feel something is missing. Often, at first, you think you can fill this need with more money and material items. But instead of making you happier, you feel more and more lonely.
Again, the answer to this pain is to find your way back to God. Maybe you would benefit from reflecting on what is essential in life. Practice Radical Gratitude and you will find new life.
5. You hide from suffering
In our western culture, we tend to want to avoid pain through some form of addiction.
If you are feeling it hard to connect with God, you might want to reflect on what pain you are trying to avoid. What are the addictions that you participate in to prevent you from having to deal with the pain and hurt of your life?
God, no matter what religion or belief system you practice, can help you to find peace. And a religious community will help you find peace, despite your pain, by shining the love of God on your pain like a salve.
At first, it will sting because it is like an open wound, but soon you will start to find some relief.
Going to your religious leader, a coach, or a spiritual director or counselor can be a safe place for you to do this work.
6. You don’t want to hear what God has to say
Abandoning God is a great way to avoid your calling. But, the good news is that God never gives up on you.
When you pay attention, God won’t let you forget your purpose in life. Often what God desires you to be about will take you away from all the schemes you participate in to get more wealth. God will show you pure joy.
There is a big difference between joy and happiness. You can still have an inner joy even through hard times because you can feel the presence of God in your heart, in the people around you and on the whole earth.
You are called to take the risk and open your heart, body, and mind to God. God has a surprise for you and will show you the way.
7. You get stuck in your personality
Learning about the psychological-spiritual tool called the Enneagram can help you to move out of your stuckness in the limitations of your nature.
The Nine Types of the Enneagram map for human development can show you where you get stuck in your personality and the path you need to walk on to discover the richness of the nine different types.
The Enneagram provides a gentle path to self-discovery. It helps you to see your strengths and growing edges. It gives you hints on how to get healthier by learning to live in the moment.
Too often people spend their time in the past or future. Where do you spend your time?
It helps you to recognize old habits that no longer serve you, so you can replace them with better ways of connecting with the world.
8. You miss the mark
The word “sin” means missing the mark. In the language of the Enneagram, you miss the mark whenever you get stuck in your personality. When you are ignorant of your own sin, this is why it is hard to connect with God.
During the first few months of life, you are given one of the nine different ways to survive in the world. As a child, you could not have survived without your ego. It becomes a problem when you reach adulthood and you are not aware of how your personality is impacting you.
You miss the mark whenever you make a choice that takes you further from your God-self. So, the more you get caught up in the ego’s desire for more power and control, you distance yourself from being your divine-human self.
Don’t’ despair! Your humanness means you are going to miss the mark (sin). But if you learn from these experiences and become more and more who God desires you to be, then there is no need to be ashamed.
Listening to the spirit who resides deep within our soul will show you the way to your new life. God will always provide you with a way to a better more fulfilling life.
The good news is that despite all the things that can get in the way of living your life fully, there is always a way back to God.
With practice, connecting with God can become much easier.
Learn to have to the same kind of faith in you as God does.
Know that God celebrates every time you become one with God. No matter what happens, God holds you and encourages you whether you are acting like a saint or sinner.
So, keep living in the kingdom of God. He sees the good in you and that is why He never gives up on you. You will never be alone on the journey.