“They’ll come to their senses one day and get back on track.” Has that statement ever been said about you? I sometimes wonder who all has said that about me and how many times it’s been uttered when I look back at some of the choices in my life. For certain, it’s been more than a few times when I consider the foolhardy things I’ve done, and foolish, impulsive decisions I’ve had to live with. The Cambridge Dictionary defines the phrase “come to your senses” as “to begin to use good judgment.” I wonder, has God ever thought that about me?
There’s been times in my life when it seemed all my good judgment was on hiatus and chaos ensued. Sometimes the results of poor decisions took years to manifest themselves. Other times, the impact of a poor decision was immediate; Oops, I should have checked the mirror before attempting to change lanes. That’s gonna leave a mark. I can attest that the proverb, “Experience is the best teacher,” has proven true in my life. I wondered this week how that thought might apply to my Christian walk as well.How do you experience God in your life? #GodExperience #GodLearning Click To Tweet
I realize that many of my fellow Christians have lived perfect, religious lives from their moment of salvation. Seldom sinning and immediately repenting of it when the occasional minor slip up happens. That wasn’t me, and I’m not all that sure it is today, even though I wish it were. Instead, and as I’ve shared my testimony before, my route to complete surrender to Christ was a circuitous one. My initial salvation was, without doubt, very real. There is no question in my heart and soul about this. My learning to walk in the freedom that surrender brings took longer.
This led me to think about how we learn using the five senses God created all animals and humans with. While some claim that plants can hear and feel, I’ll leave that as one of those “God only knows” subjects. I further considered how many of my senses do I use when I engage with God? The discoveries about myself surprised me.
Years ago, I did a fair amount of training development. In learning how to do that, I discovered the VARK (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic) model for learning styles. You can see how easily these align with our five senses (we’ll lump the sense of taste with touch in this case). Another discovery was that while most individuals have a preferred learning style, most are multimodal, which is a fifty-cent word that means we learn best using different styles.We learn best using a mix of different learning styles. How can you apply that to learning to walk with God? #GodLearning #SpiritLed Click To Tweet
Research suggests that up to sixty-five percent of learners prefer a visual style (i.e., text and images). No surprise to me, but our brains process images and videos 60,000 times faster than reading text alone. The adage of “a picture is worth a thousand words” may well be accurate. Visual learners retain eighty percent of what they see, twenty percent of what they read, and ten percent of what they hear. Some favor a read/write learning style (doesn’t every writer fall into this category), which I clearly favor given my penchant for taking notes as I read. Those learners best retain what we read and commit it to memory when writing it down.
Thirty percent of those studied were classified as aural learners, able to retain up to seventy-five percent of what they hear. Conversations and lectures are the best methods to help them learn. Last, was kinesthetic learners, often referred to as tactile learning, that make up a mere five percent. For them, the senses of touch and taste play a major role in how they learn.
Understanding this led me to further explore how I interact with God here around the Cross-Dubya. I hold a firm belief that God created us for the express purpose of communing with and learning from Him. He did so we could experience and interact with Him. Psalm 139:13-14 remind me that God created me, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. With this in mind, I’ll try to describe how I use my senses to spend time with God.
- Sight: My sight, limited as it may be right now, allows me to view the wonderous world around me. If God did not want us to see Him in nature, why would He have made it so beautiful? Question this? Consider some of the sunrises and sunsets you’ve experienced. No two have ever been the same, have they? God uses an endless palette of color to paint an ever-changing image of Him in nature. Leaning on a fence and looking over new calves in the pasture. That sight fosters a spirit of praise and gratitude for all His blessings. Last, it’s the time I spend reading God’s Word that teaches me so much. It does so by gaining new understanding of His precepts and then applying the righteous standard of Jesus Christ to my life.
- Sound: Ever listen to a baby settling in to sleep or a horse neighing with joy and elation while playing? What peace settles over me when I listen to bluegrass instrumentals of the old hymns to unwind at the end of a hectic day. I find myself softly singing along with tears of adoration and praise flowing. Another way that sound plays a major role in my “God time” is actively listening to a Bible-based sermon. Last, it’s when I listen to God speak to my heart through the Holy Spirit’s activity from deep within my soul.
- Smell: Have you ever smelled something, good or bad, and it triggers a memory? For me, it’s fried chicken and Ambrosia (that strawberry-flavored whip cream with fruit mixed in). Those smells always take me back to dinner on the grounds and Fifth Sunday Sings when Sunday brought a wonderful late lunch and then an evening of singing, worship, and fellowship. Even an introvert like me can be coerced into staying after church for fried chicken. And there was always dessert afterwards; or was that reserved just for Baptist churches?
- Taste: Psalm 34:8 immediately comes to mind here. How do we taste and see that the Lord is good? We experience Him. We do that by the personal trials we face and the experience we have when we test God’s faithfulness to us in response to our faith in Him. Matthew Henry wrote, about this verse, “Let God’s goodness be rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel.” We taste the goodness of God in the way we experience Him in our lives. In this verse, David invites the reader to taste God (i.e., try God for ourselves) and let our experience show us (see) how good He is. Of course, I also have to thank God for so much of that wonderful fried chicken, mentioned above.
- Touch: My sense of touch is engaged with God during times of quiet meditation upon Him and His Word. When I’m praying to Him for rest while sitting under the pines and He sends a cool breeze that appears from nowhere on a hot summer day. When one of the dogs puts their head in my lap and I find myself gently petting them. It seems God moved them to come visit when He knew I needed Him to be nearby. I feel Him when He touches my heart with His magnificent “heart hugs” that embraces me when I’m in full-on praise mode of His majesty.
Here’s praying that God helps you find new ways to come to your senses in worshipping Him.