Come to Your Senses

“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.

God’s blessings,

50 thoughts on “Come to Your Senses”

  1. Thanks for reminding me of the different ways our Lord reaches out to me. How gracious and loving He is! Blessings!

  2. I think the sense of smell is especially connected to our memories. And reading about the church fried chicken has my mouth watering. I’m thankful God gave us all of our senses and can touch us through them all. And thankful He brings us to our senses!

    1. 🙂 Yes ma’am; some of my “church mamas” can make the best fried chicken. I’m sure it’s the Crisco, bacon grease, or both. I too love how God can use all our senses to share our lives with us. God’s blessings Ms. Debbie.

  3. Great message my friend. I almost spit out my tea at your comment “I realize that many of my fellow Christians have lived perfect, religious lives from their moment of salvation.” Actually it made me life. I can never say I lived a perfect life of faith and not sure anyone, other than Jesus, ever has or will. I learn from my mistakes and tend to be a visual learner so studying the Bible helps me best to stay on tract. Thank you.

    1. LOL I just knew that some (I suspect most of my readers and friends) would see the humor in that. If they didn’t, then I suspect they need to do a bit of soul-searching to make sure they are indwelled with the Holy Spirit. Romans 3:23 applies to all of us, not just those we may want to look down our noses at. Thanks Ms. Yvonne.

      None of us, if we’re honest, can say we live a “perfect” Christian life. That’s to come on that Day my friend. I think our job during this human life as a Christian is to do out best to minimize the gap between us and Christ.

  4. It’s absolutely fascinating how reading about our senses activated all of mine. What kept returning to my mind as I shared your “sensational” post is that God not only wanted to reveal Himself to us through every avenue possible, but He also wanted us to connect with others the same way. I thought of some of the relationships I’ve had that, for want of a better description at this point, just didn’t “smell right” from the very beginning. God was warning me and I didn’t pay attention.
    Another little practice I was taught on the farm way back when was my grandma’s trick to help us get past that awful taste in the milk when the cows had a feast on the wild onions. Ma would have us bite into an onion and just get some of the juice on our tongue. Then the milk tasted just fine. Eating the same thing ole’ Bessie ate made it impossible to taste in her milk. I sort of wondered about that a bit. I makes sense to me that to the degree that I allow myself to embrace the foul tasting garbage cooked up in the devil’s kitchen and served up in all kinds of ways, the less sensitive I become to what it really tastes like.
    As is characteristic of the things God gives you to share, I am rejoicing once again in the fresh reminders of what an incredible God we serve and filled with gratitude that He created so many ingenious ways to make a pathway from His heart to ours. I also feel convicted that in spite ot all those ways He has to communicate with me, I’m sure I miss more of them every day than I ever want to know.
    And one more thing… your mention of the dinners on the church grounds and the singing brought back so many memories. I didn’t grow up going to church regularly like most good little Baptist kids. My folks went to a “Primitive Baptist” fellowship where they had a circuit riding preacher and only had a “meetin’ Sunday” when the preacher came through. They were hyper Calvinists and since the kids were gonna get saved one way or another if they were one of the “elect” there was no reason to waste time on them. Then, when i did come to faith in Jesus, I’m so glad I got connected with a bunch of Baptists who knew how to eat and sing. God bless you, Brother. You managed to for mentally and emotionally kicking every sense I have into gear. Diane and I continue to keep you and your Diane before the Lord and to keep our faith intertwined with yours as we trust Him for His grace to both of you.

    1. Yessir. I sure understand the “don’t smell right” comment. I’m a bit different in that I see auras around people. Not a physical one of course, but a spiritual presence that can sometimes warn me off. Other times, it’s caused me to overlook my physical concerns and give that person the opportunity to show me the “real them.” In those cases, I’ve always been rewarded by God.

      As for dinner on the grounds. If God ever sees fit to allow us to meet in person, I promise I’ll make up for all those you missed. 🙂

      God’s blessings to you and your wonderful Ms. Diane my friend.

  5. Evelyn Mason Wells

    Very insightful post. Yes, it’s something that most of us think about. Looking back I see decisions I made in the past which have impacted my life. My question to my older self is: “Why in the world did I take that path?” or “What was I thinking?” However, my question now is,” Would I do things differently, if I make them now? ”
    But through all my life, my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ has walked with me and redeemed my bad decisions. He has used me all along the way, even me! Praise be to God!!!

    1. Amen Ms. Evelyn. I’ve asked myself that same questions many times. The answer I keep coming back to is, “No, it’s the experiences I’ve gained from those decisions that make me who I am today.” Would life have been easier? Probably. Would it have been as rich with opportunity to learn, grow, and gain wisdom? I doubt it.

  6. Kathy Collard Miller

    J.D., I love those insights about each learning style and our response to God and with God. Like most people, I suppose, I experience all 5 of them, but using my sight through reading is my favorite. But hey, who wouldn’t say a spectacular sunrise or sunset isn’t powerful? I guess I”m just partial to my favorite. Thank you for sharing such fodder for meditation.

    1. Amen. I think most of us “writer-types” tend to gravitate to the Read/Write learning style. I used to make my adopted dad crazy. He would show me something, but I always learned it more when I did it myself (kinesthetic or tactile learning). But to fully understand the subject, I had to read about it, take notes, and then discuss with dad. That’s how I learn best. A combination of Read/Write, Kinesthetic, and Aural learning styles.

  7. Thanks J.D. I love the thought about coming to your senses. I remember in a particularly dark time of life when I recognized the senses as such a great blessing. Colors, sounds, taste, and smells are something I took so for granted until they were taken from my daughter in an illness. That loss in her struck a certain sense of gold in me as I recognized how gracious was God to allow me to have those immense pleasures of seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting. Thanks for the reminder of something so easily taken for granted.

    1. I’m right there with you Ms. Sylvia, on a much smaller scale though ma’am. I currently fighting through vision problems that has robbed me of much of my vision before the illness occurred. Things I’ve always taken for granted (especially visually) have gained in importance for me too.

      Thank you so much for your many kind and encouraging words ma’am.

    1. Thank you Ms. Ann. When I think of that scripture, I always think of Ms. Diane’s “Sunday Gravy.” While I think New York Italians call is “sauce” instead of “gravy” (the Chicago version), what do they know, every Italian-heritaged family has their own recipe. I love how it makes the house smell, watching and it bubble and listening to it simmer, and of course its taste and texture.

  8. How I love to experience God through my senses. Sight is, of course, the most abundant of them. I see God in the littlest, the brightest, the complex, and the simplest of things. Nature pours out His character of creation. Sound is a big one for me in that I am used as a vehicle through music to praise Him with the instruments. Sound is perhaps more endearing to me than for most because I listen for His voice. Would you believe me if I told you I once smelled the aroma of Christ from a painting? It’s true. It smelled much like lilies that filled the room I was in. I shall never forget that. Touch comes from people I meet mostly. God sometimes sends them to me. While I have had some tastes that were quite heavenly, I don’t think God initiated that response! I am going to pray that He manifests Himself through taste for me. Can’t wait for the result.

  9. Wonderful reminder how God can use all our senses to draw closer to him, J. D. There are so many ways to know Him and worship Him. May our hearts and our senses ever be prepared to meet Him where we are and be aware of His loving presence.

  10. This was wonderful, J.D. I am one who learns by reading and taking notes. I am an avid note taker. But I am so grateful for all our senses and the way God uses them all to teach and draw us to Himself. When a sight or a smell suddenly speaks deeply to me of our God, I am struck with awe and humbled before Him. I do not fall into the category of “having lived perfect, religious lives from their moment of salvation.” But I am grateful for our Lord’s grace and mercy which pulled me back to my senses every single time.

    1. I’m with you Ms. Joanne. I think that’s my primary learning style too ma’am. Maybe that’s why God made me a capture and proposal strategist. And yes ma’am, God often humbles me whenever He makes His presence felt in any number of ways. Thank you ma’am.

  11. We did some work with different learning modalities when I taught school in an effort to best meet the needs of our children. Fascinating stuff. I’ve never thought about them as a means to experience God. Until now. This morning as I headed into the gym, I heard a leaf skipping across the parking lot, saw (and felt) the warm sun on my brow, and felt the gentle breeze on my back. All signs of God’s presence.

  12. Like Yvonne, I chuckled when you mentioned the “perfect” Christian who seldom sinned and when they do there is immediate confession and repentance. You snuck that one in there, my friend, to see if we were paying attention as we read. As a college teacher, working with future teachers, I spent more than one class period focused on learning styles. We discussed various learning styles, pinpointed our own kearning styles, and discussed the importance of meeting students where they are, while challenging them to learn in mutiple ways. I’m primarily a visual learning, but also learn by doing (putting the task into action), which I rank under the kinesthetic stye. I’m also an introvert and that trait has strong impact on how we learn and how we use our abilities. Thank you for this thought provoking message that reminds us how unique we are (as God’s wonderful creation), while at the same time, shows how wonderfully made we are–with mutiple talents and gifts to use in His service.

    1. Thank you Ms. Katherine. I’m with you in some areas of learning style ma’am. I can watch or read and understand, but I think my best learning occurs when I put what I’ve learned into action. Often, and maybe I’m just weird this way, I find that I can improve upon the process of how I’ve learned to do something through my experience. An example is making specialized tools to use when I worked as an auto mechanic for my dad. If you heat and bend a 7/16 wrench just right, Oldsmobile water pumps can be removed much faster. 🙂 Oh, the junk we remember.

  13. J.D., love this “come to your senses” message. 🙂 And I like that it means to use good judgment. I pray the Lord helps me strive to do that more and more and to grow in resembling Jesus more and more each day. I don’t think there are any Christians who have lived the spiritual life perfectly. Perfect is only for the Lord, we are called to strive to be perfect and holy but will never completely attain it. None of us. I do pray that the Lord and Holy Spirit help be narrow the gap between when I sin and when I confess to Him and ask for forgiveness. “Imperfect” can be in the form of a ungodly thought. Yet, in God’s sight, sin is sin. One of my favorites has always been Psalm 34:8. He is a good, good Father. Thank you for your vulnerability and inspiration with your words. You are a needed voice in our world for Christ.

    1. Can’t agree with you more Ms. Karen. There are no such things as a perfect Christian, or perfect human, beyond Jesus Christ. He is the goal we hope to one day attain upon our coming glorification. In our “imperfectness”, we find grace and learn His ways. Yes. Learning to use good judgment in our lives is a part of this ma’am. God’s blessings sweet sister-in-Christ.

  14. I never thought before about the way God uses all our senses with which to manifest Himself. But it makes sense that since He created them, He wants to use them in that way. Thanks for this thought-provoking post!

  15. Great insights, Mr. J.D. A wonderful pre-Thanksgiving post reminding us to come to our senses. After two months of visiting the dentist, the endodontist, and the oral surgeon, I can testify to appreciating and missing the sense of taste. I’m so thankful that no matter what our struggles are, we can always “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

    1. OMGoodness Ms. Sally. I didn’t realize you were experiencing all that ma’am. Apologies for missing that. Praying you are feeling better though. When I became edentulous, nearly fifteen years ago, I worried I’d lost so much. Graciously, God restored my sense of touch (with my mouth) and taste (I would have hated life without that). LOL

  16. Though I’ve never given it much thought, it makes perfect sense that God gave us our senses as a way to experience Him. Pretty cool to think about all the ways I sense God each and every day.

  17. I’m thankful God gave us the senses to further enjoy His creations. Some days, one sense might be stronger than another. When we pause and rest in God’s love, we can experience glorious moments. Happy Thanksgiving dear friend! 🙂

  18. J.D., I love your descriptions here, activating my imagination to experience each one. Surely God gave us those senses to draw us nigh to Him.
    Reading your post was a blessing to read. Thank you, dear friend.

  19. Heavenly fragrances. Have you ever smelled them? In our family, my mother and I have smelled the sweet perfume of heaven on several occasions. It was often followed by a death in the family. It smells like all the flower gardens of the world put together into one fragrance, unlike anything you can buy at a perfume counter. I also like this scripture below because it so aptly describes our sweet divine fragrance in the spirit and how it affects believers and non-believers.

    “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us reveals the fragrance of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing: to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 NASB).

    Wishing you and Ms. Diane a very happy Thanksgiving! God bless you.

    1. Yes. Indescribable, but they show up sometimes when I’m deep in prayer. It makes me think heaven as enveloped me. What a wonderful feeling that is. Not sure about you ma’am, but when that happens, I can’t help but shed tears of joy.

    1. Yes ma’am. There is certainly special and holy when God comes near and we feel Him envelop our souls in His embrace. Sort of makes me feel like a small child being held tightly in daddy’s lap. You?

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