And now for something vaguely diff’rent. – By Brandi, not Daniel. Ignore that.

For those of you keeping score, last time I posted I talked a lot about things that I feel like maybe God wants me to do but am uncomfortable doing – or downright afraid of. That was a really hard post for me, because I don’t really like feeling so exposed. I thought I would switch things up this time, make the score a little more even, and talk about things that I think are awesome.

I love computers. As a child of the ‘90’s, and an attendee of a math/science magnet school, I have basically had a keyboard under my fingers since I was 6. From the very first moment my kindergarten teacher led my class into the computer lab and booted up Oregon Trail, I was hooked. Since then what I do with said keyboard has gotten more intricate, but the love I have for it has never once diminished.

Ohhhhhh yeeeaaaahhhhhh. . .

Its no surprise then, I’m sure, that after discovering faith, I used the computer as a primary way to connect to God. It didn’t start that way. In fact, had I been asked initially I would have said that seemed a little indecorous. Not improper necessarily, just . . .beneath an entity who is so sacred and holy. I started trying to connect with God in the traditional ways. First were solemn, silent prayers – which I could almost never finish, because I would get a few sentences in, and off my mind would go on some tangent. The next thing I knew I would have completely forgotten I was praying.

“God, please grant me strength as I. . . as I go through. . . is that a mouse? A brown mouse? No? Oh, it’s Snickers wrapper. Oh snaps! ‘Snicker’ means laugh, why did I just get that now? That name makes no sense! Oh, um. . . Amen.”

Worse than that was when my mind would get stuck on this endless loop and I couldn’t seem to think around a certain phrase or sentence. It was embarrassing and I felt bad. Shouldn’t I be able to focus on this? If I can’t even give God 15 minutes of solid focus, what hope is there for any other aspect of my life? Well, that’s ok. I’m tough, and nothing, not even my brain, tells me what to do! So I said to myself “Damn you, brain. I’ll show you what’s what!” And then I polished my monocle and began praying aloud.

“Lord bless the Empire, and protect her from those damnable aboriginals!”

Sadly, that didn’t work any better. I’m a very easily distracted person, and while praying aloud did serve to keep me slightly more focused, every little thing got my attention. Little ambient noises, changing the song on the radio, playing with my wicked awesome smart phone. . . eventually I would realize I was getting caught in the metaphoric weeds and feel guilty. This was always followed by me saying, “Oh, crap. I’m sorry, God. We were talking! What a jerk I am. Where was I?”

After about the millionth time this happened I decided to once again take matters into my own tentacles.

I had a friend who, while at work, told me her pregnant daughter was being rushed to the hospital after her OB-Gyn was unable to detect the baby’s heart beat. I was struck with an immediate need to pray, but I work on the phones. Can’t very well bust into an audible prayer on the call floor, so I did the next best thing. I opened up MS Word and began typing. I rattled off a prayer for her, and for her daughter, and for her daughter’s unborn baby, my fingers flying across the keys. A page and a half later, I closed the prayer, feeling satisfied and comforted. Then I realized I hadn’t been distracted once. It was so much easier to focus when I was typing! I was sold.

Since then every morning, and most evenings, God gets a little “email” from me, and my prayer times have increased from 15 minutes a day to sometimes an hour or more. Not just that, but I can totally feel his presence in response to these little notes from me. Not only that but I can see multiple responses to my prayers – which I had been having a hard time finding using any other method, probably due to my lack of focus. My friend’s daughter was fine, for example. Her baby was perfectly healthy, and has since been born a calm, little, un-fussy angel.

Who caused us all TREMENDOUS AMOUNTS OF PANIC, yes he did!

It’s a little unorthodox, I’ll admit, the idea of emailing God, but it works for me. It’s one of the easiest ways for me to feel that connection to his spirit and presence that I have come to refer to as a “God hug”. It’s not the only way, by any means.

It’s been mentioned (maybe by me, I’m very forgetful) that I grew up with a really strong church background that I deviated from in my early teens. I mostly left because I felt a total lack of connection to this “God” that everyone around me seemed to feel so potently that they were moved to weeping on several occasions. I felt like I was on the outside looking in, wondering what I was missing. I did all the “rituals” but I never felt that complete connection. I finally decided that either they were all liars, or more likely, this God didn’t want to talk to me or touch me the way he did them. “Cool, well,” I figured.  “Sorry I took up your time, I’ll leave you alone.”

“Later, Son of Man. I’m Audi 5000.”

That said, there was one period of service I never missed – not for anything in the world – and that was worship service. Something about the music, singing these love songs, praising this entity, seemed to thin the veil between it and me. And while I thought maybe God was showing up for the people in the congregation who were actually holy, rather than for me, I loved feeling it. I craved it. Music and I have always had a great relationship, and this just took that to the next level. I would abandon all good senses, dancing to the fast songs, swaying to the slow songs, and all-in-all enjoying myself completely. That was the only time I felt seen by God, and it filled me with such joy that if the entire three-hour church service could have been praise and worship I never would have missed the sermons.

Now, I feel God much more readily, and I think that has a lot to do with me taking things the way that I relate best to them, rather than trying so hard to follow other peoples’ rituals for connecting with Him. That said, my love for worship has never once abated. The connection I feel to music, the way it moves me, opens my heart in such a way to put me in a place so that it’s easier for Him to talk to me, to give me a God hug.

You’ll find me, ever Sunday, jamming out to the worship stylings of Aaron Boothe and the rest of the worship team, and loving it. Appropriate or not, I’m always doing a little dance in my seat, singing animatedly, hands gesturing dramatically to what I’m singing. I still don’t raise them, but I don’t think that’s necessary. I think it’s just like typing. For some people, it makes it easier for them to feel that connection to God, but since he sees into our hearts, He doesn’t need it. He sees our sincerity.

Joy. Joy immeasurable, which fills you for no logical reason. That’s what connecting to God brings, and since it’s been such a journey for me to find the best way to find it, I want to share that joy with all of you reader-type-peoples, the Super Squad. So share with me! Tell me what kooky way you have found that helps you interact with God. I would love to hear about your rituals for making that connection and stories about how you’ve seen those methods given an approving nod from Him. Ways he’s touched you to affirm you’re doing something right! Tell me your stories, and I will give you cookies. *

*Disclaimer : I will probably not give you cookies. 

About Daniel Mitchell

50% of "What the Faith?!?!", a blog about two skeptics who turned to God for no apparent reason. View all posts by Daniel Mitchell

5 responses to “And now for something vaguely diff’rent. – By Brandi, not Daniel. Ignore that.

  • Veronica M. Surges (@jurisdoctorette)

    I’ve actually been thinking of this a lot since I first read the post. It’s wonderful that you found “your” way to connect to God and it highlighted the fact that right now I don’t have my “own” way at the moment. My prayers are focused, my prayer life is good, etc., but I would love a good jumpstart of something a little different. Giving his kids their very own form of unique prayer and worship definitely seems like something God would love to do and this post has motivated me to really seek out what that is. Maybe I’ll dust off my piano or break out the running shoes…

    • Brandi Mitchell

      Hi V!

      I’m so glad to hear that I helped shed some light for you in my random musings. That’s exactly why I started doing this!! You cant see me, and I’m at work so its low key, but I’m doing a little happy dance over here about it. Totes.

      Anyway, I think some of your ideas there are GREAT! I actually find music to be a HUGE doorway to whats going on in my heart, mind, soul, whatev. I mean either the person who wrote the song I’m playing/singing/listening to is saying whats going on SO much better than I could, or I’m messing around and . . well . . .not “writing” music per say, that would imply some talent, but the music that I’m messing around and creating on accident is often more reflective of anything I could say than . . .well. . . anything I could say. I used to run, too, and I found that not only is that a good way to focus, (for example its just you, the weather, and the sound of the soles of your shoes hitting the asphalt (or grass, or dirt, I don’t judge. :P)) but also releases so many endorphins that I used to do it when I found myself getting tense or cranky or whatever, and I ALWAYS felt better afterward. Granted at the time I wasn’t consciously praying, but I could easily see the connection!

      My personal thoughts, flawed as they may be, are that its not WHAT you’re doing, but that you’re doing something that keeps you focused. So whether that’s running, playing an instrument, emailing God, or fasting (as Daniel discussed in another post) its just something that takes focus off everything else, and gives it to God. I think the fact that you’re even looking for a way to get closer communication with God is fantastic! ^_^

  • Rachel Cushing

    this was SUPER encouraging! i’m the same way…i have every intention to pray for someone or prayer something through and then get completely sidetracked. i really like the idea of typing my prayers out! i’m constantly on a computer either at work or home so it would be second nature to type out prayers. do you actually email them somewhere or do you just keep a running word document going?

    • Brandi Mitchell

      Hi Rachel!! Thanks for the comment! I’m glad to hear reading how scatterbrained I can be, was helpful for you :D

      My proximity to, and love of, all things keyboarded (I made that a word. Its a word now) is one of the reasons that I took to that method so quickly.

      I don’t email them, mostly because I’m just opening a word document and then doing what I call “type-vomit” which is terrible if you’re trying to write a book, but something I think God appreciates for its raw sincerity. I make it a point to just type. I refuse to let myself edit it (I hate contractions and capitalize strange words in the middle of sentences, for example) and when its done I immediately close it.

      Now, weird as it sounds, I cant bring myself to delete them, which I’m sure some day will get me in trouble (especially the ones where I’m ranting “God, why is he such a jerk and I hate everything and poor me wah wah wah” Someone is gonna read those one day and I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do.) but I just cant do it. If I’m using my phone (which I have done) I can get away from this by just hitting the home key when I’m finished. It goes off into the ether and I never have to worry about it again. But when I’m on Word there’s always that moment after I hit the x that it goes “Do you want to save changes to this document?” and I always sit there, with my mouse hovering over no, angsting about it for like ten minutes before clicking “Yes” and then titling it “Prayer(plus some random number)” and never looking at it again.

      *rereads that* I can be so strange, sometimes. Anyway! Hope that answered your question! :D

  • Rachel Cushing

    Yes, that answers it perfectly! Thanks, dear!

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