What Are You Looking For?


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I’ve always been inexplicably drawn to old churches in the small, hard to reach villages of Mexico. There’s something about the simplicity of these churches that projects a profound poignancy I’ve experienced nowhere else. Absent are the shiny brass offering plates, the leather songbooks full of hope, and in their place stands people resigned to life’s hardships, yet armed with a quiet strength to survive. I used to enter these churches with wonderment and awe, wanting to hear the voice of God or to find some tangible sign God had left for me.

I loved to sit in the confessionals where musty secrets and clandestine sins still hung in the air like death and broken dreams. Countless times I’ve sat on well-worn wooden seats, my fingers rubbing the same edges where centuries of hands before me had asked for atonement and waited for forgiveness. But after a while, I always got up and left. The blatant signs I was looking for weren’t there, plus I didn’t know what to pray or how to ask for them.

Sometimes I used to watch televangelists like Jim and Tammy Faye Baker and wonder who’d I’d be if I let them bring God into my life. Would I speak in tongues? Would I wear my hair differently? Would I throw my arms in the air when I talked about God and Jesus, and who was God and Jesus anyway, and why did I need them in my life? Frankly, those people on television scared me. They were alien and foreign from anyone else I knew, and so I retreated further into my Godless stance, putting up walls as though giving my soul to Jesus was like surrendering to the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I now realize I was missing the point. There’s no one “type” of person who believes in God, plus He has made me a better version of myself. I now know what everyone is looking for, that inner piece or inner meaning that is lacking from our lives. I now believe we’ve been designed like an intricate lock on a special door to which only God holds the key.

I’m sad when I hear people say they don’t think God or religion is relevant to their lives. Trust me, I understand. Until 10 years ago, well before breast cancer, I felt the same way. Like a battery winding down, life inherently robs us of our power and our balance, but it’s not a mystery how to find them. We don’t have to go off by ourselves to India in search of a mystic guru. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we’ve always had the power. We just have to say, “Hello, God. I don’t know how to pray, but I want to begin a dialog with you. I need your help. I need your strength.” The rest will come if you open your heart; open your mind. Don’t be afraid of what you’ll find if you open yourself up to Him. Nothing is worse than not finding the one key that unlocks your soul. When we close ourselves off to the possibilities of God, we close ourselves off to all of the possibilities of who we can become and who we will be for eternity.

I have no doubt, there is a God, and He hears our prayers. While He may not answer all our prayers like we want Him to, He hears us. I don’t believe He micromanages our lives either, granting answers for some and nothing for others. I have an Internet friend who’s miscarried three times in the last year, and it would be so easy for her to say, “Why has God let this happen?” While this has rocked her world, I know she will find her footing with God. I also know not everyone is a believer, but regardless, I pray you think about God and the role He plays in your life.

In the Bible, the book of James, chapter 4, and verse 8 says: “Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.” Like me, in the beginning, you may feel awkward and unsure, like sitting on a chair in the middle of the room, naked and exposed. He is more than God, however. He is your Father and your creator. He has seen you at your best and your worst, and He still loves you. Talk to Him, even if you’re not sure how. He wants to hear from you.