9 Steps For Building A Relationship With God That Feels Loving Instead Of Critical

Photo: Kosim Shukurov / Shutterstock
woman praying
Self

When you hear about God, what comes to your mind?

It probably depends on the values you learned from your parents.

If you grew up in a faith community that taught that God was angry, judgmental, and violent, you would have a hard time believing in a loving God.

But, believe it or not, building a good relationship with God that's loving and non-critical can be achieved with faith.

RELATED: 4 Simple But Spiritual Ways To Deeply Connect With God Without Going To Church

How to build a relationship with God that feels loving in 9 steps. 

1. Learn the power of silence.

Many great spiritual leaders use silence to connect with and be closer to God. Praying is about listening to God or, another way of saying it, waiting on God.

All you have to do is nothing! In an over-stimulated world, you may find this challenging to turn off the chatter of your mind.

Silence is a time to be. Go into this sacred time with your body, heart, and mind open. Trust that God is working in you, even if you're not feeling like anything is happening.

The more you practice, the better you will connect to the spirit within you.

You will be able to hear the quiet, gentle, and yet powerful voice of God. If the voice is loud and angry, your ego is probably doing the talking.

Over time you begin to gain insights, whether subtle or obvious. You will have moments of unity with the one God which no words can ever fully describe.

2. Meditation.

Quieting your mind can help you to stay tuned in to God. You will find many different forms of meditation, including mindfulness, mantra meditation, progressive meditation, loving-kindness meditation, visualization, body scans, and Centering Prayer.

Try different forms of meditation until you find one that feeds your soul. You might find several that are helpful. Some meditations happen in silence, some are guided, and others have music or natural sounds in the background.

You can also join a meditation group, in person or online. There are many apps you can download that will inspire and guide you in your meditation, like my favorite app, Insight Timer. It's available for both IOS and Android smartphones.

If you start hearing criticism, it's your ego speaking, not the voice of God. You will know God by God's love.

3. Practice radical gratitude.

God expects you to live with gratitude every day.

To have radical gratitude is to become aware and acknowledge everything that blesses your life, including food, shelter, good health, friends, family, strangers, water, trees, and more. 

It's to show appreciation for all the things you have taken for granted.

4. Pray.

Like meditation, there are many ways to pray. Sometimes, prayer and meditation become interchangeable.

There is no wrong or right way to pray. You can talk to God, sing to God, listen to God, or any combination of these. This is an important step in how to build a relationship with God.

Each religious tradition will have its own ways to meditate and pray. If you are from a particular religious tradition, you might want to start with your tradition. 

In the Christian tradition, here are some traditional forms of prayer:

Adoration

Contrition

Thanksgiving

Supplication

Always go into prayer with an open heart. It's the power of love working through people like you that transforms the world.

RELATED: 15 Reasons Why A Relationship With God Will Improve Your Marriage

5. Read inspiring books.

Reading is a powerful tool to open your heart to reflect God's love wherever you go. There are thousands of titles out there. 

If you're looking for suggestions, here are some authors I recommend:

Brene Brown

Joan Chittister

Brian D. McLaren

Anne Lamott

You might want to journal as you read to discern how God speaks to you through these authors. Each author will share their story and give you suggestions for how to build a relationship with God.

Remember, no one has the ultimate truth. Each author shares how God has touched their lives. 

You and I experience God in different ways. Some claim that God is too abusive, violent, judgmental, and manipulative. That's not the God I choose to follow.

Who is the God you choose to follow?

6. Help a person in need.

Your faith in God is meaningless unless you spread Gods' love.

You can help another person with a smile, by opening a door, offering to take a hungry person for lunch, giving money to someone in need, taking shut-ins to appointments, and standing in solidarity with an individual or community who faces oppression.  

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

How do you spread God's love?

7. Listen to music that touches your heart and soul.

Music has the power to open your heart. It can help you feel the presence of God in your daily life.   

You will know when you have found music that works for you. You will feel warmth in your chest. You will feel a feeling of peace beyond anything you could imagine.

Music can help you reconnect with God.

I love the music from the musicals "Godspell," "Jesus Christ Superstar," and "Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat." What music and songs inspire you?

8. Take full responsibility for your choices.

One way to stay connected to your God-self is to take one hundred percent responsibility for yourself

When you take full responsibility for yourself, you are less likely going to blame others. You are less likely to put other people down. You allow God to lead you.

You accept the reality that the only person you can change is yourself.  You know you can never force another person to change.    

When you can recognize that acceptance within you, you have the beginnings of the wisdom on how to build a relationship with God.

9. Accept the love and support of others.

If you find it hard to accept help, it is essential to learn that if you expect to help others, you need to give people the opportunity to help you too.

I think you are wise to forget the expression "it is better to give than to receive." They are both equally important.

We are God's hands, feet, and mouths in the world. God expects us to care for each other. God works through each of us when we help another person.

If you can find a religious community that nurtures your faith and helps you build a loving relationship with God, then you're on the right track.

But, anytime you hear a spiritual leader using religion as a weapon, you are wise to stay away from them.

The best way to access this love is through God's wisdom revealed to us through the sensations of your body, the emotions of your heart, and a quiet mind.

The more you experience God's love within you, the more you will notice it in others and the more you will truly know how to build a relationship with God.

RELATED: How Loving God Helps You To Love Others, Spiritually

Roland Legge is a certified Life and Identity Coach and a minister in the United Church of Canada who lives with his family in Yorkton Saskatchewan Canada. You can sign up for a 30 Minute Discover Call at no charge to you and sign up for my Newsletter

This article was originally published at REL Consultants. Reprinted with permission from the author.