When do you find yourself most awestruck by who God is or what God has done? Is it when you stand in the breathtaking beauty of a panoramic view of creation? Or hearing the lilt of birdsong? Or maybe it’s watching light stream through stained glass windows of a cathedral? This week we conclude our series on the nine spiritual temperaments with the final three – and each of the above questions are an indicator of one of those. Do you find yourself connecting with one or more? Which draws you more into God’s presence?
The Naturalist – is drawn into God’s presence most when out of doors. They easily see God in creation. Psalm 23 beckons them to find where to “lie down in green pastures,” or walk by “still waters” for spiritual release. Or, the Naturalist spiritual temperament might be drawn to music that evokes feelings of the awesomeness of God in creation such as “How Great Thou Art.” If you have a Naturalist spiritual temperament, here are some options to draw you into God’s presence:
- Ask yourself where you could easily go to help you connect with God in nature. A local park? A spot by the river? How can you do this on a regular basis? A bench in your own back yard garden?
- Take your Bible with you on a walk in nature, find a rock to sit on and read from the Psalms to find your spiritual batteries restored
- Go on a silent retreat at a location surrounded by nature
- Worship where you can watch the sun rise with the break of dawn
The Sensate – is in awe of God through the five senses, and especially wants to be surrounded and filled with sounds, sights, tastes, and smells that awaken them spiritually. Like those with the Naturalist spiritual temperament, they are drawn to beauty…but not always out of doors. They might connect with God in looking as they listen to birds singing outside their window, in an artist’s renderings, or in fingering a cross. Here are some ways to experience more of God’s presence if you have a Sensate spiritual temperament:
- Ask yourself how having something to touch, look at, taste, or listen to enhances your feeling of connection with God. What are those?
- Scripture is full of sensate works inviting us into God’s presence. Do a search of words like “taste” or “touch” in a Bible concordance and look them up. For example, how does Psalm 34:8 connect with you? “O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.”
- Discover art inviting you into God’s presence – or purchase a journaling Bible and as you read passages stimulating your senses, sketch or add your own art to the pages (there are many YouTube videos to help guide you to “Bible Art Journaling)
- Try burning a candle with an incense fragrance, or incense itself as you sit in God’s presence
The Traditionalist – connect most deeply with God though the experience of rituals such as liturgy, the sacraments, and familiar worship structure. They connect most with what is familiar to them and especially in Christian tradition. If you have a Traditionalist spiritual temperament, you might appreciate the description of the Old Testament tabernacle in Exodus 40. What about the tabernacle description connects you to God? Here are some other ways you might be more drawn into God’s presence:
- Create a playlist of some of your favorite old hymns (a search on YouTube can help to locate them) and play them for your own worship experience
- Tour old cathedrals rich with traditional stained glass and imagery and sit a while in their pews
- Engage in Christian Calendar traditions familiar to you, or use the Common Book of Prayer
Now that we have covered all nine of the Spiritual Temperaments over the past three weeks, you might realize you identify with several of them. How can you engage in some new ways to enter God’s presence? – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist