These are just some thoughts I wanted to write down.
I've been calling what I've been doing for the last 4 months "trying to regain my faith"--which left me when I was a young teenager, and got into the hurry of daily life and fascination with science and logic. Very "left brain" stuff-- I think that's what it's called.
Anyway, now, with my life out of the fast lane, I decided to take a second look and see if maybe there's something to religion--so many people seem to feel or think or know that there is..
This quickly turned serious. I started feeling things I hadn't felt in a long time. So, in keeping with my old left-brain tendency, I've been getting advice on how to *make* this happen more.
At one church (I visited 3, each for a month) they told me that all you have to do is reach out, make the leap... and I tried to do that. I'm willing, but I just don't understand how a mind, or a heart, or a soul can leap. I did, however, have 3 hours of actually being able to believe, that same night. It didn't happen again, but wow! I'm never giving up on the possibility of another one of those experiences. If God gave me those hours--and it's hard to see how I could have given them to myself-- He knows I love him forever.
So I continued to try. At the next church, the one I'm joining, the pastor said that God does it, gives the faith, and we can only be ready for it. He did say that praying, church attendance, Bible reading, etc. can help make us ready, keep us listening.
I'm joining that church, mostly not because of what the pastor said (which does seem to be true by my experience), but mostly because almost every time I've attended (every Sunday since early May) something has happened. One of my maybe 5 favorite hymns being sung or played, a Bible verse that I didn't know about that offers special encouragement, a relevant sermon, and a few special times when I felt that presence again, faintly but still wonderful.
So here's the idea. Belief, faith, is not a left-brain thing of facts and proofs and lists and efforts and so forth, at least not for me. It's the right-brain kind of activity--allowing yourself to imagine and dream and be open to a different kind of experience.
And maybe that's why I have those experiences most in either prayer or church. Prayer opens my mind, especially if I remember to use some of prayer time to just listen. And church, with the beauty of the sanctuary and its ancient ceremonies and its inspiring music, that also encourages the other side of my brain. That's the side that can wait , for example, for something to happen at whatever the right time is, instead of always pushing for it, which may be distracting.
And church is maybe not a special place to find God (who is supposed to be EVERYWHERE anyway.) I think it's the place where my rigid left brain can best relax and let me float away into possibilities. It's the place where I can most allow myself to meet God.
Added: And now I've reread this twice and corrected typos. Left brain, left brain, left brain...