The other thing we can do to get young people into God is to help make it real for them. Many teens and adults alike have a problem with God because it has been reduced to a social construct, a detached belief system, or a simple academic concept. It’s all intellectual. We are taught about God via sermon or in class on a chalkboard, but there is no real experience of God on the inside. So the idea is to teach kids and show them ways in which they can feel the power of God and expand His presence within.
We need to show them how to pray and meditate, for instance – two actions that will lift them up and get things flowing. We need to present them with opportunities to speak publicly about their experience with addiction, and other opportunities to work one on one with others. Rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty ignites the power of God within. Through action, we feel lifted up and begin to have a real experience of God, not just some removed academic experience.
If the force of God is harnessed through action and we feel that glow of warmth inside, we will know how worth it this path really is, but if there is no experience, no payoff from this spiritual journey, no young person is going to be interested. I remember working at a recovery high school years ago and taking a few kids outside during the after-school program and guiding them through a meditation. When we finished, opened our eyes and came to, they looked at me and said Holy Shit, I feel, like, high right now. No, I wasn’t trying to get them high, but I was trying to give them a REAL tool they could use to change the space they were in, to change their inner experience.
As opposed to sitting in church or listening to some addiction specialist blab on about triggers (that don’t exist), young people need actual things to do, actual actions they can take to induce real spiritual experiences. We are a selfish clan and want to feel better, so if we can develop an arsenal of tools that help change the way we feel, as we begin to use these tools consistently, we begin to really evolve, get stronger, more balanced, calm and centered.
Praying earnestly to oneself in one’s own voice, meditating, speaking publicly, running a group or a meeting, taking others through the Step process, helping family and friends with some project, writing inventory, reading it, making a tough amends, exercising, hobbies, gardening, golf, having fun, you name it – the more action, the more we will change, the more we will actually feel God, and the closer to God we will get.
Many of us don’t really get close to God by reading about Him or having someone lecture us about Him. We draw closer to God by DOING THINGS THAT BRING US CLOSER.