There have always been situations in my life where I desperately wanted to see God or feel His presence throughout my day. There were times I felt alone and lost because I couldn’t sense His presence when I needed Him the most. There were moments when there was just so much bad happening around me — at school, with my family, friends, within myself — it became hard for me to see any good that would be coming from God. I began questioning where He was, questioning if He really did exist, and if He did, why I couldn’t feel Him, or ‘see’ in my life.
I found myself conflicted because, although I couldn’t sense Him within my trials, I still knew He was always there with me. I kept going back and forth between what I was feeling and what I knew to be true — that Jesus truly was present in my life.
It wasn’t until I began to open myself up, surrender my struggles, and my own will to Jesus that I began to see Him in my trials. It wasn’t until I started looking for God in my day to day life that I began to see Him in the small things. It wasn’t until I started to ask God to reveal Himself to me that I began to see His graces and love being poured out of others and from within myself. It wasn’t until I began to foster a relationship with Jesus, that I began to see God.
Here is a list of small things you can do that have helped me find Jesus throughout my everyday life:
Get to know Him like you’d get to know anyone.
One reason why it was hard for me to recognize Jesus in my everyday life, was because I didn’t have a strong relationship with Him. I mean, I didn’t really know who He was. Have you ever been asked to find someone you didn’t know, someone you had no clue what they looked like? It can be super awkward and frustrating, walking around, maybe calling out their name, being completely at the mercy of luck. In the same way, this is how it can feel, searching for Jesus when you don’t know who He is. Now imagine this scenario again, but instead, you know the person who you are looking for. Maybe you’ve had a class with them, you’ve talked to them before, you know what they look like. Well, this makes everything so much easier, in fact, we do this every day, walking up to our friends.
So in the same way, by building a relationship with Jesus, talking with Him, spending time with Him, we will begin to recognize Him in our own lives. This can be done in some very simple ways. The most effective way to get to know Jesus is by encountering Him in Scripture and meeting Him in the sacraments. Join Him in communion in Mass, talk to Him in Adoration, receive His graces in Confession. Ask Him about Himself, ask Him to tell you or show you how He loves you, and listen to what He says, whether it’s in Scripture, the prayers of the Mass, or through the words of a friend. And then share your life with Him — tell Him about your day, your successes, your struggles, your dreams, your goals, etc. be yourself, build a relationship with Him the way you would with anyone. He’s a real person and your relationship should express that reality.
Be honest with Him.
I remember being shown an image of Jesus knocking on a door. At first glance it looked very normal and straight forward, Jesus was simply standing behind a door, knocking, wanting to come in. Then someone pointed out to me that there wasn’t a door handle on the outside of the door, where Jesus was knocking. In other words, Jesus couldn’t get inside. What does this mean? It means that Jesus isn’t going to force his way inside, or inside your life. Yes, He is always going to be a part of it in many different ways, but He won’t barge in unless you open the door and invite Him in.
Initially, that thought scared me in a few different ways. First, there was that fear of the unknown of what was going to happen if I did, metaphorically, open that door or choose not to. I also feared that if I opened that door and Jesus saw what was inside, He would be disappointed and would want to leave.
I wanted x-ray vision, I wanted to see Him through a closed door. I felt unworthy and guilty for not allowing Him into my life, I mean after all, who am I to refuse to open the door to Him. I remember kneeling in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, when I found myself saying, “Lord, here I am, I welcome You into my life, I invite You to see the good and the bad, I open myself to receive you.” I’ll admit it was scary to say, I didn’t know what to expect after I said it. Would lighting strike me like I’ve read in books or seen in movies, or would Jesus appear in front of me? Well, neither of those things happened, but that moment marked the beginning of a beautiful and honest relationship I now have with Him.
Looking back, to the time where I felt alone, I realize I never was alone, I just never allowed Jesus in. All of those times I needed Him, He was always standing there on the other side wanting to come in. And when I did open that door, contrary to what I first thought, He welcomed me, He embraced me with open arms and an unimaginable amount of love.
Talk to Him.
This is such an easy and effective way to help you ‘see’ Jesus within your life. For me, I say a very simple prayer every morning as I drive to school. I say something along the lines of, “Lord, please reveal yourself to me throughout my day. Allow me to see your love and mercy in others, and grant me the grace to also reflect your goodness and love to others. Amen”
This prayer, though short and simple, says a lot. For me, saying these words consciously reminds me to keep myself open to God, and it’s just my own way of asking God to be with me throughout my day. I also feel like it shows a lot of courage and vulnerability in asking God to be present in our lives, it tells Him that we are aware that we are desperately in need of Him.
I would encourage you to say a prayer similar to this — something genuine and from your heart. It’s okay if you don’t want to say anything like this out loud, just talk with God however you normally do. And don’t worry if you are at a loss for words, He hears the silent desires of our hearts.
Look for Him.
Juggling school, homework, clubs, sports, chores and more, while still trying to maintain relationships with friends, family, and Jesus is a lot. Life gets super busy and stressful it’s so easy to find yourself rushing through every day, getting lost in the same routines, forgetting to call your mom back, forgetting to respond to that text, and forgetting to pray. Let’s be honest, it can be easy to forget about God, it can feel like He isn’t there anymore, especially if we aren’t looking for Him and including Him in different aspects of our lives.
One way I see God is through children, there’s something about seeing so much joy and innocence radiating from them it just reminds me of Jesus. As you are going through your day look, you may find God in the beauty of nature, through the warmth of the sun, the people around you. But also, look for Him within your own struggles and trials, because trust me, He is there walking with you in them.
Just remember each and every relationship with God is going to be different and unique with each person. There is no one way Jesus will speak to a person. So be open, be honest with Him. Whatever it is you’re doing, wherever you may find yourself, you’d be surprised the places God tries to reveal Himself to you, so give it a try, and begin looking.