My “Les Mis” journey

Major Spoiler Alert

“Les Mis” has played such a huge impact on my life. My journey with this musical started when I had my first experience with it. It was December of 2012 and my parents took me to see the movie. I already knew one of the songs, which was “I Dreamed a Dream”. I did not know anything about the plot or what the title meant. I saw a preview before going to the movie, but i still was unsure whether I would like it or not. But I soon was discover it was going to play an important part in my musical journey.

The first time was quite shocking. I had no clue it was a tragedy to begin with. After the first character died, I figured it out. For the rest of the movie, I watched the movie in shock. I could not see past the sad world and I mainly paid attention to the happier moments. Shock covered up all the emotions and my mind was half awake because of that. However my soul was wide awake and after the movie ended, I was thinking “did I just like a tragedy”.

The only reason why I knew that my soul was wide awake because I automatically went straight to researching the musical. I added the songs to my Pandora broadway station. I only remembered hearing three songs when I saw the movie. They were “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Master of the House”, and “Do you Hear the People Sing”. I left the theatre with “Do You Hear the People Sing” stuck in my head. I researched all sorts of things about the musical such as the time period and Victor Hugo. I researched information about the musical as well. I soon decided to watch the movie a second time and watching it this time was easier on me. The emotions were much more real this time because I finally was able to appreciate the musical for what it is. I cried this time around, but only twice. I still wanted to know why this musical makes me feel uplifted.

I decided to dig deep in the show and figure out why this extremely tragic musical is also uplifting. I soon learned it is a story of sacrifice, love, faith,  humanity, hope, compassion, forgiveness, and redemption. Now things started to make more sense. I developed an obsession over this musical and it was the only thing I could think about. I knew I had to see the stage show eventually and luckily my community college did it.

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When seeing it on stage for the first time, things were completely different. The songs were in a different order and some plot points were different. It still was the same show, but just different. Because it was live, I felt the sadness even more. Because I signed up to be an usher that year, I got to see the show three times. Once was with my family and the other two was being an usher. The things that surprised me about this performance was how phenomenal it was even though I could see where there would be room for improvement, but glad I got the opportunity to finally see the musical on stage.

My journey with “Les Mis” would not end there. I soon knew I had to see the stage show professionally and also had a dream of seeing it in the “West End”. I eventually read the abridged version of the book and it made me appreciate the musical even more.I knew it would be special to see it in London because it is the only original show and it is where the show opened. When I found out my family was going to London in 2015, I started to convince my family to take me to “Les Mis” because my dream would come true.

Finally in the summer of 2015, I got to live my dream of seeing “Les Mis” in London. After I found out I was going to be seeing the show, I was speechless and in tears. Coincidentally in the summer of the same year, I decided to read the unabridged version of the book, which made me love the musical even more and it shows how emotional the show is. That is due to the book being covered with so many emotions, which explains why the musical is as powerful, uplifting, and emotional as it is. I actually got to watch the show when it was in the middle of its 30th year. When I first saw the theatre, I could not believe what I was seeing. My dream became a reality right when the show started. The moment the lights went off and the music began, I knew my dream was becoming reality and that it was more than I excepted.I knew my emotions will be stronger this time around.

When the action began, I automatically felt the power of the storyline. I ended up having an understudy as Valjean (Adam Bayjou) and he was brilliant. I could easily see his transformation from a harsh man full of hate and anger to a man filled with compassion, and love. I could feel desperation of Fantine during her journey and it broke my heart. In fact, Rachelle Ann Go only played Fantine for a month when I saw it impressed me how she was able to play Fantine so well.  Carrie Hope Fletcher was one of the best Eponine’s I ever saw and my heart broke for Eponine. I could also feel the student’s passion for their cause and I could feel how hopeless they felt after Eponine died.

I finally cared for Javert because Jeremy Secomb did a wonderful job expressing the character’s emotion during his soliloquy. The Thenardiers’ gave me a much needed laugh and in my eyes, those characters are those you love to hate and hate to love, because I loved how they provide the comic relief, but I cannot appreciate their greedy, cruel abusive side, but the side is shown once in a while through their humor. I do not like how they mistreat their kids.

I cried the moment Valjean was released from prison and I did not see that coming. The emotions were spot on that night and I felt way more than fifteen emotions.Mom and I were nine rows back from the stage and I loved those seats. They did not block the barricade at all. The set was incredible and the best set piece was the barriacade. Overall, the London production was epic. I ended up meeting the guy who played Jean Valjean when I went to the stage show. Gong to the stage door made me nervous but I got to have a picture with him and he signed my playbill.

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I am still obsessed with the musical. I own the movie, the 25th anniversary concert, two playbills, tickets, a poster, two versions of the book, and a stage to screen book. I watch the movie as much as I can. I also own the piano book and know how to play the songs. Because of my strong knowledge of the songs and characters, I was able to add emotion to the songs when I play. So overall, this show taught me that tragedies can be enjoyed and that they do have a positive nature.

Before this musical, I fully believed I would not like tragedies at all. Tragedies were also unheard of for a musical, but they play a big part in musical theatre. This musical helped me get though a rough time that I experienced in the fall of 2014. I was able to experience the emotions in a new light and it also touches my soul in a way that I cannot describe. In my opinion, “Les Mis” is kind of the holy grail of emotions because it has so many. Some are harder to work with while some are easier to work with. I had to learn to tolerate uncomfortable, but I understand the importance of that emotion. I am so thankful it is part of my life because of what I learned from it. I now want to eventually see the show in another language especially because I am a Spanish minor and wonder if seeing the show in another language will still have the same emotional impact.

Importance of Christ in Life

I am a very strong spiritual person and it is very important to have Christ in your life. Growing up as a Christian, I have enjoyed developing my spirituality. Through Kanuga, an Episcopalian Conference Center, I learned that Christ does exist. It wasn’t until high school when I understand how important Christ is in life. Because of the special meaning of Winterlight, I began to truly understand how strong Christ’s love for us is. It took forever until I found the right way to pray. Nothing was working, but I soon figured out the right way in college. I learned that writing was one of the best ways to communicate to Christ. Whenever I was feeling sad in high school, I would listen to Christian music because it made me feel better. I could feel Christ’s presence, which is why it always felt good to listen to Christian music.

I still barely read the bible, but due to being at a Christian college, I read it more often. I used to pray only for myself. But I soon started praying for others as well including those I do not know. I go to the Gathering every week which is where the presence of Christ feels the strongest. There is this kind of energy in that worship service that makes me know that Christ will never give up on you. If you are going through a rough time, it is important to understand that Christ will guide you and make you feel better.

I love the impact I have on people when I volunteer. Back in high school, I developed a deep connection for those less fortunate than I particularly the homeless and poverty population.When I volunteer, I love the smile I give to others, which is how I know I left an impact. I was part of Beta Club, an honor society, in high school and part of the club volunteered. I went to two outreach events with my Diocese. I also went on a mission trip to Welsh, WV. When I attended Winterlight, there was a service project on the last day. The first time I went we made blankets for migrant workers and we ended up blessing them during the final eucharist. The second time I was there, we packaged twenty thousand meals during a “Stop Hunger Now” event. I also volunteered with my family during “Room in the Inn”.

Now that I am in college, I still find ways to volunteer. I am part of Campus Civitan, a volunteer club. We  have volunteered at a homeless shelter, Special Olympics, Relay for Life, and Octoberfest. These are a couple of things we do, but we also other things. We have raised awareness about homelessness during homelessness awareness week. We volunteered at a benefit concert and attended a homeless panel. Currently, we volunteered during MLK day and that left a big impact on the staff at Miracle Hill. We were split into three groups. My group’s job was to organize clothing. We volunteered with the women’s volleyball team that day.

If it wasn’t for Christ, I may not be the person I am today. Just remember, Christ will always be there for you. because he will never give up. He is a part of our soul and nurtures it to the fullest. His love is greater than any love imaginable. He has a large capability to forgive and heal. Just remember, he will lead us in the right direction to become a better person. My journey with Christ will continue to get stronger.If i put faith in him, it makes college less stressful. Trusting in him is one of the main reasons why I am still thriving at college. Christ is always talking to us even if you feel like you cannot hear him. He makes every day worth it and makes us the best person we can be.

 

My Musical Journey

My journey with musicals has been a complicated one, but it was so worth it. I first got exposed to musicals in elementary school. My favorite musical in those days was “Annie”. I also loved “Sound of Music” along with the Disney ones. I saw “Cats”, “Lion King”, “Seussical the Musical”,  and “Beauty and the Beast” on stage, but I have no memory of seeing them. But my true journey with musicals started in middle school. It was in the summer of 2006 and I saw “Wicked” on Broadway with my mom. That was my first experience seeing a show in New York. That show sparked my love for musicals and was when my journey truly began. Because i was twelve at the time, I started to care more for the emotions. Growing up, the emotions that stood out were joy, love, and sad. Sad was that emotion that went on the hardest journey because it was developing at a snail’s pace. I know it was a common emotion and it was as developed as it could get.

When high school came along, I discovered the genre of tragedy in theatre and I truly believed that there would never be a tragic musical. In addition to that, I did not want tragedies to become a part of my life. Soon I was to find out that the musical emotions were going to get challenged especially sad.

Eventually I was to find out that tragic musicals do exist, but they did not become reality at first. Back in eleventh grade, I discovered “West Side Story” and knew what it was based off of, but I was kind of unaware that I just discovered a tragic musical. Another crazy story about that was in the year 2009 when I first heard about “Les Mis”, another tragic musical. I discovered the musical through the song “I Dreamed a Dream”, but it took three years to find out that the show was a tragedy.

Tragedies did not become reality until they became a part of my life. This might sound crazy, but “Rent” was the first sad musical that became a part of my life in 2012, but it took a couple of months to figure out that I was loving a sad musical. In fact, that same year I experienced “Les Mis” for the first time through the movie. Before seeing the movie, I did not know I was about to enjoy and see a tragedy. I discovered the show was tragic right after the first character died and I was shocked that I did not know that. For most of the movie, shock covered up all the different emotions. I had a hard time fully appreciating the show. That means my soul was wide awake and my mind was half awake. However, I was the most impacted by “I Dreamed A Dream” because I know the song was in the show. I also had “Do You Hear the People Sing” stuck in my head. Because of being in shock, I only remembered hearing three songs, which are “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Do You Hear the People Sing”, and “Master of the House”. But something told me to start looking up information about the musical. I added the songs to Pandora and kept on learning more and more. Eventually my interest would turn into a love which would later turn into an obsession. “Les Mis” challenged the emotions I thought I knew and added new layers to existing ones and showed me how to love tragedy.

I always wanted to know why I always feel uplifted after watching in it and I decided to research that information. By the second time I watched the movie, I was to able to experience the strong emotional world of the show. That was the time when I started crying. Unexpectedly during the same year, 2013, the stage show would be at my community college. I got to watch it three times because I watched it once with my family and twice as a volunteer usher. My journey with “Les Mis” turned my love of musicals into a passion. This obsession led me to want to see the musical in the West End, and it did come true when I saw it on July 30th of last last year. All because of the sad musicals, the negative emotions strengthened in comedies.

Soon after I fell in love with “Les Mis”, I started developing a love for “Phantom of the Opera”. “Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Mis” made me think differently about musical songs. I finally saw the stage show of “Phantom of the Opera” in 2014 and it ended up being spellbinding. It almost made me cry and it was hauntingly beautiful. That musical has played a big part on my musical journey. Currently “Phantom of the Opera” is in my top three favorite musicals. The other two are “Les Mis” and “Wicked”. It makes sense that “Phantom” and “Les Mis” are up there because those two musicals are huge sensations around. They both have not left London since they opened. There is something about their scores that drives people in.

To this day, most musicals are comedies. But I found words that can describe all musicals. I wanted a word that would stay true to the comedies and would not leave out the sad musicals. I decided to use joyful in the place of happy because it works better. I started relying on the experience to figure that out and see if I can find a positive nature of the sad musicals. So overall, all musicals are joyful, emotional, unique, and full of life.

Musicals are capable of a lot and this journey will never end. Some of the changes were difficult and I am still getting used to them. The tragedies are still so fresh in my life and sometimes I accidentally call all musicals comedies, even though I know the truth. Musicals are capable of so many emotions, different kinds of dance and spectacle, along with many other things. I know deep down that musicals will always surprise me with new things that I never thought were possible in a musical. I recently discovered a tragicomic character and I saw a new kind of spectacle I never thought about. The musical, “Pippin”, has a lot of circus in it the character, Don Quixote, from “Man of La Mancha” is tragicomic.

Each musical that has truly become a part of my life plays a part in what a musical is capable of. Growing up, the musicals that became part of my life formed the basis of the emotions. In my eyes, I felt like the emotions were fully developed, but I learned what I had known was just the beginning. I feel thankful that there are both comic and tragic musicals. Even though I see most musicals as comedies, the tragedies still have played an important role especially “Rent” and “Les Mis”. But “Les Mis” had a bigger impact on me because of the big part it played on the emotions and how I learned to see beyond tragedy when I fell in love with it. Musicals can be very light-hearted like “Music Man” and can go all the way to shows filled with so much darkness such as “Les Mis”. Each musical has a different set of emotions and each time you see the same musical, a new emotion can easily sneak in.

Musicals are not just a love. They are a passion and when I see one, I am always filled with so much joy. I love how they are able to tell a story through song and I feel so connected to them. Overall, my favorite musical theatre character is Elphaba because of how much I relate and connect to her. Even though she is my favorite musical theatre character, I love others as well. Musicals have changed me for the better and truly taught me about the emotional impact and power of music. Their emotions are all over the place, but I am glad there are so many. Musicals allow me to truly appreciate the negative emotions because they are expressed through song, but I had to learn to tolerate the emotion, uncomfortable.In my opinion, I want to see a musical that I can connect and relate to and want there to be a wonderful score. There is something very special about scores that are both positive and negative. Those scores for the most part tend to come from more complex musicals with multilayered characters. I want to feel the emotions in a way that makes the experience worth it.

Importance of sad in musicals

Besides joy, sad is another common musical emotion. It is a hard emotion to work with, but it an emotion that can leave an amazing impact on you. If is wasn’t for joy, sad may not be worth feeling. Growing up with comedies, the basis of sad was created through them. It was one of the most common but one of the slowest developing emotions. I though it was fully developed growing up, but I soon was to learn that it wasn’t the case. I really believed all musicals would be comedies even after learning about the genre of tragedy. There was no proof to know that some musicals would turn out to be tragedies. But I soon found out that tragedies are part of musicals.

One of the tragic musicals has played such a big part of my life. It is still so fresh in my life, but it has taught me a lot since I had fallen in love with it. “Les Mis” impacted me in such a way that I had never felt before. I really thought I would hate tragedies and that they were not an option in musicals. “Les Mis” is a very sad musical because of the huge amount of death and misery. There is heartbreak, abuse, prostitution, injustice, which takes place in a rough time period in France. This musical took sad a step further and turned that emotion into an extremely powerful and strong one instead of a more limited one. “Les Mis” is not the only meaningful sad musical. The other one that has meaning is “Rent”. Despite the poverty and the HIV/AIDS, the characters still live life to the fullest. There is another sad musical that I like, but is not that meaningful. It is “West Side Story”, a modern retelling of “Romeo and Juliet”. The show reminds me of what I grew up with. It has the fun costumes and dance, but it still is a tragic story.

Despite the fact that sad musicals are not common, they still play a huge role in the history of musical theatre. As far as I know, all of them have been successful.

Sad has always been this common emotion, which is how I know how important the emotion is. I do not love a song just on emotion. Just because a song is sad does not been you shouldn’t like it. I can barely relate to the sad songs, but it is through joy which allows be to love them. When it comes to the negative emotions, they are hard to work with, but if you learn to accept them, they create a lasting impression. Sad is one of the most beautiful emotions in musicals.

Sad is just as important as joy is, but joy will always be stronger. That is because joy is the only emotion that can make feeling a negative emotion worth it. Having both positive and negative emotions in a musical score makes characters very real because people need both positive and negative emotions in their life. Some musical characters do not find happiness much, but once in a while feel happy.

“Wicked” and “Les Mis”

While at College, people have been asking me “which is better, “Wicked” or “Les Mis”, which I do not think that is fair. These two are sharing the spot for best musical for different reasons. They each are better than each other in their own unique way. There is a reason why “Wicked” is up there and “Les Mis” is there as well. I cannot put into words how much both mean to me.

For starters, “Wicked” was the first show I saw on Broadway. It was a date with my mom and I was twelve at the time. I have seen live musicals before this, but this was my first time in New York. At the end of the show, “Popular” was my favorite song from the musical. I do not remember many details about seeing it on Broadway, but at least I remember going and that “Popular” ended up being my favorite song from the musical. At one point in my “Wicked” journey, the musical became spectacular and ended up being my favorite musical. It is the musical of everything because of what it is capable of. It has a ton of spectacle, dance, and has a positive and negative score. Because it takes place in OZ, it has to do things quite differently than a lot of other shows. Each time I have seen “Wicked”, the moment I enter the theatre I feel like I am in OZ because the curtain is a map of OZ and seeing the incredible, brilliant dragon at the top of the set. “Wicked” is a show I can fully relate to mainly because of Elphaba and the main theme of friendship.

Elphaba has always been my favorite musical character because of how much I relate to her. I can understand how she feels. Just like her, I am this big-hearted, talkative, smart, determined, “different” girl who strongly believes in equality and staying true to myself. In addition, I want to feel accepted and sometimes feel misunderstood by others. When you find a character like that, that character means something to you. I cannot relate to everything about Elphaba such as her unrequited love for Fiyero or how much she has been discriminated against. She is able to get past her unrequited love for Fiyero, but the sad truth is she has no idea that Fiyero has loved her all long. Eventually the two of them have an affair and become a couple. They have a passionate affair even though they both are labeled as outcasts.

The spectacle, dance, and costumes of “Wicked” reflect OZ. The costume are very crazy and fun and look like something we would not see everyday. The spectacle adds to the magic and fantasy of the show. At the beginning of the show, you see the dragon operate who breathes fire, and you feel even closer than OZ than the initial transportation. The way they show Elphaba’s powers also reflect OZ. They way the dances work are OZian. The songs have a special kind of magic in them. Everything about this show feels Ozian. Overall, “Wicked” is my favorite musical comedy because it is so magical  and full of fantasy.

On the other hand, there is “Les Mis”. This show has played such a big impact on me. I learned so much from this. I do not relate to it as much as “Wicked”, but there is something about the story, characters, and score that drive you in. “Les Mis” is a very powerful, tragic, inspirational, emotional roller coaster. Before “Les Mis”, I thought I would hate tragic shows, but this show proved me wrong. The emotional impact was something I thought would not be possible in a musical or a tragedy.There are several emotions in this show, which are hard to keep track of, but at the end, you leave feeling uplifted.The hardest emotion to handle is uncomfortable, but I learned to tolerate it. This musical is still fresh in my life and I am so glad it changed my perspective on musical theatre.

“Les Mis” is not really a spectacle, dance-filled musical, but it is the longest running musical in the world and London. The main thing I relate to in this musical is the spirituality and I also have a deep connection to those less fortunate than me. Some of the scenes are harder to watch than others, but I still have joy watching them. I love watching the death scenes including favorite characters. This show truly is about humanity because of Valjean’s wonderful transformation from a hardened man to a man full of goodness, love, and compassion towards others. Besides Valjean, I have a love for other characters as well including Enjorlas, Eponine, and Gavroche.

“Les Mis” taught me that the plot is way more important than genre. Just because it is a tragedy, it does not mean it is just sad. The musical is way more than that. It is a story of hope, compassion, sacrifice, forgiveness, humanity, and redemption. The songs are very powerful and have a epic quality to them. The emotions are very real in this musical and they make you  end up feeling them deeply in your soul. The emotional impact is why it is the best musical and the emotional impact is bigger than the emotional impact in “Wicked”.Overall “Les Mis” is the best musical that is a tragedy

But “Wicked” has the whole spectacle, dance world which is stronger compared to “Les Mis”. “Les Mis” has scenes that are spectacle-like, but the spectacle-world is still better in “Wicked” because it takes place in OZ. The set in Wicked is more colorful and funner, which makes you believe you are in another world in a place you want to visit.

For now, “Wicked” is the better musical because I am about to see it a fourth time next week with my school. I am looking forward to it because there are things that surprised me last year when I learned more about the characters. I ended up doing a monologue on Elphaba and she turned out to be stronger than I thought and I learned of how much she wants to be accepted. Than I memorized “I’m Not That Girl” and the song become deeper and sadder all of a sudden.

So overall, why should I pick between two musicals that are largely different than each other. One is a comic, magical, fantasy, dance and spectacle filled musical because it takes place in OZ. Than the other one is a tragic, epic, powerful, inspirational, emotional rollercoaster .Despite the large differences, they still both have a positive and negative score. One has been part of my life for ten years and the other has been part of my life for three years.

My love for Elphaba

Elphaba has played a very important part of my life. She has been my favorite musical theatre character for ten years. I connect and relate to her more than other musical character. She is the character I can relate to the most and I look up to her. She is a beautiful women with great strength. There are characteristics of her that are part of me and that is why I love this character so much.

She is this very strong, big-hearted, “different”, smart, determined woman who believes in equality and stays true to herself. She is different for many ways and that is what makes her unique. She has this amazing power that she cannot control, but it helps her become who she is. She is green, which makes her different as well.The color of her skin makes people scared of her, but some people saw who she really is. The only people who saw past her green skin was Glinda and Fiyero. At first Elphaba and Glinda loathed each other, but eventually they turned it into a beautiful friendship.

The friendship started at the school dance when Glinda helped make Elphaba’s silly dance into something magical. They soon become best friends and changed each others lives for the better. Elphaba wants to give equal rights to the animals especially after she learned something bad was happening to them. That changed her purpose in visiting the Wizard. However plans quickly changed after she learned that the Wizard was responsible for the bad things happening to the animals. As a result she ran out with the grimmere and saw a complete new purpose in life. She decided to learn how to use her powers and be who she really was. The Wizard ended up warning the citizens of OZ that she is “Wicked”, but that is not true.

Despite being discriminated her whole life, she is still a very strong woman. She is involved in a love triangle with Glinda and Fiyero. At first, Elphaba was broken-hearted that Fiyero was in love with Glinda, but she did not realize that Fiyero always loved her. Eventually Fiyero and Elphaba got together after Fiyero snuck into the Wizard’s palace dressed  as a guard. Soon enough, Fieryo was considered an outcast after he tried to protect Elphaba when the guards were about to arrest her.

Frustrated, Elphaba does everything she can to save him, but she thought she failed. She said she will no longer do good deeds because each time she does one, the people label it as bad. She saved Boq’s life by turning him into the tin man after Nessa accidentally cast a spell on him, which was making his heart shrink, but the spell could not be reversed, and Elphaba knew the only way to save him was by turning him into tin. But the sad truth was Boq did not realize he would have died if Elphaba did not turn him into tin. The citizens that it was her fault that the lion was cowardly. But the truth was, Elphaba never truly became wicked. It really was Madame Morrible and the Wizard that were the wicked ones.

The most beautiful part of Elphaba and Glinda’s relationship was towards the end. It was when the two had one last moment to say how they changed each other for the better. The two also knew it was the last time they would see each other. It was such a bittersweet moment, but “for good” goes to the core of the show, which is friendship. The song warms my heart, even though I know this is their last moment together. But I do not think their friendship really died because they will not forget how special the friendship was. Also, Elphaba relied on Glinda to continue what she started. At the end of the show, Elphaba realized that Fiyero was alive because Elpaba turned him into the scarecrow. They both realized they could never return to OZ, but at least they will always be a couple.

Overall, Elphaba is a character I can strongly relate to. I am a big-hearted, smart, determined, “different” girl who believes in equality and staying true to myself. I also can relate to the friendship as well. I know what it is like to be different because my personality is quite different than I lot of my peers. I usually do not have friendships that share anything in common with me. My music tastes are very different because of my love for musicals. I always stay true to myself no matter what. Sometimes, I feel misunderstood by the friends, but for the most part, they accept me for who I am. Elphaba is still my favorite musical theatre character. It is special to find a character where multiple aspects of him or her are part of you. Elphaba is one of the main reasons why “Wicked” means so much to me. There are parts of her that I cannot relate to her, but I still fully connect to her. I do not think I am as strong as Elphaba and cannot relate to her unrequited love that she had for part of her life. “Wicked’ to this day is still my favorite musical comedy.

Useful Ways to Feel God’s Presence

Recently, I blogged about how to feel God’s presence. But yesterday, I thought about that a  little bit further. During yesterday’s student-led worship service, the preacher was talking about how sometimes God seems to not be speaking to you even though he always is with us. He gave us six different ways to hear God speaking and some were surprising, but made me see a new light in feeling God’s presence.

The first of these practical ways is Scripture. Reading the bible is a way to know that God is speaking. The bible is a useful way to hear God’s word, but it still has not had a lasting impact on me. I usually do not ready the bible, but because I am at a Christian college, I am reading it more often. I have to read it for class because some of our general ed requirement are religious classes. Because I usually go to the student-led worship service, I am looking up the passages that are relating to the sermon. Despite barely reading the bible, I am glad I am reading it more often than I used to.

The second way to hear God is through Jesus. He uses his own son to communicate with us. That is surprising because Jesus is God in human form. But if you want to know what God looks like, look to his son. God sent his only son to die for us and carry the burden of sin. Jesus sacrificed his own life to save us from our sins and by doing that, we understand how important he is in our life.The love of Christ of us is so big that he will love us no matter what.

The third way to listen to God is through Creation. That is one of the best ways that I feel God’s presence. When looking at creation, we realize that someone put that there. When we are out in nature, we now that God is there because he created it. That is why I love being out in nature so much. Looking at sunsets makes me feel God’s presence. Hiking makes me feel even closer to God especially when I reach the top and see the view. There are some parts of creation that are so incredible that we know that God put it there.

The fourth way to listen to God is through Others. This sort of surprised me a bit. Everyone is made in the image of God. Than again, certain people are part of our life for a reason. That is why it is so important to give back. I know deep in my heart that I am supposed to help those less fortunate than I. If someone has been on your mind and you don’t know why, it is God speaking to you saying that you need to pray and give back to that person.

The fifth way to know God is talking is through Discipline. This was the most surprising because how can discipline be a way of God speaking to us. During this service, we were told that it is learning from your mistakes, but what does that have to do with God. I know I have made mistakes in the past and that I have learned from them later. But if that is a way to listen to God, than there most me some purpose. Sometimes you may not realize you made a mistake to learn from. Usually you may not know it was one until later. It is important to learn from your mistakes instead of running away. Learning from your mistakes makes you a better person. It help you live in the moment instead of the past. You cannot live in the past because you cannot fix the mistakes you made, but at least you have learned from them.

There are two things in the sixth way to talk to God. It is through Worship and Prayer. For the longest time, I have struggled with prayer. I never could find the right way to offer prayer to God. Nothing seemed to be working and I did not have much interest in it. I finally found a useful way to pray in college. The best way for me to pray is through writing. God listens to be the best through what I write. I can be very expressive in writing prayer compared to silently praying to him. Worship is an even stronger way for me to listen to God. That is mainly due to my love for contemporary Christian music. That is a big reason why I go the student-led worship service as much as I can. Christian music makes me realize all that God has done for us. The words and melodies have so much meaning and they represent the truth.

If anyone is struggling with hearing God, I would suggest using one of these six strategies. The most shocking one was Discipline and I still have no idea how that connects to hearing God. The rest make perfect sense even though some them need work. But they are slowly getting there. But creation and worship will always be the strongest to me because I have  deep connection to nature and a deep love for Christian music. But than again using others is another way that perfectly works for me. I know God is telling me to give back to those less fortunate than I. That is why I know volunteering not a sacrifice and why I joined a volunteer club when I transferred to Gardner Webb.