The enthusiast Christian loves God with all their being and shows it with with excitement. They live on a rollercoaster ride of “letting go and letting God.” They dream big dreams, pray big prayers, worship with their whole bodies, and create with inspiration.
Perhaps you’re just the opposite – maybe the thought of attending a 2-hour long worship service with singing and dancing to be more like hell than heaven! Or, perhaps as I described the enthusiast Christian you thought I meant that all Christians must be that way – that if you aren’t finding yourself connecting with God, it’s because you’re not enthusiastic enough.
That’s not where I’m going with this at all. In fact, being an “Enthusiast” is simply one of nine different ways of connecting with God described by Gary Thomas in his book “Sacred Pathways“. One of NINE!
In my blog series about our different ways of connecting with God, I wanted to start with this one, because I feel like this is the one that gets either envied, or, perhaps out of envy, dismissed as emotionalism.
But the key is that not everyone is wired like this, and guess who makes the wiring? That’s right, God does. So if God didn’t wire you like this, don’t despair! One or more of the others will surely be your sacred pathway, and you will be able to use those sacred pathways to connect with him.
So who is the Enthusiast Christian?
These are people who love God through mystery – things like dreams, visions, and expectant prayer. Some may scoff at the legitimacy of both, but there’s no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater here – or as Gary Thomas says, “it makes little sense to completely deny the usefulness of something just because it can be abused.” (Thomas, p 158)
Enthusiasts also love God through celebration – they may love to worship enthusiastically, and they may derive a lot of joy from working with children. They are likely to be highly creative as well.
I identify quite a bit (but not fully) with this sacred pathway, and I’m sure others with whom I’ve shared some of my moments with God would agree. I have experienced the odd vision (but no dreams from God) and have definitely felt that connection with God that some classify as a “spiritual high”. I often hesitate to share my stories with others, because I have found that people are either skeptical or envious, neither of which are healthy attitudes for others to hold about what happens between me and God.
But remember, my way is the not the only way to worship God, and in fact, I also identify with several of the other ways to find connection with God (including intellectual, which adds balance to my enthusiast tendencies).