I think I've got it all sussed now.
Its all very simple really. It comes down to why God created us. After much thoughtful contemplation - well about 40 years worth really, and some of it not very thoughtful (but that's another story), I've realised He created us to have a relationship with Him.
That may not sound overly profound as such, but the implications are huge. For starters, what sort of relationship, and how do we get it?
Well, the bible talks about intimacy, I mean, look at Song of Solomon - that's really intimate. But when I look at the big picture, I can see it comes down to our complete union/oneness with him.
Everything we know about love and Jesus and Holy Spirit and Father all centres around an intimate relationship. But here's where it gets interesting. I can't have an intimate relationship with anyone if we don't communicate. Its a two way thing - intimacy from both partners, transparency, trust, unconditional love for and from both sides - otherwise it isn't a relationship.
Many christians and spiritual people in general, will talk about our unity/oneness with God and enjoy him in nature and seeing his heart in everything all around them including other people. And this is true, its a good thing, a great thing! But is it relationship? Do we talk to Him, hear Him, like any other lover talks with their beloved. Yes, its that sort of intimacy He created us for! Not a pseudo-pantheistic oneness with the universe, although its part of the picture. I'm talking about real conversations, whether hearing voices or hearing with our hearts. I'm not talking about reading the bible or christian books or listening to teachings.
This is the real deal -
"Yes, I know God, we chat away all the time, He's so interesting and we talk about everything...",
"I was talking to God the other day about my son's sore foot, and He reckoned it will be OK if he rests it...",
"We were discussing what I thought about this book yesterday and He said it was basically OK but some of the stuff was just the guy projecting his own issues...",
"We went for a walk this morning and He just kept telling me how much He loved me, even all the stuff I hate about myself, well, He just cut through all that and I got overwhelmed..."
That's the sort of real.
In the end its the only thing that matters. It doesn't matter how we get there. It doesn't matter what doctrines we believe. It doesn't matter what process or rituals. It doesn't matter if you are baptised, spirit filled, have said the sinners prayer or even 'given your life to Jesus'. That was all taken care of a couple of thousand years ago.
He just wants to live with us, to be our lover/partner/father/mother/brother/sister. When we are in that place, all our "issues" just fall away, without even trying. In the presence of that level of intimacy and being engulfed in that much love, we just "are". Nothing else matters.