The problem with viewing God from a context is that one could become so absorbed in that context, thus when removed from it one gets disoriented and loses focus. God becomes a memory associated with old friends and distant places. He ceases to appear to be present in one's life.
There was a time when I purged my room from all things that would distract me from my goal of serving God. Any book, song, poem, dream, goal, or even person that was not directly "of God", I stayed away from. An acquaintance from law school saw me at Powerbooks with an armload of Philip Yancey books. She looked at the titles and asked me, "Ella, are you going through a phase?" I replied, "No, this is not a phase. This is forever."
I have read all those books and yet I hunger for other books now. I hunger. I thirst.
I have since then expanded my library and welcomed back the fantasy and fiction books that I had loved as a child. I guess you could say the extreme seclusion from all things of this world was a phase. I did not enter a monastery. I left my life as a missionary.
I have returned to my ordinary life and realized for myself that God is everywhere, and that He is bigger than how I pictured Him to be. He is present in pop culture. He is visible in secular movies and songs. He is in the difficult person at work. He is in the person who rejected me. I don't have to look for him with my overzealous concentration.
Right now I'm reading a book about a Jewish girl who had Communist parents. Davita's Harp by Chaim Potok is an eye-opener for me. I have nothing in common with this girl, yet, I see myself in her. The search that leads to God is universal. I am not yet done with the book.
Philip Yancey remains to be one of my favorite authors, but I have a very long list of favorites. It doesn't matter. My brain can sift through their themes. And my heart can extract their messages.
I am learning to trust in God and in myself more.