I’m searching for God, but He seems to be hiding …
I don't think many people have a “bright light” experience with God that knocks them off their horse. I think the process for most of us is similar to yours--an ever-growing restlessness that eventually takes you to a decision. At some point you realize that you must either say yes or no to Jesus; he will not let you off the hook without giving him an answer. And soon after that you realize that saying “no” to God is not a realistic option. You've gone too far to do that, having moved closer to the yes and farther away from the no. Then you have to say to Jesus with the man who's child was attacked by demons: “I believe. Help my unbelief.” (see Mark 9:24 and its context). We do not move from “unbelief” to “belief” in one breath, or even in a lifetime. It is a lifelong transition that begins with a kernel of faith. It sounds like you have that faith.
Why are you searching for God? Because God is drawing you to Himself. It's not because we are smarter or better or more worthy than the next guy. It's God's pleasure to woo some of us into a relationship with Him. That's why I said that it sounds like God is pursuing you as much as you think you might be pursuing Him (although with his track record, He's not losing as much sleep as you are).
You're concerned about your behavior, or “outer changes” as you call them. That's fair. It's somewhat counter-intuitive how this works. When we become God's children, our behavior does change, but that doesn't mean that we have to change before becoming His child. And I don't think that our behavior changes against our wishes. Rather, God changes our wants so that we want our “outer life” to please Him. In other words, are you okay if God changes your “wants” (and then, subsequently, your behavior)?
So why not do it officially, as I've coached hundreds of people like you to do: Get on your knees and say something like, “God, I think I believe in you. Help my unbelief. I am a sinner in need of your grace. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior because of His work on the Cross for me. By receiving Christ, I'm now and forevermore your child and you are now and forevermore my Heavenly Father. Thanks for forgiving my many sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be, and make me want to be that kind of person. Amen.”
Then, open your Bible and begin a lifelong, satisfying study of God's Word. He did not leave you to figure it out all alone. He has given you a “lamp unto your feet” in the Bible. The Bible itself claims that you will grow in faith the more you read and meditate upon the Bible. Begin with the Gospel of John, if you like. And maybe check out some more free resources on http://www.bible.org/, begin with the ABCs of Christian Growth.