Tagged: Psalms

I Hear God

God speaks to me.

I get really nervous when I claim that around people, particularly those who are not as… umm… pentecostal?… but He does. Through the Holy Spirit, He communicates to me. And no, it’s not an audible voice. It’s just a voice that I know and recognize in my head.

And it sounds a lot like myself. Which also makes me nervous. Why would I think a voice in my head that sounds like MY voice could possibly be God speaking to me?

That’s where faith comes in, I suppose.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’ve had times where I thought I was hearing from Him and I clearly wasn’t. I was trying to predict things and declare things in my life that I had no business predicting. Lo and behold, those things didn’t come to pass. I sometimes accused Him during those times, as if He led me astray. But then I realized it was just me mishearing, me wanting answers so badly that I tried to answer them myself. And that was even more discouraging. If I can confuse my voice for His voice at times, then could it be that I’m confusing my voice for His voice ALL the time?

But I know I’m not. There have been times when He’s spoken so clearly to my heart. That voice in my head guides me into His love. Sometimes it guides me to love others and speak into people’s lives on things I would never think to speak of out of my own power and knowledge. I am given insight, prophetic words if you will.

I know not everyone believes in this kind of stuff, but it’s all real to me.

Let me tell you something, though. About a year after I began actively hearing God, I stopped listening. Something happened where I just didn’t know if I could trust that voice anymore. I was “hearing” things about my future and my family that ended up not being right, and that just threw me for a loop. Things had never been so wrong. I had never felt so wrong. Guess this was all just a lie, I told myself. And that time of freeing, reciprocated communication came to an end.

But a couple months ago, I began listening again. I stopped trying to put Him on mute. What a beautiful time of whispers and assurances and loving guidance this has been.

But the thoughts still linger: What if it’s not real? What if this is just me? What if I’m just really good at talking to myself?

I’m afraid of both losing my faith and finding my faith. I don’t want to put up a wall between God and I, but I also don’t want to be naive.

I’m at the point now where I’ve decided that whether I’m right or wrong or a little in-between, I like this relationship thing I have going on with Him. It’s a give-and-receive, hear-and-listen kind of relationship that’s changed my view of God and myself.

The doubt remains, but right now I’m taking baby steps, sitting before God in the mornings and letting Him speak words to me while I’m trying my hardest to soak them in.

I think He understands how hard this is. Surely He’s not blind to the obvious— He’s up there and we’re down here, and there’s A LOT of room for misinterpretation and questioning.

When I was praying about these doubts of mine a couple days ago, I was led to these verses in Psalm 139:

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand– when I awake, I am still with you (v. 17-18). 

If King David was given a glimpse into the thoughts of God, then perhaps God really is revealing some of His thoughts to me, too. After all, I have the Holy Spirit. And I don’t think God has changed His mind on wanting to communicate with His children.

And you want to know what I think? David probably wrestled with some of the same things. I mean, the guy was a king and then he committed this sin and ended up being hated and then was chased out of his kingdom. There’s no way he was just a happy-go-lucky camper who believed a hundred percent of the time that God was always there and speaking to him. And I know this because all throughout his Psalms, we see things like:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I find no rest (Psalm 22:1-2).

He asks the same questions a lot of us do. He dealt with doubt just as we do. And I believe that asking those questions and dealing with doubt is okay.

If God is trying to communicate with me and I’m slow to listen or believe, I don’t think He’s going to sit up there in heaven, shaking his head in frustration.

No, I believe He would pursue further. As Jesus took Thomas’ hand and showed him his wounds, I believe He’ll show me what I need to see, as well. He doesn’t want to leave us in our small-mindedness or doubt.

Look, Jessie. I know you don’t want to believe these words. I know you don’t think it could be true that I would want to speak to you and spend time with you just as eagerly as you do with me. But I do. Look at these wounds in my side. Look at my scarred hand. Look what I did so we wouldn’t have to be apart! And this Holy Spirit that’s inside of you now isn’t some fictional mass in your body. It’s me. I want to be your friend, your counselor, your guide. You don’t have to find your way in the dark by yourself. You don’t have to silence the enemy’s lies on your own. I’m here. Look at me. Hear me calling you now.

I’m being careful, only allowing myself to believe so much and take in what I know to be absolutely true. My faith is growing again, though. And I’m again finding some of the joy and peace that I felt like I was missing during that year of silence.

God doesn’t deserve to be muted. Even my own voice doesn’t deserve to be muted. I was given this voice from the Creator, was I not? I need to listen to both, discerning what is true and good and holy.

And I definitely need to kick that stupid satan’s voice out, too. Which is a work in progress.

I’m forever going to hear voices in my head and I want to pursue the truth that those voices are communicating to me while dismantling the lies that try to come between God and I.

I’m still scared of being wrong, but if I’m right— well, what a beautiful thing.

Image by astrid westvang on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/astrid/11200954926)

Image by astrid westvang on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/astrid/11200954926)

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God Is Not Enough For Me

God is not enough for me. 

He IS, but by the looks of my life and a true assessment of my heart, I live as though He’s not.

And It pains me to write that because I so badly want Him to be.

I know that the life I’m living and the life I’m seeking often demonstrates a hidden, subtle insecurity stemmed in the belief that God cannot fill me. He cannot provide me with my needs. He cannot and perhaps WILL not give me the life I desire when I desire it.

And that is a difficult place to be in because I know that’s not how things should be.

I’m a Christian. I’m supposed to love God more than anything (with all my heart, soul, and mind, to be exact). I’m supposed to desire His will above my own. I’m supposed to find fullness and joy in Him, not look to other things or people in this life to satisfy me.

But I’d be lying if I said I am doing any of those things.

There are times when I do love God more. But when I step off of that altar of surrender and worship, life goes on and I find myself whisked away again by love for myself. You wouldn’t know by looking at me, but I know my own heart. And I know that a lot of what I do is to fulfill MY wants and needs prior to God’s or anyone else’s.

There are times when I do desire His will first and foremost. I say it in my prayers, most definitely. But if I really did always desire His will first, then I’d stop trying to control my life. I’d stop resisting the work He’s doing in me, the little acts of obedience He has called me to do.

There are times when I am filled with the absolute joy of Christ. It’s like time stops and I’m just caught up in His love and wonderful embrace. But it never lasts. The song ends, the dance comes to a halt, and I’m left waiting for the next punch in the stomach. Or even worse: indifference washes over me.

Sometimes the hardest thing about being a Christ-follower is accepting that some things don’t last. Distractions, sorrow, and frustrations are always lurking around the corner, waiting for me to take my eyes off of Jesus. I feel like I just have to constantly look up at the sky and beg for more: more patience, more focus, more joy, more peace, more EVERYTHING.

What do I do, friends? How do I escape this life of constant longing?

I have no answers. I have a few theories, but I’m starting to think this is how life is. It’s hard, it’s slow. It cycles through various seasons, as do our emotions and relationship with God.

I can beg God to take my desires away, to strip me of all feeling and all longing for the future or for anything besides Him. I can ask Him to direct my eyes to be on Him and Him alone for the rest of my life.

But I don’t think He will.

Part of the reason we are given this life is to BE ALIVE. And being alive involves feeling, wanting, needing (and yes, hurting). The same goes for being alive in Him. These things don’t go away. I actually think they’re amplified. But it’s a good kind of amplification, the kind of volume that you know you want to live your life at forever. You don’t want to quiet the love you feel, the longing for Jesus that is suddenly stronger than anything you’d ever known.

I find comfort in the knowledge that Jesus was (and still is) alive. He walked this earth. He knew no sin, yet he knew pain. If he could walk this earth now, I’d like to think that he might find me and hug me. He’d hold me close, whisper into my ear and heart, “It’s okay. I know.” I’d stain his robe with my tears, all the tears of longing and wondering and confusion. And I think He’d cherish each of those tears that fell from my eye because He knows they come from a place of desire for HIM.

You see, I am pained by my lack of absolute dedication, focus, and love for God, but that in itself tells me I’m doing something right.

I WANT to want Him. 

And sometimes I get that want. Not always. Not completely.

But when I behold His glory and His worthiness… boy, how I want to be with Him and follow Him more than anything else! The thought crosses my mind: He IS enough.

The thought leaves, but it was there. And I will find it again. And again.

That’s all I have to hold on to.

I can’t always fathom how God can be enough for me, but maybe for now that is enough for Him.

He wants me anyway. He beckons me anyway.

And if Jesus were physically here, I think he’d hold me anyway, too.

I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’ … my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Psalm 16: 2,9-11)

From Darkness to Light

Image by Noelle Buske on Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/d1i8Mj)

Image by Noelle Buske on Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/d1i8Mj)

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you– Psalm 139:7-12

Sometimes I feel like King David hiding in a cave.

Venturing out is just too dangerous. Everywhere he turns, he encounters enemy after enemy. They are looking to kill him.

He fears for his life. All he can do is wait in the dark and beg the Lord to avenge him, to give him back even just a small portion of what he once had.

And all the while, David’s eyes are becoming accustomed to the dark. He’s becoming accustomed to hiding and running.

The question that remains is, can he outrun God? Will he reach a point of no return as he dives deeper into this dark, empty cave?

No.

No darkness is too dark or impenetrable for the light of God’s presence.

I, like King David, have found myself again and again in an all-too-familiar cave. Enemies all around. Blocked entrance. No room to breathe.

Darkness upon darkness upon darkness.

And yet I can testify that the Lord has never left me. It doesn’t matter how alone I feel. The reality is He’s been there all along. He’s been fighting my enemies. He’s been paving a way out for me. He’s been breathing air into my lungs.

There is no such thing as too much dark or too much sadness or too much sin or too much pain. At least, those things aren’t too much for the healing touch of God.

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Sometimes you will feel like the gap between where you are and where you long to be is just too wide.

But His love is wider still.

Sometimes you will feel like time is going by too slowly and it’s been far too long. You’re too far gone.

But His love is longer still.

Sometimes you will feel like the wall you built to block out the world is too high to ever climb over, too strong to ever break down.

But His love is higher still.

Sometimes you will feel like you’re in over your head and the hole you’ve found yourself in is just too deep.

But His love is deeper still.

There is no place we can run that God can’t follow. And while that might not sound reassuring to some, it is the greatest of blessings. There will come a time when you’re tired of the darkness (I know I sure am), and that will be the opportunity for the greatest story of redemption ever told to unfold.

Let His light pierce the darkness. Let’s get out of these caves.