This is big...and honestly I think when it comes to our relationship with Jesus this is...everything. When we need to make a decision, when we need wisdom, when we need confirmation we are relying on being able to hear His voice. What I have realized from my own personal experience and from talking with friends is most people don't know if they are hearing His voice or their own, and that most people don't know how to even hear Him. They sit quietly and wait but all they hear are crickets and a few minutes later, they are writing their "To-Do's" for the day or they are thinking about something that happened the day before. It is so difficult to hear Him. So I want to help! Now I am NO expert...this is just me sharing my personal journey and how I have learned to hear Him talk to me. I want to share five truths that I think if we can grasp these, you will begin to hear Him in an intimate and direct way in your life.
1. Know that He is Always Speaking
"My sheep hear My voice." John 10:27
I love this scripture, and to me this means He is ALWAYS talking, we just need to learn to be in tune with hearing Him. I remember often I would pray, "God just speak to me, just tell me what to do." But the truth was that He already was speaking to me. Sometimes I think we ask for things that we already have. We ask for the fruit of the Spirit when we already have them, we just need to claim them. And we ask God to speak to us, but He is. He has been speaking to you every day. It's time now to get your mind and heart wired to hear Him.
2. Understanding Yourself
If we are made in the image of God, then understanding who He made us to be will put us more into alignment with who He is in our lives. For example: I am a very sensitive person. All my life I feel like I have been led to believe that this is a negative thing, a nuisance. I was "too much" and an annoyance or inconvenience. But what I am realizing is that my sensitivities are actually my strength. I am "A Feeler" so I actually can "feel" the Spirit so to say. Being overwhelmed by compassion for someone, sensing that a store or a place I am in is not safe, that maybe I shouldn't watch this TV show, that I feel that I need to hug this person, or pray for someone, or do this or that. The more I am aware of those natural feelings, I am realizing that they are the Spirit directing me. Now if the emotion I am feeling is anger or frustration, clearly those are not of God so that's just my own ugly flesh, but what I am saying is that many times, those feelings are the Spirit speaking to you. Bring those under His authority and watch your relationship with Him blossom.
My husband? Yeah, not a feeler, he is a knower. He knows the Word. The way the Bible comes to life to him just blows me away. And this matches his personality because he loves strategy, puzzles, putting pieces together to make a bigger picture. God made him this way, so when he reads scripture, the Holy Spirit begins to speak to him, that this story in Genesis actually is a parallel to this story in the gospels, and this character is the same as this character and it goes on and on. How has God made you? Be aware of your personality, He is speaking to you in the way you naturally see and experience moments.
3. Find Your Space
We are all so different, and what is so amazing is that the Spirit knows that and He wants to connect with you right in that place. So the key is to find your space. Carve out time every day to connect with Him. It might be your ride to work in the morning. You turn off the music, silence your phone and you dedicate the next 20 minutes to listening and praying and communing with Him. For me, I get up at 6 every day, workout and then go on a prayer walk around my neighborhood. It's hit or miss if my neighbors think I am crazy for talking out loud, but the truth is, I feel Him every morning I do it. And the more it has become a habit, the more I crave it, and the more I expect for Him to meet me there. Find your space, whatever it looks like for you. A comfy chair with a cup of coffee, a walk on the causeway, your back porch, maybe it's your lunch break. Make it a habit, make it a priority. I promise He will meet you there. If He is invited, He will come. If He is given authority He will speak. Allow Him into your home, your car, your workout, your walk, your morning, afternoon and evening.
If He is invited, He will come. If He is given authority He will speak.
4. Determine Who is Speaking
We hear more than the Holy Spirit's voice. We also hear our own voice and the voice of the Enemy. It is vital to be able to determine who is speaking. Here are the ways you can differentiate:
5. He Speaks in a Whisper
When I am really trying to teach my children, yelling at them or screaming will never help them gain wisdom. I might "win" the moment but I have lost the opportunity to speak truth into their lives. The Spirit wants to teach us and guide us, but He won't yell. That is not a loving Father, that is not the heart of the Father or His character. It is always in a whisper, it is always in a calm, loving manner. He wants to teach, guide, direct, and lead, but we must quiet the noise of life, the noise in our minds and listen for the whisper.
It might come to you as you read the Bible, it might come to you in feeling, in a sunset, in a word from a friend, a smile from your husband, a laugh from your child, in a vision or dream, but it will always be in the quiet, it will always be in love, and it will always be in alignment with the Word of God.
Modesty. It needs to be talked about. In my mind it has become black and white but in our culture it is more of a gray color. And I know it's trendy, and I know it's hot outside, and I know it's more comfortable...trust me...I know. But I just think we need to chat. And before I begin, this is not a rant...I don't like those. This is just my heart, and yes it is my "thing that gets me fired up" but... I want to just talk. Because below the clothes, the lack of clothes, the finger tip length rules and the v-cut shirts, there is your heart and my heart, and there is a reason why. And I want to talk about that.
Modesty is one of those words that has left a bad taste in many people's mouths. Feeling like it is a bunch of strict rules you have to follow. That you have to wear turtle necks in the flippin summer (I hate them. Claustrophobic anyone?) And that it is all about helping men not stumble because we are apparently fully responsible, even though, c'mon...we sure do have a very big role. But I want to talk about the reason behind the choices, and the thought behind the decisions.
Because modesty comes from a heart of humility. And humility is not boasting about self, but boasting about God. Let's talk about God and the Bible for just a sec.
Modesty comes from the Greek Word, kosmios which means, orderly, respected, decent, virtuous. This word is used when talking about men and their behavior in leadership of the church and women in how they dress and carry themselves. So how men behave in a leadership position in representing Jesus is just as important as how women dress? It is the same word after all...
(And all of those words that describe modesty up there. I would love those behind my name when someone is describing me wouldn't you?)
But in this status driven culture, with too many profiles and feeds to try and keep up with, it is hard not to join the race of success, to crave the likes and want the followers. We want to put our best versions of ourselves on display, and I get it, those filters do a wonder on my very tired mama eyes.
But when it comes to modesty, how we dress, how we carry ourselves. What is the motive? What is the gain? And when it comes to each other as women....
It will either make someone jealous because they don't look like you.
It will make someone prideful because they think they look better than you.
Nothing. We gain nothing. And in that moment...the enemy gains it all.
This wasn't always black and white for me. But when Griffin and I got married seven years ago a shift started in me. That my body is his and that no one else needs to see it. You have heard the saying, "When you say 'Yes' to someone, you say 'No' to everyone else." Well that also counts with how we dress. How we dress needs to be addressed because what is going on on the inside will always be shown on the outside.
Are you angry on the inside? It will come out sooner or later.
Are you jealous or insecure? The words you speak will reveal the state of your heart.
Do you need someone to tell you that you are beautiful?
Do you need the looks of approval from men?
Do you need to flaunt your body because, hey you worked really hard to get it here and I am proud of it?
If you asked me those questions a few years ago I would have said, "Yes" to every single one. Every. Single. One.
An inside transformation reveals an outside representation. I found a complete and total confidence in who I am in Christ! A confidence that is so deep and real that I no longer needed others to tell me that I am beautiful, worthy, enough, fit, talented, or pretty. (Now I am a words of affirmation junkie so when someone is kind to me, I soak it in and appreciate it very much) But it doesn't sustain me. Only God can do that.
And when Griffin notices my outfit, my hair, my eyes...which he usually does on the days where I don't try it means so much to me and my heart flutters a bit. (Side note: Find yourself a man who loves you when you are bare skin, hair a mess, and workout clothes on.) Anyway...my heart flutters and it matters but it doesn't fill and shape who I am. Only the One who created me can tell me who I am. I began to cover myself because I wasn't look for another created being to fill me up. I am now already filled up by the One who created us all. The One we all should be looking to.
You cover yourself not because you think you are ugly, but because you know you are beautiful.
So what changed was a new way of thinking. It was a change on the inside that showed itself on the outside. And it has changed the way I dress, and it has dictated the way my daughter's dress. It has changed the way I want them to see themselves. It has changed the way I see me and it has changed the way I see you..
And oh friend to truly know your worth, to truly understand who you are...well..it changes everything.
My alarm went off at 6 am like it does every morning. I quickly hit snooze longing for just five more minutes. It was raining, one of those perfectly quiet cozy mornings. Then I heard the whisper of His voice say, "Get up. I want to go on a run with you."
I got dressed, splashed my face with water. I laced up my 5 year old nikes that are perfectly worn and broken in and I walked down the street and began to run. As the rain began to let up, I heard the birds all around me, singing, worshipping, doing what they were created to do, and I just waited. I waited to hear from Him.
I heard my breathing and my feet splashing in puddles with every step, and then He began to speak.
I am going to be very transparent here but before I do, I just want to ask you,
Do you feel unseen?
Do you feel hidden?
Do you feel lost in the place you are in, stagnant, not moving?
Are you trying to make certain talents or giftings in your life your calling when it was never meant to be?
Are you trying to imitate what you see on a screen as you scroll through the parade of photos of edited perfection?
Now that you have said yes...we can be in this together.
He said, "I want you to come into agreement with who I am inside of you. I didn't make you to be like her. I didn't design you to do these things that you think you should be known for. You are not to be known for anything other than to make ME known."
We have gifts and talents. We can be at a certain level in certain seasons of our lives, but that doesn't mean that those things are our purpose or our calling. Most of these moments in my life I see now as simply avenues to get me from here to there. To get me to a certain college, to get me to Griffin, to get me to learn how to lead, to teach me how to do this or how to do that... And now it's time to let them go. It's time to focus on the one thing.
There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:42
David was anointed to be king, yet he remained in the fields with the sheep, for years. His time had not yet come. You can be anointed but not yet announced (Grey) And so that in between time for him, the time of remaining hidden, doing the mundane, doing the same thing every day; tending to the sheep, was all in preparation. Do you feel like you have something big you want to do, but you are not moving? Are you wanting to get to the next season in your life and you don't understand why it hasn't happened yet? Why haven't you met the guy, had the baby, found the house? Why haven't you been able to break through with your job, your dreams, your mindset. You think, "When will I shake the old me, this wrong mentality, when will I stop struggling with the same things!"
I believe what we call ordinary, the Lord calls necessary. What we see as the mundane He sees as the making of you. To be made we have to be undone, because what we are standing on and have believed about who we are and who God is is shaky. A lot of times I believe we build our identity around what we can do, but it's really about building your identity around Who made you. It's the one thing...let go of the other things, and focus on the One thing.
We were still running and I began to speed up my stride and I heard the Spirit say, "Don't get ahead of me, and don't slow down." Every step matters, even the little ones. Every breath counts, even the hard ones. I have you right where I want you."
I don't know what you are chasing today, but I know Who is chasing you.
I don't know what your goal is in life, but I do know Who's got you.
Because it's not about performance, it's about the posture of your heart.
And it's not about power it's about your perspective.
Let's choose the One thing. Thank you for being transparent with me today.