Something that has been ringing through my mind today is “live intentionally”. Is it Ann Voskamp that I heard that from?
One question that my hubby asked me before I left him, when he knew I was thinking about it, was “Kate, have you prayed about it?”. Yes, I’d prayed about it, I’d told God exactly what I was feeling and what I was about to do. But that’s not prayer. That’s talking at God, not talking with God. I didn’t know how else to deal with my complete feeling of loss, so I tried to order my God around and tell him how my life would go.
I didn’t live intentionally, I allowed life to determine my direction, I allowed my feelings to determine my next steps.
Everyone tells you to listen to God’s instructions, but I think the right wording should be “Wait for God’s instruction”. No matter how long it takes, wait until he speaks to you before you take action. To just listen for it makes it seem as though he will speak to you immediately. Waiting for his voice doesn’t have an expectation of time attached to it like listening does.
Every action I took, before my Damascus Road Experience, was because….because. It wasn’t because I felt God leading me or speaking to me, it was only because that’s where the flow of life seemed to be taking me. The current I had jumped into directed my path and I didn’t know enough to jump out and wait on the banks for God’s instruction for my next steps. Maybe I did know to do this, but I thought it would be weird or limiting, so I chose not to. Everyone else seemed to be going with the flow, calling their own shots and enjoying life, I assumed this is just how you did it and what would lead to your success and happiness in life.
Isn’t it interesting that God has to bring you to a place of complete dependence on him to show you that you aren’t whole without him? Christine Cain has said that we, like the loaves and fish, need to be broken before we see the miracle. It just wouldn’t be the same to only tell us that we need him, he needs to allow us to be broken. It wouldn’t stick otherwise.
Even though what I’ve been through was hard and continues to be hard, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned because I know that they have brought me to this amazing place in my relationship with God and I’m not sure how else I would have brought this close to him. Now I know to live intentionally, to stop and wait for his voice. I know that when I pray I need to be still and pray that he speaks to me. I know what it’s like to hear his voice, I know what it means to have him tell me where to live and where to work and how to live. He IS capable of these things! If we really believe the God that we are following, the bible that we are reading, we need to act on the belief that he is capable of speaking to us in any way, shape and form. We need to also believe and act on the belief that we were created to live for his glory. We were created for relationship with him. So let’s live that way!
Just over a month after I returned to God, I left for a trip to Peru. I was with tour that was accomplishing one of my lifelong dreams of climbing to Machu Picchu. I knew this was going to be a special trip, not only was I accomplishing a dream, but I really sensed that God was going to show me something special on this trip. I didn’t have an idea what this “special thing” would be, but I knew something would happen. For all I knew, I would be kidnapped and my husband would come rescue me…apparently the romantic in me was coming out…
I set out on the trip with my expectations turning into slight panic when I didn’t hear Gods voice immediately. But then I calmed and let him speak to me in his timing. In the meantime I took a deep breath and enjoyed the culture around me.
One night, laying in my tent after a long day of hiking through the amazing mountain range, I was writing in my journal. I had been thinking for a while that moving back to my hometown, a small city I had been glad to escape from, might be in God’s plan for me. The thought kept persisting and I kept assessing the option, but not liking it. Ever since the thought came into my head that this may be God’s will for me, the thought that I was being like Jonah and running from his instruction, was continually rolling through my head. That night, I finally journaled about it. “God,” I wrote “I feel like I am being like Jonah, running away from your instruction for me to move back home. I need to be clear this is your will. Show me that this is your will and not my attempt to be in control and be closer to my husband.”
Two days later our tour was on a bus ride and I was listening to music when I checked my emails. One email’s title was “God said Go and Jonah said No”. It couldn’t get much clearer than that!
God is capable of speaking to you. We have to remember that his timing is perfect and it’s his timing, not ours. Sometimes it won’t make sense. But we still need to wait for it.
Be still and know that he is God. (Psalm 46:10)
Don’t rush into anything. Don’t shout out orders. Just relax in him, rest your soul in the knowledge that he knows what is best and continue to live until you hear his voice and his instructions. They will come. When you are confused about where he is or why he isn’t speaking loudly to you, chase after your relationship with him. Rejoice, pray, give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:15-19) and repeat.
He will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)