I feel like I haven’t written much in a while and if I’m honest, I haven’t really been ‘in the mood’ to do so either. However, here I am this winter’s morning, sitting down to a cup of coffee and writing down some thoughts. It is now that I stop and begin to realise how thankful I am; that I know I can rely on a God who doesn’t choose to communicate with us based on His mood. He is always open for communion with His Children. I’ve thought a lot lately about God hearing our prayers as I’ve poured into the story of Hannah laying her request before the Lord. I look up and I mull over the verses that tell me more about God and His ear to us. What I don’t understand is why I get so surprised when I encounter those moments that I know I’m hearing from Him. Doesn’t relationship and communication work both ways? You mean I don’t just get to rattle off my thoughts and requests to God, but that He can communicate His thoughts to me as well? I’m convicted in my prayer life to remember to listen, as I pour into His words and as I lay, not only my thoughts and request at His feet, but also myself. If God speaks to us, then I guess I need to start being aware of listening to Him and recognising His voice too. I’d like to share one example of how it clicked with me, that perhaps God was trying to say something to me.
A few weeks ago, I was going about my morning as usual and ready to read through whatever was coming up in the next chapter of my quiet time. Did I take the time before to ask God for open ears, eyes and heart for what He may be wanting me to hear? In all honesty, probably not. In the Bible Study I was going through, I came across a sentence that struck me. I thought it was interesting and even wrote it down. It said:
Walking in the truth doesn’t mean a life of perfection but it does mean you are pointed in the direction of Christ. -Kelly Minter.
The word perfection stood out to me and it kind of got under my skin a bit. However, I went about my day and didn’t really give much thought to it or even pray about it. Then that very night, I was reading another book, on another subject and again, this word perfection hits me right between the eyes. Here Lysa Terkeurst said:
Saying yes to God isn’t about perfect performance, but rather perfect surrender to the Lord day by day.
Ok God, I get it, you obviously want me to have a little think about that word and it’s place in my life! I wrote down that line too and then I proceeded to acknowledge the presence of perfection that I might be living by. Perhaps God wanted to open my eyes to it because in my mind, I obviously didn’t think it was really a problem. You see, I’ve been through some tumbles and disobedient times throughout the years. I know people have seen my imperfections and I have seen how imperfections can point us to look at a perfect God, and not each other. One of the things, I feel so passionate about is being transparent and I can be quick to blurt out what I’m thinking that isn’t so wonderfully packaged and is rough around the edges. All in order to show that I’m not perfect, but I know who is. So why was that word bothering me so much? Why was God speaking to me about it? Have I just not got it? Well actually, no.
The day before something came up that seems like an endless cycle that I’ll never get out of. That feeling of failure had hung over my head and perhaps I had brought it around with me, as I engaged with others and in activities. Without realising it, I was starting to live by a perfection that I can’t contain or maintain. The burden that was lifted off my shoulders when I began to read more about what walking in the truth meant and that my direction being pointed towards that of Christ! He lived that perfect life so that I can aim to perfectly surrender my life to Him everyday! Even in my imperfections.
As if I didn’t need another reminder. Two days later, I kid you not, this very subject matter was brought up by someone in our conversation. They said it outright what I had been thinking about the past few days. That I expect perfection from myself. Ok God, I really get it now and so do others! And my whole point of mentioning this , is not to dive too much into the subject of perfection, but to be reminded that God does communicate with His children. I was going about my day and not really realising any of this. It took not one but two instances in my reading. It also took someone else to finish it off with an exclaimation mark.
We can read lots of examples throughout scripture of how God spoke to people. I don’t think that He uses a cookie cutter for every circumstance and situation. However, I believe He uses that time in His word and with Him to communicate most of all. Are we listening? Have you ever approached reading the Bible, just to attain information about God but not to get to know Him personally or expecting for Him to speak to you through it? I can forget about that! I’m so, so thankful that we serve a relational God and I am reminded to stop and be ready to listen. I can approach reading my Bible with the expectation that its words can take life and fill me with its truths. That God can reveal, direct and speak through them. I hope this encourages you somehow today, to take a few moments before you open the Bible and spend time with God, that He not only hears your prayers but that you can hear from Him too. Yes, sometimes we feel He is silent and that is another post for another day. Till then, however, I’d like to leave you with some filters that I read about in Lysa’s book, When women say yes to God.
1. Does what I’m hearing line up with Scripture?
2. Is it consistent with God’s character?
3. Is it being confirmed through messages I’m hearing at church or studying in my quiet times?
4. Is it beyond me?
5. Would it please God?