God doesn’t speak to me like I thought He would.
There’s a children’s song I learned as a little girl in church that goes like this:
Heavenly Father, are you really there? And do you hear and answer every child’s prayer? Some say that heaven is far away…but I feel it close around me as I pray. Heavenly Father, I remember now, something that Jesus told disciples long ago – suffer the children to come to me, Father in prayer I’m coming now to Thee.
I can’t get this song out of my head lately. Here’s why. I always expect God to speak to me in the following scenario:
I am fumbling around in life, and I really need His guidance. I mean, I GOTTA have it right now. So I find a quiet spot, I kneel and I pray. I use all the right words and phrases, I thank Him for everything I have before I ask for help. I plead with Him to guide me in the direction I need to go. Then I close my prayer reverently, and I wait. I wait for a very long time, and eventually He’ll give me a warm feeling of confirmation and I’ll know which way to go.
Here’s the problem with that scenario. It never happens that way with me. Never. I can count on one hand the amount of experiences I have that played out like that. For a long time, I was frustrated with God and with church – about 10 years to be exact, and that was a HUGE reason why. In the past few months it began to occur to me that God might not speak to everyone the same way. We’re all SO different, why would He talk to us as if we are all the same? I’m so stubborn and thick headed, and I question everything. I need tangible things, questions answered, facts shown. A feeling of warm confirmation isn’t going to tell me squat…because directly after I’ll think…wait, did I imagine that? Did I get a hot flash? Was that really God speaking to me, or did I reeeeally just want His answer to be yes?
Over the past few days I’ve been learning about spiritual paths – with some help from someone well versed in this area. Turns out I wasn’t too off base with thinking that God might choose another way to speak to me – and that I experience God through things that don’t necessarily involve only hour long meditation sessions with Him. (Don’t get me wrong, I would love to get to that point eventually but sitting for an hour doesn’t exactly jive well with this ADD issue I’ve got going on…) So after some self examination, I believe that I experience God through relationships, and through activism. Which means I love to be around people – Christ Followers – soaking up their knowledge and learning from and through them. It also means I love to get involved, head up things that make a difference – give of myself and my time. And I can definitely say that I have experienced God in those ways. And THROUGH those avenues, God has answered many of my prayers. It’s hard for me to see it when it happens, but I can look into the rearview mirror of life and see God taking care of me.
About a year ago, in small group, my good friend Scott Spruill challenged me to journal, after I expressed my frustration with not feeling like God answers my prayers. He told me that if I journaled consistently for a year, I would look back and see how God has answered me. I’m not going to lie and say I did that. I definitely did not – the thought of journaling overwhelmed me and honestly, bored me a little bit. But I am ready for it now, because I want to learn how God talks to me. I believe He does, and I believe I’m not hearing it. And I’m the kind of person who is going to need to figure this whole process out so that I’m aware of it when it happens. I will probably journal online, in a format like this because it’s easier for me to do. Sitting down with a notebook and pen makes me want to cry (Ok, that’s dramatic. But I hate that idea)
You can come with me on this journey, or you can not. But I am hoping that I’ll start figuring out exactly where God is in my life and further my relationship with Him. For those of you not interested, just ignore those blogs…I’ll make it obvious it’s about to be a blog full of God stuff.
So…here we go 🙂