Friday, September 19, 2008

Interrupting Quality Reception

he timing of Edie's Random Question of the Week is hardly random, in my opinion.

How do you recognize when God speaks to you?

I am dealing with God-speaking-to-me thoughts right now (see yesterday's post). Really, every day! But, some days, it's much more of a fine-tuning discernment issue than others. (BTW, Edie, our Bible study group had Priscilla Shirer's book in the running to do this fall. She was not the final selection this time. I think we'll keep it in mind, however, as we all need to better understand how we find discernment.)

I don't think God speaks to me in a consistent way. What? God, not consistent?! I mean, it's not always a lightning bolt. It's not always a whisper. It's not always in words on the page. It's not always in what somebody says. But, do I know He's speaking to me when He does??

Well, truthfully, no. But, let me quickly add that it's not God's fault (obviously).

Sometimes, absolutely, without a doubt--Who else's voice could that be?! And I can buzz about and confidently say that, yes, God gave me that idea. God answered that prayer that I had. Only God could have put all of that together, because I certainly couldn't have. God totally cleared up my understanding about that passage. It's as clear as a bell! (And since I've rung those for decades now, I know what that sounds like.)

But, back to complete disclosure here (and where I am as I write today)--sometimes, I don't fully hear Him. Or, maybe it's not that I don't hear, but I don't understand. I don't get this particular detail. I don't see how this piece is going to fit into the big picture puzzle. (Insert your metaphor for suddenly lacking discernment here: __________________.)

Are You speaking to me or am I hearing other voices in my head?

Sometimes when He speaks, I forget that it's not all going to be happy buzzy joy time. Sometimes when He speaks, it's about addressing other things going on in my life, words to say (or words I shouldn't have said), or about shaping my character, or reminding me that I really was created a little lower than the angels. The heart-check voice is different from the here's-that-great-idea-you-needed voice.

This past week, a friend sent me an E-mail that has been floating around for a while. It's the one about the woman who visits the blacksmith to learn about what 'refining silver' means. It's about the biblical idea of refinement--bringing us very close to the fire so that all impurities might be cleaned yet not so close that we are burned up in the process (nor left alone by our Blacksmith but skillfully watched over and cared for).

I glanced at it, smiled, and trashed it.

Then, I got the other E-mail that caused me to write a whole blog about my problem of...well, discernment. The one in which God is obviously speaking to me, just not as clearly as when He gave me the idea for the project that is now being....refined? Or is it God refining me through the project? Or, is the project not about me at all, even though I'm about it? And why do I think God isn't speaking clearly to me????

I can let a question like "How does God speak to me?" get me really wrapped up in trying to find an exact answer. Or, as I'm thinking now, God is speaking to me ALL THE TIME. How am I choosing to hear Him? Selectively or with my whole heart? With an eye on His word that I might be refined...perfected? Is it still all about Him when He speaks or is it suddenly all about me?

I'm not sure I've heard His complete response to me yet. And that's OK.

But, maybe I have heard Him completely. Or, perhaps, I fear, I have interrupted Him, yet again, with my side-tracking thoughts, discouragement and self-involvement in the wrong thing.

He really is patient, isn't He?

God, can you start from the beginning again? I promise I'll listen more carefully this time....


Edie said...

Hi Sue J - You so hit the nail on the head here. Those times when we are not quite sure if it is really Him or those "other" voices. It's maddening!. I think those are the times when He's growing our faith. We wrestle and wrestle with all the scenarios and then still have to take all the questions to Him.

"God, can you start from the beginning again? I promise I'll listen more carefully this time...." I can soooo relate!

Edie said...

btw - You forgot to Mr Linky so no one can come and read your beautiful and insightful thoughts. :)

Chatty Kelly said...

Your insights are always terrific.

And speaking of terrific, what a wonderful blog Mrs P did about you today. Really sweet. & True.


The Patterson 5 said...

Listening....such a challenge for me. I go on and on and on in my prayers missing out on the responses all the way b/c I didn't take a moment to be still and listen.

I agree with Edie and you on the God can you start from the beginning again? I am working on the listening.

kara said...

Ah, such a task. Be still and listen. Hmph. I am not so good at the listening part, either. Sometimes it's hard to be still, listen, and wait for the answer...especially if the answer we are given is not the one we expected or wanted! I often feel impatient because I want to know how things will work out...and sometimes I want to know now! But, I am slowly learning to relax...and still learning how to be quiet and wait for God's word. I'm just so glad He doesn't get tired of "calling me back!"