Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hearing the voice of God

There are a few areas in my life that I need to totally change, like NOW. All of these areas are definitely within "my" control.

I mean, no one dictates what I eat or drink, but me. So my weight issues are totally within "my" control.

No one really dictates how I spend my time, but me. So my lack of time (read motivation) to complete certain tasks is definitely within "my" control.

And don't even get me started on my lack of patience these days. That's definitely within "my" control. Right?

Well, that's what I've been thinking for the last few years. But then it suddenly hit me,... if all of these issues are totally within "my" control, then why have they been, and continue to be, issues that haunt me on a daily basis? Obviously, I'm doing a terrible job! So by the way and just for good measure, let's now add GUILT to the list of issues I have that are within "my" control.

So, I decided one of the things I need to change immediately was the time I was spending with God every day. I'm ashamed to admit that whatever time God did get from me was usually at the end of the day, when I was physically exhausted and emotionally and spiritually unavailable. And seriously, doesn't that just sound like pure joy? Anyway, since that was obviously NOT working, I wondered what would happen if I met Him first thing in the morning instead, as soon as I woke up, with an open heart and mind.

Well, yesterday morning I finally opened the devotional I purchased well over a year ago, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. (Rachel ~ your copy is on its way!) And this, my friends, is what I'm struck with first thing on Monday morning: "Trust Me by relinquishing control into My hands. Let go, and recognize that I am God." Hmm,... OK? So maybe I'm not really as in control as I like to think.

And that was immediately followed by this: "When you bring Me prayer requests, lay out your concerns before Me. Speak to Me candidly; pour out your heart. Then thank Me for the answers I have set into motion long before you can discern results... If you keep on stating your concerns to Me, you will live in a state of tension. When you thank Me for how I am answering your prayers, your mind set becomes much more positive." And honestly, who doesn't want to be more positive? So I proceed to tell God about a few things that I'm currently struggling with and would really appreciate His help with, since I'm doing such a bang up job handling them myself and all.

Like for example, the fact that some big, overly dramatic and cranky boy apparently ate my sweet, happy, little baby boy, since he's been MIA for the last few weeks. (Hello, Terrible Twos!! We meet again!) And I really need His help since I have absolutely NO patience with Sam lately, but I don't want to be remembered as the mom who yelled all the time. Because I honestly feel like I have been yelling at that boy ALL.THE.TIME for the last few weeks.

Can I just say that Sam and I had a wonderful day yesterday and are on route for another wonderful day today. Not because my sweet, happy, little baby boy is back. Oh, no! I shudder at the thought of what comes after the terrible twos,... it's the atrocious threes. It's all because I am now getting some much needed divine assistance! It's SO crystal clear to me.

Last night my wonderful church was hosting Lysa TerKeurst and the introduction of her new Bible Study. This is the second time I have the privilege of hearing her speak. She is funny and amazing and inspiring in oh so many ways. She has been featured on Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, Good Morning America, Woman's Day Magazine, “O” Magazine and on the Oprah Show, twice. If you have not seen or heard her story, I totally encourage you to check out her speaking schedule to see if she's visiting a town near you. You will not be sorry!

One of the first things she said that definitely got my attention was: "Would you like to know what God's will is for you? Because if you do, I'll tell you." Yes! Tell me!! Tell me NOW! And she did. She said God's will for all of us is written in His book for all of us to see, read and apply. You can find it in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

She was quick to explain that it's not easy to be joyful always. Life is definitely not always a joyful ride, and don't we all know it! And also, that it's no coincidence that the Word says give thanks IN all circumstances and not FOR all circumstances. There are definitely circumstances in life for which no one is thankful. But God wants us to change our perspectives. To re-write the scripts in our minds. He's not interested in what He wants us to do. He's interested in who He wants us to be; in our characters. Especially when life happens. Because when we give thanks to God, it absolutely moves His heart! And you see, my personality type is that of a feeler and a pleaser (is that even a word?), so the thought of me doing something so little that actually moves God's heart, well... that's just mind-blowing.

But I'll be the first to say that as I was sitting there I was thinking "Yep, that sounds wonderful. It really does. But how exactly does one get there?" And just as if she heard my question, she answered it with: "You need to learn how to rely on God on a daily basis. You need to learn how to become dependent on God every single day. You need to learn how to pray continually and ask God for your daily portion of __________(fill in the blank ~ patience, will-power, faith, hope, strength, optimism, courage, humility,...). Because when we ask God, His strength is always a perfect match to our weakness". WOW!

Can I just tell you that I have never in my entire life heard God speaking to me more clearly and more loudly than I did all day yesterday. I know many people who often hear God speaking clearly and directly at them. Yesterday, I was one of them. And it was AMAZING!

To open my heart, my mind and my ears and go to God first thing in the morning with my minuscule problems (in the grand scheme of things) and actually have Him respond the way He did, is one of the best experiences I have ever had.


Quilly Nilly said...

wow, that was nice to read. I understand about not wanting to be the mom who yells; I'm there - think I'm going to read this again and reflect.

Liz Butler said...

Thanks, Tracey! It was kind of a hard post to write, but also one I was thrilled about. I realized some truths that would definitely make me a better person, while making my life "easier" in the process.

Rachel said...

This is so where I am at too Liz. Thanks for the thoughts and inspiration!

valerie joy said...

Thanks for posting that wonderful story. I am learning from it!

And by the way, your posts just make me laugh, cause I can imagine your voice as I read your blog-and it puts a smile on my face! I think you are a wonderful story teller.

Liz Butler said...

Aww, thanks Valerie. I have lots of fun doing it. It's really more like a release on some days.

Rach, I can't wait until you get the devotional. I think you're going to LOVE it! Love ya lots!