confession: i am discontented with whispers, however divine

This evening I mired myself in a bit of an identity crisis, brought on by my current unmoored circumstances and, I think, the reading of too many blogs. When I am in a wistful or self-flagellating mood, other people’s blogs can spiral me into a frenzy of perfectionistic self-doubt – how will I ever be as funny as Jamie Wright, as gracious and elegant as Ann Voskamp, as penetrating and intelligent as Rachel Held Evans, and as eloquent as Preston? Well, the answer is, I won’t, that’s why there are all those other people. But when I was in kindergarten they told me I could do anything, and I have since become neurotically ambitious.

Said identity crisis soon became a generalized crisis crisis, and I found myself for the thousandth time sitting at my kitchen table and pleading with God to just say something.

This is usually the sore spot in our relationship – that God has never spoken to me out loud. Some of my friends may think that is a good sign, but when you spend four years at a Pentecostal school it is worrisome. I know people who have chats with Jesus every time they eat breakfast, they really do. I know many people who received very direct, unmistakable confirmation from God that they should marry the person they were dating. But me? I pray and pray about decisions, and then I always just do whatever makes the most sense, having received no hints to the contrary. I ask questions, look for signs, try to be silent, but there’s always my own little brain humming along because THE THING WON’T SHUT OFF and in any case, whatever the reason, I simply have never been a lightning rod for supernatural messages. 99% of the time, I am at peace with that fact and suspect that others are supposed to do pretty much all the really impressive hearing-directly-from-God stuff. Differing gifts and all that.

Anyway, the streak remains unbroken and I finally decided to make do with all those other words directly from God, and as I was reading my thoughts kept returning to the sermon I missed today at church.

Now, I firmly believe that the Spirit is usually whispering to all of us if we can stop talking over her, arguing with her, etc. She is that thought which didn’t really come from me, the voice of grace and peace when I am being hysterical or, sometimes, the slightly odd suggestion to do something that doesn’t necessarily follow. (The trouble chiefly being, I can easily manufacture such a voice when I can’t be bothered to wait as the Scriptures tell us so many hundreds of times to do.)

And so I finished my readings (very good ones), in case my mind was just restless, then – having nothing better to do – I grabbed today’s psalm to copy so my hands could stay busy and sat at the computer. But, of course the sermon wasn’t up yet, why should it be? But as long as I’m here… Why go through the archives at random when I could choose the sermon closest to my birthday? – Well, that’s a bit childish but sure. If it sounds boring I’ll just do someth-

September 18th: “Remember Who You Are”.

The question this all began with, and “remember”, scattered insistently through the psalm in my hand. A sermon on Ephesians 4, one of the passages on “differing gifts”. A reminder of more than one forgotten truth.

God spoke to me tonight, much much more than you would care to read about; and I share part of the story with you in hopes that we can permit one another to have, and to value, not-very-miraculous journeys with the Spirit who moves where she pleases. I am learning to trust that voice, but the testing of it (for me, anyway) takes time, a wisdom-gift, and a practiced (still practicing) ear to reach beyond emotion, desperation, pride, deep into truth that doesn’t assert itself with a flash-bang but is so very, really there. It is a beautiful grace, and rather like a tree – not so glamorous but whatever would one want with glamour when one has a tree?

—–

When was the last time God spoke to you? Do you agree that we can’t all have the really impressive gifts?

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4 Comments

  1. Janice Graves

     /  June 4, 2012

    My dear granddaughter, You are not alone thinking “Why doesn’t God speak to me aloud.” Even old Job. It would be helpful if you would read Job 14:14-16. and who can forget Isaiah 40:31. Waiting is not my strong suit either. Maybe the Lord is teaching you how to do it.

    Reply
  2. “I simply have never been a lightning rod for supernatural messages.”

    I haven’t either. Glimpses, a few moments here and there, but most of the time I’m right there with you with the pray, pray, pray and then hope for the best in the choice I end up making. That requires so much trust, so much ridiculous, haphazard grace. And honestly? I think that’s more miracle than the lightning rods. Maybe I’m biased, but it’s a special grace to follow into the fog, into the dark, into the place where we are not sure that He is, but that we know, in the core of our unsure selves, that He is.

    And thanks for lumping me in with such an incredible list of writers. I spend most days wondering if I’ll ever write like them myself.

    Reply
    • Thank you. It is hard to keep perspective on slow and unspectacular miracles.

      And you’re welcome. “Blogs I follow” is a short list but you are on it.

      Reply

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