Thursday, September 3, 2009

Responding VS Initiating

I think one of the biggest changes I see in myself these days is the anticipation returning that God will do something in and around me. Let me explain though because it differs from what I was like before in my Charismatic life.

Three years ago we were always planning for God. We would plan worship services so He could be with us. We would plan for the non-Christians so that we would be ready for them. We would get prayed for so that we would be ready to hear the Holy Spirit. We would give so that we were ready to get what was coming to us. We were always trying to help God out or be in such a position that we would not miss Him when He showed up.

It fostered an atmosphere of expectancy - to be sure. But so very often that expectancy was dashed as again, God did nothing spectacular that day. This left me, at least, feeling like I was not doing enough, preparing enough or somehow was deficient in some way. It also left me constantly looking around and being judgmental. Who was not doing their part, who had sin in their life, what was the hold up - "is it something you are doing?"

After two years of just refusing to prepare for anything I find something very interesting happening.

1. I have an awareness of God's presence that is unlike anything I experienced in those meetings where He was touted to be there "IN POWER." I"m not afraid this presence will leave me. It is pervasive. It is just here. I can't explain it other than that. He is with me. It is not exciting as much as comforting. It is not powerful as much as it is kind. It is not life changing as much as it is life transforming.

2. I find myself responding to Him instead of preparing for Him. When He speaks to me, I am amazed and grateful but I don't expect the same thing to happen in the same way the very next day or week. I don't try to get Him to do it again. I love it but He is under no obligation to perform at my will.

3. When I recognize His hand or his voice in something I am delighted. I used to be so anxious and actually a bit ticked at Him all of the time. After all, I was working so very hard and he rarely gave me any indication that He was helping out. But now it is a calm delight that settles into my soul when I actively see Him speaking or doing.

4. I realize that I could not reproduce what he just did or said even if I tried very hard. Here's an instance of that. The other day I was mulling over Grace and how it has changed my life. Sometimes I find myself feeling like I'm on a slippery slope into oblivion with nothing to hang onto. (I'll explain this more in another post) But out of nowhere I realized that if I were truly slipping down this slope and in danger of losing anything I would have the handhold of His goodness to catch myself on. It then came to me that when Moses wanted to actually see God, God placed him in a cleft of a rock and caused his Goodness to pass before Moses. I was amazed that when God let someone see him, the part of his Glory that he chose to show was his Goodness.

It was like tumblers falling into place as the Father spoke to me of his Goodness that morning. I was suddenly surrounded by a tangible feeling of His Goodness. It took all the anxiety away from wondering if I was on a tangent. I realized that God, in his Goodness would rescue me and always provide a safe place to hang onto.

But here's my point. How in the world would I reproduce that kind of experience with God? How would I form a gathering where he could speak to everyone at the same time of this fact? How in the world would I get God to tell my kids the same thing as he told me?

Answer is (I think).....I can't. All I can do is respond. All I can do is be willing to let him speak or act. Maybe out of the overflow of my heart I could share this with my kids or a friend or two. Maybe they too will be blessed by what happened to me. But what I want for them is the same comfort to know that when the Father wants to speak to them - He will. Out of His Goodness not out of our preparing for Him.

And so I find myself this spot....simply responding to what He is doing. If He does nothing or says nothing I will wait. I truly hope this is OK. It goes against everything Church Lady believed.


SteveS said...

I’ve seen too much energy being spent by myself and others trying to get God to show up where we are, instead of focusing on moving ourselves to where He is and simply enjoying the times we manage to meet up.

Daveda said...

Oh yes, I can so relate to this post, and I love it. We spend more time, on forming programs then relationships. Including relationship with the Father. I too have been transformed by grace, I am still, and hope to always be. It really is very different then what I believed when I was actively "in Church." I think I know what you mean by slippery slope, at times I wonder about this myself, but then I realize how much peace and wholeness I feel in my life now. I remember that he who is in me is greater then he who is in the world. I remember that God is more than able to show me anything I need to see. It's so great to share thoughts with others who seem to be on a similar journey. Thanks for sharing :)

Rich said...


I love hearing the updates of His love affair with you, and how the world around you is seen in such a new and liberating light.

Man has perfected to the enth degree the "right" structures, but unfortunately it has left in the wake a host of siblings very stagnant and dissatisfied.

Without knowing-experiencing the reality of our union in Christ, is it any wonder we have to try and get God to "show up?"

We are drawn to "content" it is nothing less than our eyes being continually opened to the Glorious One in us as longer any need to beg Him to show up!

Ruth said...

I'm always so blessed when you articulate your journey Barb. I totally understand what you're talking about. It's such a restful place to be.

I once heard Billy Graham's daughter, Gigi Graham Tchividjian, speak about her book "A Quiet Knowing". It's kind of like what you are saying.

Barb said...

thanks guys for the encouragement. Ruth, I'll check out that book. I wish I had a Kindle to just download what I wanted to read that day ;)