So I don't do well when I don't get responses from people when I'm talking to them or sharing something important with them. Uncomfortable pauses or silence makes my skin crawl really. I know I have been accused more of being the master interrupter, guilty as charged...sigh! And I know it's for two reasons. One, I don't like to forget a thought I'm having when I want to speak it. And in past experiences, if I try to wait for the opportunity to speak, many times, by the time I get the opportunity, the conversation has gone in such a different direction that what I wanted to say wouldn't make sense and therefore I don't usually get the chance to speak. And if I do it anyways, I get wierd stares, like "what does that have to do with our conversation"? It's all a matter of insecurity really. And not wanting to be overlooked. So I've coped with that by getting my 2 cents at the expense of others trying to speak and finish a sentence. I do it with God too.
Do you see where my brain goes too often? It's more about when I'm gonna get my little shining opportunity to be noticed and not about being a good listener at the expense of never getting a word in edge-wise...and being ok with not being able to speak. I really hate my brain sometimes....well more than sometimes. How selfish I can be if I let my mind take over where it doesn't need to go...without taking my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. And of course those around me suffer for it. Am I really ever gonna want listen to others as much as I want others to listen to me? I'm working on it, really I am.
So moving on, I've been reading through one of my favorite books again this week,"Walking with God" by John Eldredge. Eldredge is probably my favorite authors of all time. I totally get him, the things he wrestles with, His view of the reality of the spiritual realm, (his love for nature is one thing I haven't grasped to his extent, though I'm growing into a much bigger appreciation for that even) and I love the kinds of communication that He has with God. And "Walking with God" is all about our communication with God, and how little we let Him in on the details of our lives. But it gives a very practical and powerful approach to how we can let Him in on every detail and see the fruit of this life of simply walking with God constantly...and communicating with Him about everything...down to whether I should speak when I want to. Many times the answer is probably "No" but I fail to ask Him first.
This also deals simply about our imagination which is all about the mind. Eldredge talks about how we people don't realize how quick our imagination can take us into a place that is completely and utterly in the hands of the enemy. Imagination is a gift, but can also be a tool for the enemy to get a foothold in if we let him. I'd never put much thought to that til this week. And God has been revealing to me how much that has been something the enemy has been really dwelling in too much lately for me. I'v probably put my heart out on the line more in the last 5 months than I have in a long time in order to hopefully reach out others and also be real with them about where I'm at in my life, and ultimately I have not received the responses I've been hoping for. So when I pour my heart out to God or someone else, and don't get a response, or maybe not the response I wanted, my imagination goes wild...to my own detriment. Really, I'm just trying to fill in the empty spaces but somehow it always ends up being on a more negative bent.
For example, I start doubting the heart behind that response or lack thereof. Then the enemy goes to town on me really. Why don't these people trust my heart? What part of me makes what I have to give so hard for others to receive? And before I know it, I'm on a tailspin of feeling hurt, rejected, abondoned, overlooked, and ultimately just all around unimportant and unfruitful, and the worst is feeling the inability to hear from God correctly. Oh that I may know His voice with confidence! When I do something that I feel God has told me to do, or say something that's on my heart that God has poured on my heart to give out, and it goes all wrong, there comes the doubt that I can't even hear from the One who is my ultimate teacher and guide. Did God really tell me to do that? Did I misunderstand? Talk about a path that leads to destruction. If we can't trust that we can hear from the One who we depend on, then what?
So what about when God is completely silent. What do we as control freaks tend to do when we don't feel we are getting a clear answer? Either we worry and fret about it until we get an answer, or doubting Thomas come in and things God just doesn't care, or we start taking action in places we have no business taking action in before God has even given us an answer. But sometimes God will say, "Go for it!", and then we start doubting our ability to even do what He has given us the go ahead to do, and the very thing we asked Him to give us an answer in. Poor God! I'm so glad I'm not Him because He deals with a lot of crap from us, doesn't He?
Well, Eldredge says it well when says what we are to do with this wild imagination in trying to fill in the blanks that leave us unsettled and that is:
To bring it under the rule of God, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because if not, it will be unfettered, reckless, and therefore unsanctified.
"We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ". 2 Cor. 10:5
So to finish this off, here is an exerpt of a prayer that Eldredge has in this book that I am praying a lot these days and over time, I hope that this crazy imagination of mine will ultimately be used for His glory and not for my destruction:
"Lord Jesus, I come to you to be restored in you, to be renewed in you, to receive your love and life, to take refuge in you. I honor you as my Sovereign, and I surrender every aspect of my life totally and completely to you, (this is where I will list specific areas that need surrender as God reveals them, like my "imagination", "discouragement", "doubt", and anything else He reveals).
I give you my body, soul, and spirit; my heart, mind, and will. I cover myself with your blood, and I ask your Holy Spirit to restore my union with you..." By the authority and power of Jesus Name, Amen.
Let's begin together to tame the wild horse that is our imagination thru surrender...and experience the sanctification that God is wanting to accomplish in this area...and ultimately live out the mind of Christ!