Friday, April 11, 2014

The Still, Small Voice

I have a confession.  I'm still afraid of God.  And it's not "holy fear." It's the plain, no-frills version of being scared.  I've had a growing awareness of this fear lurking in the shadows, and it has surprised me.  Surprised me because I remember places of fear and not trusting and I look back on those times - they are not part of who I am now, I believe.  But, still, there are little pin-pricks telling me that all is not as it could be.  

As I've listened to those pin-pricks - honed in and tried to REALLY listen - I've realized what I'm really afraid of.  I'm afraid of God's voice.  I'm afraid of what that voice might say to me.  What it might ask me to do or say or not do or not say.  I have told myself that listening to it might come at the expense of self - I might not be able to do what I want to do or be who I truly am.  And, perhaps because I'm afraid, it's easy to let other voices drown out the small, quiet voice of the Spirit of God.  Because there are lots of other voices and they clamor for my attention.  I want to listen to them because they are louder, familiar, comfortable, and deceive me into thinking they won't require anything of me.

But here's the thing.  I'm not new to the whole Christian experience.  I've got some powerful stories and experiences notched on my belt.  So the fact that I still want to listen to the crowd of other voices grieves me.  It means that I still don't hear the voice of God as the voice of love.  This despite years of knowing God's voice as exactly what scripture professes it to be:  patient, kind, never forcing its way upon me, always hoping, never ending.

As I pondered all of this today, a "what if" question started to take shape in my thoughts.  What if listening to the smallest, quietest voice meant not the death of self but rather the way to a life that was free and authentic and flourishing?  What if?

I need to sit with that question.  I've wondered sometimes what it would mean to take a couple weeks or months or even a year and go to a place where my main occupation is listening to the still, small voice of God. Listening for that voice is a discipline, I remind myself.  Like any discipline, it takes practice.  But maybe, with practice and care, it becomes more familiar.  Comfortable.  Home.

All fear is but the notion that God's love ends.  ~ Ann Voskamp

For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.   ~ Matthew 16:25

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