Noise surrounds us wherever we go. Unless we purposefully take a step away and go into a quiet place, we can’t escape it. Even as I’m writing these words, I have music playing through my headphones. However, what happens when we become too dependent on the noise to keep us occupied?
Two weeks ago, I reached my limit and crashed in exhaustion following the events of that week. There had been so many things going on that my system shut down, refusing to turn back on until I’d gotten some rest. As I lay in bed, silence surrounded me and I felt the Lord tell me that I wasn’t spending enough time in His presence, listening or talking to Him; instead, I had been trying to figure out all the decisions for myself!
Exhaustion comes in three parts; physical, emotional and spiritual. We all have our limits and need to learn when we’re reaching that mark, but did you know that all three parts of exhaustion are interconnected? When we are physically exhausted, our emotions are in full swing, and we have a hard time taming them; when we’re emotionally exhausted, our spiritual walls come crashing down, giving the devil an open door; and, spiritual exhaustion drains our bodies to the point where we can’t get up anymore. All of these steps combined lead to a complete shutdown.
Some might say that reaching this point is a sign of weakness or an excuse to be lazy; however, I believe God uses exhaustion to get our attention to say, “Hey, I’m over here and have things I’d like to tell you! Be quiet for a minute and listen to what I have to say!”
We can get so wrapped up in our lives and routines that we forget that God’s timing is not like our own. He doesn’t always wait for us to be alone or in the right frame of mind to tell us something. If He has things He wants to say to us, we better be ready to hear them, or we’re going to miss it!
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been feeling like God has been telling me that I need to lean on Him more and mute the outside noise. It can be so easy to get swept away with what’s happening on social media or at a job, that by the time you have a moment of peace, you’re too tired to pray or listen.
No matter how busy our lives get, we have a choice of what takes priority. As God has been showing me these things, I’ve realized that I am spending way too much time on social media, Netflix, and silly computer games. Along with cutting down my time on such things, I’ve also decided that instead of looking at my phone as soon as I wake up, I’m going to take fifteen or more minutes to spend time with God and write a prayer journal.
Participating in Cole and Savannah Lanbrant’s 14-day devotional, (found at the end of their book, Cole & Sav) inspired me to start my days differently and spend more time reflecting on what God is doing in my life. However, since completing the devotional, I have yet to find another like it. As I was praying about finding the right one, I felt God give me the idea of having a prayer journal.
I only began on Monday, yet this journal has proven to be more challenging than any devotional! God is working hard to get me focused and show me the things I need to work on. The first day of writing in my new journal, I asked Him to help me live out the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)… Let’s just say; the day didn’t go as planned.
If you ask God for something, BEWARE! Because, He is listening and will, in fact, help you! The trouble is, He will take what you’ve asked and assist you in ways you weren’t expecting…
After writing my first morning prayer entry, the entire day was full of events that tested each Fruit of the Spirit. It was as if I’d written the words in a magical book and they had come alive. No matter what I was doing, a specific ‘fruit’ was needed to accomplish my task. In the end, I failed the test God had given me. My flesh had gotten the better of me, and my actions were anything but of the Spirit.
By that evening, I was ready for the day to be over, but God wasn’t finished with me yet. On top of showing me which fruits of the Spirit I needed to work on (which is most of them), He used a friend’s question to open my eyes to how I’d been acting. The question was simply, “What’s your favorite Bible verse?” Easy, right? WRONG!
My favorite verse is 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
Out of the thousands of verses in the Bible, this one always shows up during tough times in my life. My mom spoke it over me at my first baptism (I’ve had two), and God placed it on my heart when I was eighteen years old after I restored our relationship (days before my second baptism).
Anyway, as I answered my friend’s question, I felt God convict me by asking, “Are you being a positive example to others and doing the things this Scripture says?”
After hearing God’s question, I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. How many times have I read and quoted this verse, yet was I really living by it? I used to think I was, but over the last couple of weeks, I’ve realized that I’ve been slipping.
I am a firm believer in living what you preach, and as someone who is writing this blog for however many people reading this, I never want to be the kind of person who writes one thing and lives the complete opposite.
Reaching the point of exhaustion, hearing God tell me that He wants me to spend more time listening to Him, and realizing that my attitude is not living up to my favorite Bible verse, all taught me that I have a lot of work to do! As a stubborn perfectionist, this is not going to be an easy task, almost like teaching an old dog new tricks, but I’m up for the challenge. I love looking back and seeing how God is molding me (I’m in the Hands of the Potter – great song!), it’s encouraging to know that He hasn’t given up on me.
So, what is God trying to say to you, today? Are you also guilty of filling the silence with worldly noise? Maybe it’s time we all started to spend more time praying, reading the Word, and listening to God’s voice!
Every morning and evening I am writing a page in my prayer journal, ending with a Scripture that connects with what I’ve written. It’s only day five, yet the outcome has been incredible! I’m enjoying reading the difference between my morning and evening prayers and seeing all the lessons I’m learning, with each passing day!
The Fruits of the Spirit will always be testing us; I don’t think we will ever perfect them, we’re human after all. Nevertheless, they are great tools to learn, and if we continually put them into practice, we can become a force to be reckoned with.
So, my encouragement for this week is that you make more time to hear what God has to say you! Allow Him to speak to you and also let Him listen to what’s on your heart; He’s a great listener. We all have days where we fail, but picking ourselves up and learning from those mistakes only makes us stronger for the next chapter in our stories!
If no one has told you this, this week, allow me, “YOU’VE GOT THIS!” 🙋🏻♀️
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”