Listening to God, Part 3

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.   Albert Einstein

despairApparently I spent most of my life experiencing this type of insanity, because finally, after decades of doing the same thing over and over, it hit me….

this really isn’t working.

Up until this point, my need to find the answers to my lingering emptiness had not surpassed my need to be in control of my own life, to be safe and “protected”. People were risky after all, God too. But I was finally desperate enough to reach out to people I trusted and just say, I want things to change! I need to figure out how to get past my fear of being known. I don’t even care any more if my imperfections show and everyone knows who I am not.

That was a turning point for me. Things didn’t automatically change but the gradual climb uphill began. There was still a lot I needed to address, repent of, accept and believe. For the time being though, figuring out how to reach out to people for help was a good first step. Being open with people and being open with God are very interconnected. So I spoke to a couple of people I trusted and threw out a cry for help, for advice, a listening ear and the door cracked open a bit. So much was in my mind trying to get out, ways of explaining where I’ve been, where I was, where I wanted to be.  I began to write, and write and write and found I couldn’t stop. And not just write, but risk sharing it with mature Christian people I knew I could trust. Though it felt far too revealing, somehow this process lightened my heavy heart.
I wasn’t sure really what God had in mind for me, but expressing myself, talking with wise people, figuring out how to understand my long hidden emotions was a start. I read helpful books like Larry Crabb’s Becoming a True Spiritual Community: A Profound Vision of What the Church Can Be. I studied up on personality types and what being an introvert meant and didn’t mean. And through all of this new study and prayer, God helped me see He made me, and each of us, with very unique gifts and abilities.
There were barriers up that still seemed impossible to get through. I had a broken way of looking at myself and others. I still didn’t get my true identity in Christ or believe God saw me as worth His time and attention. I was beginning to desire relationships but God was going to have to address my wounds or I was bound to hurt people more than enjoy their company.
At this point, God prompted a now very dear friend of mine to reach out to me. I know she wouldn’t want any accolades, but I have to say, she risked a lot to be vulnerable with me. My emotions, fears, and past wounds were pretty out of control and for a stretch I wasn’t the safest person to be around that closely. God spoke His words through her and for the first time they started to sink in. As she lived out her relationship with Christ and shared her ups and downs with me, I saw that God was safe, good and enjoyable to be around. It wasn’t that God was holding back love from me but that I was refusing to accept His generous and overwhelming love. I had no joy because joy comes along with surrender and vulnerability. He had been knocking, and knocking and knocking at the door of my heart and until this point, I wouldn’t open it to Him.
I love you, He was saying. You are beautiful and worth my time and attention. I would like to spend 24/7 with you if you’d let Me. Don’t keep Me an acquaintance, when I can be your Best Friend. Don’t keep me as only your Friend, when what I really am is your Lover, the Lover of your very soul. It took a lot of time, prayer, discussions, surrender but finally I began to believe what He said over my own assumptions, or the enemy’s lies.
So, I opened the door wide…
There is not a secret word or action it takes to know the Almighty God as a best Friend, and yes, even Lover. It’s just opening the door of our heart to Him. The journey was only beginning though. I knew God was speaking to me, now I had to learn to listen.
To be continued….
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