I love Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.
The story behind Jesus Calling is that Sarah, a missionary, began filling her journals with what she felt God was saying to her. Many years later, excerpts from those words from God where compiled into this and other devotionals, and read as though God is speaking directly to the reader. I'm convinced that sometimes He is.
More than a year ago, our pastor taught on Sabbath. About taking time to stop normal, and rest, play, and be with God. Not just to talk to Him, or even study His Word, but to be with Him. And that involves hearing from Him. Listening. Letting Him speak into our lives, into whatever is on our hearts.
Intrigued by Sarah's words from God, and challenged by Pastor Don's teaching, I decided to try something new during my time with God sometimes. I decided to try to journal not only my words to God, but His words to me.
I know it might sound a little iffy--a little risky--to attempt to write down what God would say. I mean...cmon...who am I to think I know His words? Yet, He speaks. And I've found this practice very meaningful. It seems that God meets me there. In the writing down, there seems to be greater clarity. I write quickly and try not to analzye too much as I'm writing, or else my dumb brain just gets in the way. I go back and reread the conversation...and the insights have been, at times, incredible. (Of course, anything that would be counter to scriptural truth would be dismissed quickly--but that hasn't happened so far.)
At the risk of you thinking I'm a total-fruitcake, I thought about sharing one of the conversations with you all here...but they are all so personal, I'm not sure they would mean much to anyone but me. In fact, I've just glanced back at my journal from the last year looking for something I could share that doesn't include all kinds of details that would need explanation, or shouldn't be shared here. I did find one of my very first written conversations from a year ago, written during one of my sitting-in-the-car-at-soccer-practice quiet times. It kind of made me chuckle at the "clunkiness" of it. Here is the beginning:
So I'm sitting here
in my car
unsure if You have something to say
time with You goes quickly, so I want to treasure it,
but I grow impatient--waiting for You to speak.
Then stop talking.
I did. I waited!
Only for a few seconds.
It's weird to me to sit and do nothing.
I know. But I need you to slow down so your brain can be at a
wavelength to hear Me.
OK. I'll wait here with unfocused thoughts. And shut up. And even if all you have to say is "glad you are here" that is fine.
As I continue reading in my journal I see that I did sit and wait that day. And rather than continue the conversation, God gave me a picture. I saw myself sitting at His feet with my head in His lap. (God's lap! wow.) And God was stroking my hair. (How intimate!). I don't usually like people stroking my hair, cause their fingers get caught in my curls and kind of pull on it. Yet, God was stroking my hair and I liked it. I imagined Him having the same difficulty with my curls and I felt bad about it. He said to me at that moment, "I gave you these curls". And I imagined My Lord smiling.
OK, so that was not the life instruction I thought I'd hear that day. Instead God just wanted me to know how much He treasures time with me. How much He loves me. Just the way I am.
Perhaps that wasn't the best example of the sometimes-long conversations God and I have in my journal, cause it turned into a mental picture with a simple message. Regardless, you get a glimpse in the beginning of how I write the conversation down as it's happening. And it is not unusual for God to speak words of love and reassurance to my heart. I figure He'd use those opportunities to tell me how I need to change and which way to go (He does that too) but more often than not He seems to want to reassure me of His love.
Give it a try! Talking to God in written form slows the whole thing down--cause writing is a bit more laborious than just thinking, but I don't think the slow is bad. And, I like being able to go back and read our conversations later.
How thankful I am that we have a God that wants to be with us and wants to speak with us. It doesn't really matter if we write it or draw it, or even sing it. What matters is that we go to Him. And we listen.
I hope you carve some time to listen today.