A.W. Tozer wisely said, “The one who does not expect God to speak will discount every single time that God does speak.”
Have you heard from God lately?
I have had many seasons this year in which I have pleaded, asking God, “Where are you?! Why have you left?” This questioning often came from a place of anger & sadness, but mostly from one of loneliness.
One day, I heard His still small voice and He asked: “Who or what is molding you, Lindsey? What things are you allowing to form and shape your heart and mind daily?”
Let’s back up a bit.
The words “I don’t have time” have become a daily speech in my life. Gosh, I can’t even count the number of times that those words have rolled off of my tongue this year. I have justified the time that I spend watching Netflix, cleaning my house, having people over or mindlessly scrolling through my phone, and yet I make excuses for the fact that I have recently spent very little time with God.
I am aimless and distracted; I may as well be plugging my ears with the only goal being to diminish His voice.
Exhaustion is another excuse of mine. I’m exhausted because my toddler is in an extremely hard season. I’m nine months pregnant. I feel exhausted by the busyness of life. I’m exhausted by society’s expectations and exhausted by my futile attempts to live up to them.
And though these things are tiring within themselves, I would not be half as exhausted if I didn’t attempt to carry these burdens on my own.
When I look back on what this year looked like for us, I envision myself trudging through knee-deep mud, working with all of my effort just to take one tiny step forward each and every day.
It was a really hard year, you guys. I personally battled with heavy doubt, broken friendships, questioning my identity and faith, unmet expectations, the insane challenges of motherhood, family struggles and so much more.
And in this season when I have needed the strength and comfort of God the most, I have managed to list off every excuse to not spend time with Him.
At a time when I should be resisting the Enemy and clinging to the One who desires to carry all of my burdens, I turned my back and allowed them to weigh me down to the point of nearly breaking.
It’s just easier sometimes, isn’t it?
It’s easier to give in to the Enemy’s plan to destroy our faith as we succumb to laziness, distraction and lack of concern.
We tune God out and then shift the blame onto Him. We claim that everything is happening because He isn’t present or near.
We blame Him for His silence when we have simply chosen to be deaf.
At least I do.
But He never walks away from us. He promises that He won’t. He is faithful — reaching out and pleading for us to turn from the distractions of this world and to see Him clearly. He never intended for us to live this life on our own.
Deuteronomy 7:9, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.”
When I finally chose to set aside my distractions and idols, He quickly reminded me that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His Spirit moves in my heart, His word is living and active and I have the daily choice to live as a reflection of His love or as a reflection of my own selfishness.
Matthew 5:13 says, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
Friends – how is your relationship with God in this moment? Has your salt lost its taste? Would the people that you come across daily know, without a doubt, that your life is led by Jesus?
If not, is it really because God has turned His back on you — or have you simply allowed the shiny things of this world to pull you away from Him?
Every one of us has many things in our lives that fight to shape and mold who we are, and yet most of them honestly look nothing like Christ.
I want to share three things for you to remember this year about the shaping and molding of your heart. These simple concepts have helped to shift my perspective while positively changing my relationship with Him.
1. Your Church Will Fail You
My father-in-law often does a challenging illustration at his church. He holds up a rope and the length of that rope represents the number of hours in the week – 168 inches for 168 hours. He then shows the amount of time spent at church that week (1-2 hours) and drops the rope to display only 2 minuscule inches. The remainder of the rope hangs down and represents exactly what it is — dead weight.
What are we doing with the rest of that rope? What are we filling our minds and hearts with in the other 166 hours of our week?
You guys, if you go to church for one or two hours a week and expect to be grooved, shaped and molded by the gospel, and expect that to be your full spiritual formation, I promise that your church will fail you. Your relationship with God will be lukewarm at best. It’s impossible for us to take one measley hour to be transformed while the other 167 hours are being influenced by what the world says makes us “good” and “enough.”
This is why the habits that we create for our moment to moment lives are so important. Where do your time, talent & treasure go?
2. If you choose darkness daily, you’re pushing out the Light.
When you sanctify your sin and give in to the same things over and over again, those things will be grooved so deeply in your heart, often causing you to ask, “Where is God?”
Oftentimes, we take advantage of grace while we actively choose sin or faithlessness every day. And then we still expect God to show up.
What sin in your life have you justified and explained away to a point where it’s no longer on your radar? Sexual sin, pride, relationship idolatry, love of money, drunkenness? When we choose to wake up every day, living in darkness, we are then actively choosing to push out the Light. To hear the whisper of God, we must turn down the noise of the world.
3. The Daily Grind of Relationships Will Refine Us
Community is crucial. We must allow ourselves to be loved + to love, to be held accountable + to pour into others and to help carry one another’s burdens. There are few things that make us more like Jesus than the daily grind of interactions with others. It’s part of the refining process; God gives us community as a way to become more like Him as we are both challenged and encouraged.
Do you have faithful believers that you are currently sharing life with? Are you surrounding yourself with people who pour into you and encourage and challenge your relationship with Christ?
Acts 2:42, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
In this season, does your life match with what God has called you to? Are you using your gifts? Are you living your life for His glory?
Sweet friends, He loves you, He desires to change your heart and, above all, He longs to know you deeply. Tune your ears to hear Him today.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.” John 10:27-28.