The other morning I found myself trying to find my way back to God. I’d lost Him at my daughter’s basketball game the night before.
A few missed calls by the referees in a close game had tempers igniting in the stands. I usually try to connect with God when I feel my emotions crossing over to the dark side.
But I didn’t.
I owned my anger and lost God in the process. Of course, He didn’t lose me. But like with Adam in the garden, He was saying, “Where are you, Sherri?”
Only I couldn’t hear Him. A critical and judgmental spirit had knocked on my door and I’d let it in.
All evening I could feel negativity in my thoughts and hear it coming out of my mouth. I felt cranky and didn’t like it.
I repented for my attitude, but I didn’t feel any different. There was a void where joy and peace usually reside.
So I started thanking God for His goodness, and peace began trickling in. Thankfulness and praise create a pathway to intimacy with God (Psalm 100:4).
For some of us, praise and thankfulness are a well-traveled freeway. For others of us, it’s an overgrown trail we can barely find. Let alone walk upon.
It takes practice. But I’ve found the more I praise and step toward God, the happier I am. His peace becomes a protection around me, even when life is hectic.
Stepping into praise and thankfulness is also an act of warfare. The enemy flees when we resist his pull to cave into our flesh.
Though it is MUCH easier to walk (and speak) in negative ways than it is to wrestle the enemy for control of our minds.
When something goes wrong, the enemy has a litany of lies and half-truths he continuously feeds us—–for as long as we allow him.
We may actually have a well-traveled road into the enemy’s habitat of negativity.
Until we put up a “Road Closed” sign to him, we’ll continually struggle with feeling stressed and frustrated and cranky. We feel it, our family feels it and people who irritate us at the grocery store feel it.
And the only way to enforce that closed road is to cultivate a pathway to God.
There is no set way to connect with Him. I love journaling my thoughts to Him and then recording what I hear Him speaking to my heart and mind.
Others find Him out on a run, or while driving, or while taking a shower.
But I wonder if sometimes we talk at God rather than approaching Him with an expectation that He has something He wants to share with us?
Recently Mat and I attended a marriage conference in which many couples volunteered to let the leaders walk them through healing in front of the whole group. Over and over, we watched as a husband or wife was asked to close their eyes and ask Holy Spirit a question that pertained to their issue. In the beginning, I would find myself tensing up, fearing that God wouldn’t answer. But He did, every time. Then we practiced asking Holy Spirit questions in our own exercises. And I started hearing God more clearly.
I asked Him why and He said, “Because you expect to.” Talking to Him and expecting a response from Him changed things for me.
But sometimes we have specific issues that block us from hearing. Sin is the biggest culprit. Unforgiveness, bitterness, criticalness, judgment and so on.
So just ask Him, “Holy Spirit, what hinders my relationship with You?” Close your eyes and listen.
He may show you someone’s face or remind you of a conversation where you took offense. Trust Him to show you. It may not happen at the moment you ask the question, but He will show you.
He desires intimacy with each one of us more than we can comprehend.
Holy Spirit, I want to walk intimately with you. I want joy and freedom and happiness. I hate the cloud I’ve been living under and command it out of my life in Jesus’ name. Negativity, you are not welcome in my life any longer. All forms of negativity you are commanded to leave me, and I repent for joining with you. I break all agreements I’ve made with you in any form. Father God, please take this negativity far from me and fill me with Your joy. Reveal to Me what You have in store for Me. In Jesus’ name, amen!
By IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons