Over the past couple months, I’ve been processing over the concept of “listening to God’s voice.” It’s something I’ve been focusing on during personal study, we’ve been studying it in our Tuesday night group, it even came up coincidentally as the topic for the weekend of our youth fall retreat.
I never thought this was a true issue of mine. I always seeked His wisdom when I was going through difficult situations (sometimes a little better than others), and in my inquisitive manner, I continued to ask Him questions that I didn’t know the answers to.
A couple weeks ago during our Tuesday night Bible study, we meditated on what God was telling us at that moment. For me specifically, it was what piece of wisdom did I really need to focus on?
I had way too many questions in my brain — too many questions where my anxieties pondered His intentions with me:
- “How do you want me to grow?”
- “Where do you want me to go?”
- “Who do you want me to specifically show grace and mercy to?”
- “Why can’t I specifically love this person?”
- “What do you want me to do?”
- “Is there anything I can do better?”
- “How are You content with me?”
- “What does my life specifically look like?”
- “How do I continue to remain strong when I get into tough situations?”
- “Why do I feel strongly passionate about these subjects?”
- “Why am I so apathetic towards these things?”
…the list went on and on.
It was in that fifteen minutes or so where I specifically, and shockingly, heard Him tell me to shut up.
“Shut up.” A phrase that was always taboo for me growing up. My mom hated whenever Jason and me using the phrase, and even though my friends used it all the time and it was in all of the popular movies (remember Mean Girls?), I tried to take that phrase out of my vocabulary.
And here God was telling me to shut up.
After I got over the initial shock of it all, the questions continued to overflow:
- “Why would You tell me that?”
- “What did I do wrong?”
- “Am I not actually as close to You as I feel right now?”
- “What am I specifically listening for?”
And with that last question, I realized my issue. In all of my inquisitiveness, I never stopped to ever hear a response. How could I think I was good at listening to God, when I never even tried to listen?
I suppose, I always had good intentions. I knew the purpose of my heart was to love others as He has loved me. I wanted to see people grow closer to Him and learn to truly rely on Him. I had done when He had told me years ago, which was to go away to share my story with others (which ultimately was His story). All of my intentions had been focused towards God, but I never stopped.
I never stopped to listen to Him when all He wanted was to answer or guide me towards the questions I had asked. I never stopped to rejoice and dwell in all that He had given me. I never stopped to give Him my trust and my anxieties and to rely on His wisdom.
I may have thought I was seeking Him whilst I asked all of these questions, but if I didn’t stop to pay attention, did that mean I wasn’t actually seeking Him?
I was gutted. Somehow along the way, I had decided to follow my intentions, whether they were good and bad, rather than following on the path He had actually wanted me to be on, and I wanted to get off that train.
That night, I told Him I wanted Him to completely wreck me. I wanted Him to break my heart for what broke His. I wanted Him to strip me from all of the assumptions I had, no matter how focused on Him they were, so I could follow Him to where He actually wanted me to be.
Unfortunately (yet it’ll someday get to ‘fortunately’), I forgot that when you ask God to work in your life, He works in your life.
I could probably say my last couple weeks have been like a rollercoaster, but I think the more accurate term would be that it’s been a whole damn amusement park. The Jenn Amusement Park of Fear and a Whole Ton of Crying.
There’s the Ferris Wheel of Emotions that doesn’t like to stop to let you off, so you keep on going in circles. There’s the Overthinker Rollercoaster that once you finally feel like you’ve thought through everything and how they play out, nope, there’s just more ups and downs (they’re called the “what ifs” on this rollercoaster) that you need to process through. (And it’s wooden and almost scary, sorta like the Texas Giant at Six Flags before they renovated it.) There’s the Anxiety Bumper Cars that almost gives you bruises because you just can’t stop getting hit by the other bumper cars. And my least and most favourite, there’s the You-Have-To Spinning Teacups. And God’s doing the spinning. And believe me, He spins it so fast you wonder if this is why you get nauseating motion sickness in real life.
You can’t escape the teacups. You’re sorta trapped once you’re in them. Sometimes you’re on those Teacups for awhile, and it gets to the point where you’re unsure if you’ll ever get off, especially when you’re knee deep in funnel-cake vomit. Sometimes the Teacups can make you angry, because you’re unsure why you’re strapped on so tight when you didn’t want to get on it in the first place. Sometimes the Teacups can hurt, because you can feel your sides turning inside out and wow, there is so much acid reflux. And by the end, the Teacups will make you happy or at least, a person with a stronger stomach, because the ride is over.
Because then, you remember that you asked for it. That you decided to give Him control. That though it’s uncomfortable and not necessarily what you would’ve chosen to go on, you can’t say that you finished the amusement park without it. He wants you to complete the amusement park. He wants you to win with Him by your side.
And that’s when the Teacups become the most exhilerating ride you’ve ever been on, and you realize why it’s the last ride in the park.
Because with Him in control, you able to get over the Ferris Wheel of Emotions, the Overthinker Rollercoaster, and the Anxiety Bumper Cars. With Him in control, the other rides don’t even need to exist.
By the time this is going to be posted and shared, I’ll be on my next adventure in Texas, learning to “shut up” and giving Him control of the Teacups.
There are a lot of questions I still have that I’m sure others will too (which includes the “what’re you doing next?” question, which is also my least favourite question in the world, even as a type A planner). Everybody’s guess, though, is as good as mine, because God’s the only one with the instruction manual, and it doesn’t look like I’m receiving a copy anytime soon.
It’s been sad to leave British Columbia prematurely and to have to say all of the goodbyes that were involved (and believe me, they sucked), but I’m excited to see where He leads me this time and how I grow during this process. I’m done with these Teacups.