All day long I hear voices. I know them well, and because of this, they sift in and out of my day almost unnoticed, subconsciously planting seeds of life or death as I wander through tasks, experiences, interactions.
If I am not intentional, they can own me. I am my own goal keeper in a very important game.
There have been seasons–whole years even, when this running tape of voices has literally run me right into the ground. I didn’t used to have the capacity to un-hear the influence of outside input, messages coming at me like marketing impressions, changing how I’ve felt about myself, about others, about my place or status in this world.
I didn’t have a defense, or an understanding of why I needed one. My filter was one of judgement–towards myself, and towards anyone or anything in my path. How did I measure up? How did others think I measured up? How did I come across? Where did I fit? Couldn’t everyone see right through me to my insecurities, my hardest places, my scars?
I spent a lot of time and a whole lot more energy trying to keep up with the voices…even to get one step ahead of them. It was exhaustive and exhausting. For a long time, I didn’t know anything different.
And then I fell in love.
I fell in love, not in the way I’d fallen in love (or thought I’d fallen in love) before. Not with a false sense of love, or a false security in a person who couldn’t ever give me what I really needed, but with what my soul actually craved. You know how you feel when you first meet that “someone” you just know is going to find their way into your heart? That feeling of newness and excitement, as if nothing else in the world could touch you because you’re finally meeting the one who will most certainly complete you?
You never want it to stop.
Somehow in this new relationship the newness wouldn’t wear off. There was always something to discover around the next corner. He was the ultimate pursuer–a persistent romantic I couldn’t ignore. He literally chased me to the END of the earth (I would LOVE to tell you that story sometime), ran me up a mountain, challenged everything I’d known before I met him, insisted he wasn’t going to give up on me.
When I was most in need of a rescuer, God came in and stole my heart. I’m completely serious. Not only did he rescue me from a deep, dark place, but he rescued me from a soundtrack that had previously run non-stop in the background of my everyday life. He got louder and louder–so loud at times that I couldn’t hear much of anything else. It was crazy and hard and beautiful. And I couldn’t help but let him do it. I craved it, actually.
I’ve asked God a lot of questions over the years, and far more since the day I decided I really wanted to let him in. Sometimes my petitions have come one after another after another, and sometimes with big long spaces in between. I’ve asked, begged, prayed, cried, and shouted for joy to him…and so many times he has answered me. I’ve been ugly and raw, radiant and celebrating. Broken to the point of desperation, hopeful to the brim. God has seen every bit of me and every side of who I am. He is the most patient listener I could ever imagine.
Because of this, I have learned to value listening back. Not perfectly (more on this to come), but intentionally, and more so as I’ve realized how much different I feel when I make space and time to do it. And the more I make an effort to listen, the better I become at defending the floodgate of my mind. I have a back up goalie who is far bigger, far stronger, far more agile than I could ever be, and more than I know what my heart needs, He actually created it.
It’s true. The God who created us and knows us deeply is keenly aware of our hearts. To. This. Day.
It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, how far you’ve wandered or how long (if ever) it’s been since you talked to God…I mean, really sat down and got quiet and talked right to him.
It doesn’t matter if it was last week or yesterday or when you prayed a prayer kneeling by your bed as a child.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been to church, or if you hate church, or if you’ve stopped going to church.
It doesn’t matter if the list of things you’re ashamed of, afraid of, convinced of, broken by, or hurt from is a mile and a half long.
He isn’t mean and he doesn’t condemn. But he will welcome you…Oh, how he will welcome you! And if you let him, he will tear down walls in your heart that you might not even know exist. He will repair things you didn’t know needed mending. He will put on gear and go to battle for you against the voices in your head that tell you you are disappointing, unimportant, failing, not enough. He will become for you the greatest lover of your soul.
More than a decade after realizing that the first true love of my life had waited patiently for me, he is still wooing me and challenging me, fighting for me and defending me. He is the ONE VOICE that can speak over top of all of the other voices in my head–the one I long to listen to, the one I crave more time with every day. There is no one like him. He cannot be chased away like the others. He persists and wins my heart over again and again.
I didn’t sit down to the keyboard today to write this post about anything specific. I just asked God beforehand to help me write whatever He needed me to say. And these words started coming. Maybe they are for you today, or for a friend. Maybe they are the first words you’ve heard from God in a while…ones he cared enough to pass through me so that they could get to you. If he’ll traverse continents and mountains to get to my little, aching heart, I believe he’ll do absolutely anything to meet us where we are.
If I shared this for you, I pray that God will also make a space for you to meet with him. Today. In the middle of the night. As the sun comes up tomorrow. I can always stand to have more space to meet with him…perhaps you could pray for that space for me, too?
peace to your heart today,