When I was a teenager I desperately wanted to hear the voice of God. I wanted to know what it was like to be led by the Spirit and to know God’s purpose for my life. I constantly asked God what I should do with my life, and what direction I should take, and what school to attend, and who to marry, and so on. I desired more than anything to use my life for God - even though back then I had a weird idea of what that actually meant, but that’s a story for another time!
As I practiced the presence of God, and spent time in prayer and study I noticed that the voice of God, or the gentle nudging from inside, was clearer, and easier for me to discern. I would test myself when I thought I heard God, to locate in my body where the feeling came from, and make sure it was a loving action for all involved, and then with a lot of boldness I would try it out! I tried it on little stuff like being moved to pick up trash on the street when I was in a hurry, or saying a kind word to a stranger. And so over years of doing this, it has become a practice of mine to follow that prompting in little things so that when bigger decisions are needed, I can trust myself.
I was jogging last week and passed a woman on the path who looked to be struggling to walk, and I felt a desire in me for her to be healed. I really wanted her to walk without pain. And so, as I jogged by her I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should turn around and extend that sentiment of healing to her. After years of following these kinds of gentle nudgings, I knew I had to go back. So I did, and she seemed to be unmoved by my return, but said, “are you with House Church?” and so I told her I was, and she said, “I attend First Lutheran…I’ve been in service with you!” She went on to say that she doesn’t think the healing was for her, but for her dear friend who is fighting cancer.
As I jogged away from that encounter I felt like the Spirit said, “You’re welcome…” and I knew what that meant, it’s our inside joke, it means in an instant, “you are still hearing me, you are still following me, you are on the right path, and I am with you.”
Just a few days later, things got hectic at church and I needed to make decisions that would impact people’s lives. The stakes were definitely higher, but because I am constantly practicing following the little nudges, and God gave me a recent, real-time example, I had peace to trust the direction I felt we should take even though it was a leap of faith.
Prayer: You are the leader, Oh God, and I am the follower. I desire to know your direction in my life and trust your guidance. Let’s get closer together on this, Holy Spirit. I want to collaborate with you and learn to trust you even more. I’m open to doing crazy, leap-of-faith type stuff. I’m willing to follow you so open my eyes and ears to perceive your movement and leadership in my life today. Let it be done, and let it be so. Amen.