Category Archives: Educational
One of the major blockages to learning how to use the gift of discernment is FEAR. We are raised to be afraid of what we don’t understand and especially what we can’t see or perceive with our natural senses. Through movies, television, books and other media, we are taught that these things are “creepy”.
I’m sure that’s part of the enemy’s marketing scheme – to make us think that the unseen realm is scary, unpredictable and generally dangerous. I’ve seen a lot of people with beautiful gifts in discernment “shut down” because religious leaders in their lives made them feel ashamed or inferior for knowing about the unseen realm. Anything they couldn’t easily explain or describe was considered some form of evil or witchcraft or “forbidden”. I am so sorry if this has ever happened to you.
So you might feel a little cautious about exploring this realm or the idea of experiencing the unseen realm. You might be
- afraid of what you might see
- afraid of what you might feel
- afraid of what you might hear
- afraid of being labeled a “witch”
- afraid of the dark and what might jump out and “get you”
- afraid of the unknown
- afraid of the unseen realm
- afraid of what you don’t understand
- afraid of your own gifts and what opening that door might mean in the future
- afraid of (insert your fear here)
I know I was VERY afraid of the unseen realm. It really hampered the development of my confidence in using my gifts. It took a LONG time before I realized fear didn’t have to be associated with the gift of discernment.
As part of learning how to overcome my fears, I discovered this little exercise that really helped me. I did the Fear Finder exercise over and over – each time using a different fear (because I had many fears). I did this over a period of a year or so (as fears came up). Little by little my fears disappeared and I can honestly say that now, I’m not afraid of the unseen realm. I am confident and secure. Do I still occasionally get creeped out? Sure, but then I realize that it’s just a scare tactic and I snap out of it. I know what to do when I encounter fear and I know how to get rid of it easily. Maybe I’ll share that strategy in a future post. 🙂
Step: Fear Finder
Go to a place where you will not be interrupted. Take a few deep breaths, letting them out slowly to help you relax and to quiet your mind.
Say these statements/questions out loud and then wait for an answer. An answer may come as a feeling, a thought, a picture in your mind, a word, a memory or just an inner knowing. You can do this alone or with a friend. If no answer comes to the first question, this may not be the right time for this step. Take a break and try again later.
Focus on a specific fear you have and ask out loud,
“Spirit of Truth, where did this fear come from?” (pause and wait for an answer)
“Who taught me this fear?” (pause and wait for an answer)
“I forgive _(name)_ for teaching me this fear. I release them from the harm they caused me. I no longer choose to partner with this fear. I let it go.”
Take deep cleansing breaths, release the negative emotions and let them go.
“Spirit of Truth, what can I have in exchange?” (pause and wait for an answer)
“I receive _______ in exchange for my fear of _____.”
(pause and open your heart to receive)
Try it out! I was amazed how many fears this removed from my mind and my heart – instantly! It wasn’t hard at all. Sometimes I got mad when I realized how I got the fear in the first place and I had to work through that in order to forgive and let it go. The book talks about dealing with forgiveness and how to do it when you don’t really want to forgive. But it’s totally worth it because now I’m FREE! I’m no longer afraid like I used to be. 🙂
After you do the exercise, would you mind coming back here and sharing your experience? I often hear stories of how this little exercise has helped people (I share it whenever anyone mentions fear and sometimes I do the process with friends I’m with). It really works!
The Lord keeps bringing this scripture to mind for me to think about. I thought you might enjoy thinking about it too.
For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
But you would not. Isaiah 30:15
It really does “save” me (rescue me from stress and anxiety), whenever I remember to return and rest in Him. Rest that He has a plan that I cannot improve upon, that I don’t have to figure out, that I can trust Him to guide me and take care of everything that concerns me.
It really does give me strength to quiet my mind as I rest in Him. Trusting Him gives me confidence. When I’m worried about something, I tend to talk about it. When I’m trusting Him, I notice that both my mind and my mouth are quieter. That gives me peace and strength (conserves my emotional energy).
“But you would not.” – that tells me it doesn’t just magically happen. This is a choice I make. My will opens the doorway to this benefit of rest, confidence, peace and salvation from stress and worry.
This reminds me of quote I love:
“I dream of a people who know that their times are in the hands of their Lord.
They rest with confidence and full assurance knowing that He has laid a plan that they cannot improve upon and that He is directing their future.
So they rest in Him,
waiting for the sound of His voice
and doing with all their heart . . .
whatever is before them to do.”
– Don Nori, Love Shack
It’s important to know the sound of His voice – knowing when God is directing you. Do you know God’s voice? If not, there’s several posts on this site that can help you with that:
Let me know if you get any insight from this scripture. This was mine today. 🙂
What do you do when you know you should have a desire to seek the Lord, but you just don’t have it?
I recall when I first “fell in love” with Jesus. It was so powerful! I couldn’t believe how good I felt and how much I could feel His love for me. It was like falling in love, except it wasn’t with a natural man – it was with Jesus!
I remember trying to explain this to my friends – they didn’t get it. But Jesus was SO REAL to me and I KNEW for the first time in my life, really knew I was loved by Him.
But then the drudgery of daily life took over.
I wanted to keep my passion and fire for Jesus, but it was disappearing and I didn’t know what to do. I was also afraid to tell anyone because they might judge me.
Have you ever felt that way? LIke you wanted to be close to God but the desire to seek Him just was not there?
I have great news! I figured out what to do and it has worked for me many, many times since then. And it’s super easy!
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33
How to Get Your Fire for God back
First, just admit it. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize that you are losing your fire – it happens very slowly and quietly. If you are not around other people who are passionate about Jesus, it can be even harder to recognize – there’s no one to stir you up! But eventually you will realize it. It’s important to admit it – that’s the first step. Admit it to yourself – “I don’t feel like seeking God. My heart is cold.” This is humbling – it kills your pride.
Then, tell Jesus that you feel cold toward Him. I know you probably don’t want to, but this is important. Acknowledge that you WISH you had a desire to seek Him and His ways, but you just don’t. Ask Him to forgive you for the lack of desire to seek Him.
Lastly, ask Jesus to give you a desire to seek Him. I know that doesn’t make sense, but honestly – where do you think you got the desire to seek God in the first place? From Him! We are dependent on Him even for the desire to seek Him.
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” John 6:44
You may not have an “instant” experience of suddenly being passionate about God again. What I’ve noticed when I’ve prayed this prayer is that it takes about 24-48 hours to take effect. I often forget about the prayer and then a couple of days later I notice I suddenly have a desire to seek the Lord. It happens spontaneously, at least for me.
So – try it! I encourage you to choose to seek the Lord. He is worthy and you won’t regret it. Life with Him is AWESOME!
Here’s an example of a prayer you can pray:
Jesus, I’m sorry. I have no desire to seek You right now. I don’t know why. I feel cold in my heart and I want to be different inside. Please restore the desire to seek You in my heart. Thank you. Amen.
Let me know in the comments below what happened after you prayed that prayer. I love to hear how God changes lives. He’s changed mine over and over again. He’ll do it for you too!
I wrote an ebook to help you develop an intimate relationship with God. It’s free! You can download it by clicking on the link below. I hope it helps you get closer to God. That’s my heart for each one of you who finds this blog – that you might KNOW HIM. ❤
Free Ebook: Intimate Relationship with God by Sandy Walker
This short ebook will help you draw closer to God, to know Him more intimately than you ever thought possible. In this book I share what I’ve learned from walking with Him for over 35 years – things like how to pray and hear from God, how to cultivate an intimate friendship with Him, how to experience God’s presence in your daily life as well as how to receive the Love of God in a tangible way. I also include simple, practical exercises that will help you to be more aware of God’s presence, His direction and Love throughout the day. If you’re looking for a deeper walk with God, I encourage you to check out this little book – it’s free! 🙂
When I was younger it was so hard to find anyone who knew God like I wanted to know Him – so I wrote this little ebook as a candle to light their way. 🙂
Feel free to share it with your friends and family. ❤
There are some songs that just seem to draw us closer to the Lord, aren’t there? We all have our favorite songs we like to sing to God. But it seems like some songs just open up heaven and His presence fills the room.
I love the songs that talk about His presence. It reminds us that He is literally right here, right now, with us. It makes us more aware of His presence. Songs about the Holy Spirit also seem to have that effect.
Here are some presence based worship songs that I never want to forget. So I’m saving them right here.
What’s your favorite presence based worship song? Feel free to share the link in the comments or post the name of the song and the person who sings it (if you know who it is).
Looking for more? This article appears in a free ebook called Intimate Relationship with God – you can download it here. 🙂
It has been on my heart recently to host a “God Gathering” – a place where people can gather to seek the Lord. In the old days, people referred to this as “tarrying in the presence of the Lord”. It’s not exactly a prayer meeting – I’m not sure what to call it so I call it a “God Gathering”. 🙂
I have hosted many of these over the years and it occurred to me last night that there may be someone who doesn’t know how to do this so here’s how I do it – in case it might inspire someone else to host a God Gathering of their own!
- Make sure you are hosting the God Gathering for the right reasons. The Holy Spirit is usually the one who initiates the invitation by putting it on my heart to host one. You do not want to do this just because you feel like it – it won’t work. I had a friend call me one time and ask me to host one for her. I had a feeling she was motivated by emotion more than by the Spirit because she seemed upset and hosting the meeting was a reaction to her emotional turmoil. She contacted a bunch of people and twelve of them said they would come. I prepared for it, but I had this sense that this was an empty endeavor. Sure enough, the day for the meeting arrived and she was the only one who showed up. We sat together, quietly talking. When it became obvious that no one else was coming (not even other spiritual leaders, pastors, etc. that had promised to come), I told her I had a sense that it just wasn’t the right time. She agreed and went home. This was a clear object lesson for me – don’t be tempted to do this on your own. Wait for His timing.
- Prepare the environment. I usually do this by cleaning the room where we will be meeting and playing some soaking music softly in the background. I often do this a few days before and just let the music keep playing. My brother used to tell me he could tell the angels liked it when he left the soaking music on. I’m not aware of that but it does help your mind to focus on the Lord every time you hear the music. Some suggestions for soaking music are here.
- Send out an invitation and make sure people are clear on why you are hosting this meeting. You want to make sure that the people who are coming are sincerely wanting to connect with the Lord. This is not just a social gathering. If parents ask, I don’t usually include young children because it’s hard for them to sit still (though I have seen some children who really like these kinds of meetings, but it is rare). You want an environment with no distractions.
- Prepare the spiritual environment. Once the people have gathered and greeted each other, I turn down the lighting to signal that it’s time to begin. Then I pray some specific prayers to prepare the spiritual environment and our hearts for an encounter with Jesus.
- Pray over the room, asking the Lord to wash it and commanding everything else to leave. For example, “Lord, thank You for meeting with us. We are here for You. Would You please wash off this room and remove anything that does not belong here? No spirits of the enemy are allowed to stay here – leave now, in Jesus’ name.”
- Pray over the people, asking the Lord to wash us off and remove any distractions from hindering our time with Him. For example, “Lord, I ask that You wash us off from all that we’ve picked up today. Would You please draw us close to You? Open our hearts and minds to hear from You. Please remove any distracting influences during our time together.”
- Invite the Holy Spirit to come. Yes, the Lord is already there, but there’s something about this step that prepares YOU to hear from Him. For example, “Holy Spirit, we invite You to come. You are welcome in this place. Please increase our awareness of Your presence.” There’s a difference between the omnipresence of God and the tangible manifest presence of God. We are seeking His manifest presence.
- Invite Wisdom and Revelation. For example, “Wisdom and Revelation, come. We welcome you. We invite you to speak to us and show us God’s glory and goodness.” I don’t know how this works, but I know that when I do this it shifts the atmosphere. Some say these are specific angels that are released to minister – others say these are aspects of the Spirit of the Lord. Either way, you are welcoming them to reveal the Lord’s goodness and glory. I don’t have to understand it for it to work (like electricity, right?). Childlike faith is simple and powerful.
- Wait expectantly. At this point, I often turn the music up just a little bit so we can hear it and drown out any other sounds. It helps us to focus without distraction. Often the presence of the Lord has been building with each prayer of invitation spoken so now we just enjoy Him. I often find a smile bursting on my face because He’s HERE in such a tangible way – I am so happy to be with Him. Sometimes I whisper my love and worship to Him – trying not to distract anyone, but at the same time honoring who He is to me. Others may also whisper their love and worship. 🙂 Some people sit, some lay down on the floor, some kneel – each one is free to do whatever feels comfortable for them. (I have tile floors so when I host these, I often put big cushions on the floor and some fluffy throw rugs for people to lay on, if they want to.) Sometimes people pace at the end of the room – that’s okay too. It’s important for each person to be free to be themselves. I also make sure there is paper and pens on the coffee tables in case anyone needs to write what the Lord is saying to them, especially if they wish to give it to someone else.
- Receive from His presence. Just being together in God’s presence is incredibly refreshing and healing. We often just sit quietly and soak up His presence. No one is moving or talking – just being together. Letting God be God.
- Ask people to share. After a time of waiting on God, I will often feel prompted to lower the music a little bit and then I ask, “Would anyone like to share what the Lord is showing them?” One by one people share what the Lord shared with them – it could be a Scripture verse, a new insight into His goodness and care, a word, a song or a vision. Scripture says, “When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight. Take your turn, no one person taking over. Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you all learn from each other.” I Corinthians 14 The Message.
- Respond to each thing that is shared. This is really important and some people miss this. Pay attention to what the Lord is saying through each person who shares. Acknowledge what has been shared (thank the person) and then ask the Lord if there’s anything that needs to be done. I am often doing this internally while the person shares, asking the Lord to direct us. Sometimes it is obvious – perhaps something the person shares relates to a current event that needs to be prayed for. Ask that person to lead in prayer, others can join in after they pray. Usually the person who gets the insight or revelation has the authority to pray it out. If someone gets a word of knowledge or word of wisdom for an individual in the meeting, they should offer to minister to that person. Maybe they need prayer – but don’t force it. Ask them first. Sometimes it is not obvious right away what the Lord is saying but after 2-3 people share, you might see a theme emerging that guides you. Ask the Holy Spirit – in fact, I often just stop everything and say out loud, “Holy Spirit, what do You want us to do with this?” and we all just wait. If you don’t hear or sense anything, then just move to the next person who wants to share.
- Pray for each other. After everyone has had a chance to share what the Lord showed them, ask if anyone needs prayer. If there are many needs and time is running out, break up into pairs or groups of three and pray for each other. This is so important – we have no idea how much the people around us are in need until we ask. Asking for prayer requests tends to open people up like nothing else does – this is often the most precious part of these gatherings as people feel safe enough to be vulnerable and transparent about their pain and struggles. This is the body of Christ loving on one another – first we love God and receive His love, then we love one another. ❤
- Close in prayer. You’d think you could skip this step since so much prayer has been going on all night, right? But there’s something about “closing” that feels right. For example, “Lord, thank You so much for meeting with us tonight. We enjoy Your presence so much! Thank You for all You did tonight. We ask that You seal these prayers and all that happened here. We love You.”
I have not encountered too many church meetings that follow this format. But every time I follow it, the Lord comes powerfully and everyone leaves very happy, refreshed and blessed.
I wonder if you could do this virtually. Could you have an online God Gathering using video chat? What do you think? Would it work?
Is there anything you do that helps you and your friends connect with God? Please feel free to share it. I love new ideas!
I just finished reading a 3-book supernatural fiction series by Lisa Bergren called Remnants. It is VERY good. I recommend it.
Book description: Our coming was foretold by the elders— Those who would change the future, just as the planet teetered on the edge of darkness. Born on the prophesied day with birthmarks in the form of a crescent moon, they knew us immediately. Swaddled and screaming, we were spirited away by those who hid us, trained us, and kept us safe until our time came. They poured their lives into us. Some died to save us.
And now we, the Remnants, protected by Knights of the Last Order, have gathered. Called until we breathe our last … to save the world. Amazon link
Although it is written for a young adult audience, the story, characters and plot line are much better than a lot of YA fiction I’ve seen. This has depth and some really good illustrations about the supernatural world that are worth reading.
I’ve been looking for this kind of fiction for the last twenty years – ever since I read Frank Peretti’s, This Present Darkness about angels and demons battling it out over the human affairs of life.
Remnants gives you an insider’s view of what it is like to discover you have supernatural gifts – particularly some of the gifts we talk about on this blog. Like being able to sense spirits – good ones or bad ones. Being able to sense another person’s soul or emotions. It also has a LOT of battle scenes between good and evil, using both natural elements like sword fighting as well as supernatural elements like prayer.
The story develops and unfolds over three books and it’s definitely worth reading. In fact, I appreciated that this was not a “preachy” Christian book. It dealt with some hard subjects like family conflict, reconciliation, betrayal, forgiveness, guarding your thoughts against negativity and avoiding sexual immorality. The main characters grew in their faith and in their gifting as they encountered and overcame many different kinds of obstacles to their mission. They also learn the power of being part of the community of faith and learning to follow the advice of their elders. It never mentions Jesus but instead refers to God as “Maker”. I think the author probably used that as a means to reach an audience that may or may not be Christians. I think it is very effective. The main theme is trusting God no matter what the circumstances look like – a good reminder to us all!
The author was asked about the spiritual aspect of the book – she replied:
Lisa: I believe there is an unseen realm that we humans spend little time considering, but should. Once you begin walking the road of faith, it’s like you put on glasses that allow you to see more and more of it. But I don’t get hung up on angels and demons, because my soul has already been won, and there’s enough to deal with here in our physical world. But are there battles? Yes. Every day, every hour. Given that the Remnants are all about fighting off the dark and leading others toward the light, angels and demons will logically take a bit more stage time with each book. But our human characters will remain the focus.
I could relate to the characters and their struggles – it made me stop and think a few times. It’s rare when a fiction book is that deep and carries such truth. Kudos to the author, Lisa Bergren! 🙂
(You can read more about the spiritual aspect of this series in the author’s online interview here, if you’re interested.)
The other day around 5am, I woke up coughing. I realized I could hardly breathe – my chest was very “tight” and my nose was stuffed. I was surprised because I don’t have asthma or allergies and I didn’t have a cold. I had been deeply asleep when I suddenly sat up and started coughing. As I was struggling to clear my airways, I became aware that I was not alone in the room.
I could sense a presence next to me – as though someone (or something) was sitting on the bed next to me. I was focused on trying to clear my lungs but I kept glancing over, feeling very uncomfortable. I wasn’t afraid – just disturbed, like you would be if you woke up and a stranger was sitting on your bed.
I started praying and asking the Lord what was going on. The only impression I got was the Spirit of Death. But it was a faint impression – like an outline of a shadow. I tried to see if any legal ground for the Spirit of Death came to mind. Nothing.
I kept praying, trying to “clear the air”: First, I came out of agreement with the Spirit of Death. Then I commanded any spirit not sent there by Jesus to leave NOW. I closed any open doors to the enemy’s realm and sealed them with the blood of Jesus.
It felt a little “lighter” in my room, but that “thing” was still there. I didn’t feel threatened – it wasn’t that strong. I was just annoyed and wanted to go back to sleep.
I remembered some “emergency maneuvers” I had learned and implemented them. Finally, the air cleared completely! Whew! Thank goodness for my earlier training in spiritual warfare. I certainly didn’t want to go back to sleep with that spirit next to me in bed. Creepy!
As I was settling down to fall asleep, I thought, “I should share these Emergency Maneuvers on this blog in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation”. If you pray and rebuke and command and everything else you can think of and things aren’t shifting, then try some of these:
- Start talking about the Blood of Jesus. The enemy hates the blood of Jesus. Start thanking God for the blood OUT LOUD. Sing songs about the blood of Jesus. Read or quote scriptures about the blood out loud. Focus on it for a while & things will shift.
- Pray in tongues. This is always a good strategy – when you don’t know what else to do and you have no direction from the Holy Spirit, praying in tongues can do wonders. An elderly Sunday School teacher once told me, “Ask the Holy Spirit to pray through you the perfect prayer that is needed for the situation and then pray in tongues.” I always keep this one in mind if I ever feel too foggy mentally – sometimes you just can’t even think straight to pray.
- Worship and sing. Worship can be in spoken words or in song – it doesn’t matter. Singing songs can be comforting to your heart and mind, reminding you of God’s power and might. But in my experience, it also specifically increases my awareness of the presence of God. In other words, more of God’s presence fills the room, pushing out any other presence that doesn’t belong there.
I put some Vicks on my chest and was able to fall back to sleep, thankfully. That afternoon on my way home from an appointment, I saw a vehicle that made me stop and stare. Ahead of me in traffic was a white boxy sedan with a white casket attached to the top. The casket was decorated with plastic skulls. The back window said in large letters: DEATH. There was a statue attached to the casket that looked right down at you when you pulled up behind the vehicle – it was the spirit of death (a black hooded cape with no face and no hands – like an invisible being). I was shocked! I almost took a photo of it to post here, but then I thought, “That is so creepy – I don’t want to pass this on to anyone who views the photo!” Here’s an example – a black hood and cape. Imagine the arms stretched to either side in a menacing stance. That’s a pretty good depiction of that spirit (kind of like the grim reaper).
When my husband got home that night I told him about both events to see if he got any insight from the Lord as to why this was happening. He said he got two words “despair” and “suicide”. Since neither one of us felt that, I asked the Lord to show me who was feeling that way. That evening I baked some sweet bread and took a few slices to my neighbor. She answered the door in her robe and said, “Please pray for me – the depression is really bad right now.” I knew she had been suffering with a lot of pain and was counting down the days until she could have a procedure done that might bring relief.
I asked if I could pray for her right then; I took her hand when she said yes. I prayed against the depression, heaviness and any thoughts of despair or suicide. She agreed with me by saying, Amen.
As I walked back home, the Lord reminded me that about 2 weeks ago she had mentioned to me that she was in so much pain, she had considered ending her life. We talked about it and she made jokes about her husband looking good in all black – he happened to be walking behind us dressed in all black. I told her I would pray for her and I had. Later I looked up the condition she had and an article said it was called “the suicide disease” because so many people find the pain so unbearable that it drives them to consider suicide.
Wow, thank God He gave me a warning to be on the look out for this spirit of death. I’ve been checking on her every day since then – her procedure is in 3 days. Would you mind saying a prayer for her that she finds relief from the pain?
Let me know if you have any emergency maneuvers that you use when nothing else seems to work. Comment below – I’d love to hear them!
By the way, you see why I write this blog – you can’t make this stuff up! It’s just too unusual.
Lately I’ve been paying attention to the words people use. I’m noticing a pattern – especially after my 3:30am Battle the other night. Some words are like a trap door – if we’re not careful, we will fall into believing they are true. Here’s a list of deadly words that are often used:
- No one
When we use these words, it is rarely accurate (meaning there is deception in there somewhere). Often these words are used to manipulate our emotions – to bring death to our soul instead of life. Whether we speak them or someone speaks them to us (or we simply hear them in our head), they make the situation seem hopeless. That’s deadly!
- Nobody listens to me.
- No one cares what I have to say.
- Nothing ever works out for me.
- Everybody has a _(job, car, spouse, child, etc)_ except me.
- Everyone else has it better than me.
- Everything is my fault.
- I’ll never get that job I want.
- I always get blamed for everything!
I once had a male friend that whenever his girlfriend would say, “You never …” or “You always …”, he would reply. “Darlin’, I’m not that good. I never always do the same thing.” and he would kind of chuckle with a twinkle in his eye. He was trying to lighten the mood while also reminding her that he was just as human and unpredictable as we all are.
When we use sweeping words like Never, Always, Everything or Nothing, it can make us feel like our circumstances will not change. It saps our hope for the future. It can make us feel powerless to make changes for our good – which actually becomes kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy. My husband often tells me, “If you believe something, life has a way of proving you right. So if you believe nothing ever works out for you, you’ll be proven right. But if you believe things will work out for you, they often do.” It goes both ways.
When those sweeping words are used against us, it’s usually an accusation. And like my friend said – we’re human and unpredictable and we rarely ALWAYS do the same thing.
It’s good to pay attention to the words you use (or are used against you) and determine if they are TRUE. Especially when that voice in your head says them. [Remember we recently discussed God’s Voice vs Other Voices: How Can You Tell the Difference?]
Context is Key
It occurred to me that the positive side of these statement can also be manipulation and deception.
- Nobody can do this as well as you can!
- No one stands a chance against you.
- Nothing can stop you now.
- Everybody wants to be your friend.
- Everyone admires you.
- Everything you do is amazing!
- You’ll never regret taking that job.
- I’ll always be there for you.
Most of these sound like positive, encouraging statements … except that they are deceptive. They are focused on inflating your ego with false expectations – not good and not realistic. A set up for disappointment.
How Do I Get Out of This Trap?
So how do we keep out of the extremes? Think carefully about what you want to say (or what you hear). Keep it balanced. Try substituting words like Some or Might. Notice how changing these words takes the “bite” out of those negative statements:
- Some people don’t listen to me.
- Some people don’t care what I have to say.
- Some things don’t work out for me.
- Some people have a _(job, car, spouse, child, etc)_, but not everyone.
- Some people have it better than me but not everyone.
- Some things are my fault.
- I might not get that job I want.
- I might get blamed for some things that I didn’t do.
Pay attention to the accusations you hear in your own mind. Change the wording. See if that seems more accurate. It will empower you to take action instead of feeling like a victim.
Don’t allow these words to manipulate your feelings – leading you to a sense of hopelessness that things will “never” change. That’s not God speaking to you, I promise. His words bring hope.
There’s always hope.
(See, there’s a healthy use of the word “always”. There are a few of them. Use it sparingly.)
Last night a young lady called me. She’s in a very sticky situation.
She is currently separated from her husband. A young man from church started pursuing a relationship with her. She’s not interested in him romantically and has made that clear. But they are talking and becoming friends due to their common interest in the things of God.
She told me, “I’m trying to free myself from this guy. I just want to focus on my relationship with Jesus and healing my heart! But for some reason, I keep feeling like I’m forced to be his friend and maybe more some day. I’m praying and praying, but I can’t get any peace. What can I do?”
Whew! That’s tough. When you are praying and yet don’t see the results you had hoped for, what can you do?
We talked for some time. She’s been growing rapidly in hearing from God and learning His ways.
One thing she said that caught my attention – “feeling forced” to be his friend.
I asked her about it. She said she feels this pressure and she wonders if it’s God or not. She’s afraid to cut things off with him because she’s not sure if maybe God WANTS her to be friends with him.
I told her that there’s a big difference between following the leading of the Lord and the feeling of being forced or pushed.
I sent her this chart I made to help her discern when it’s God voice or some other voice.
She immediately replied:
“Wow, I havent realized how much of the other voices I’ve been listening to because I wasn’t sure whether they were from God or not. It’s so clear now.”
I know this chart has helped me – sometimes when we feel unclear about something and especially if our emotions are involved, this can help bring clarity about exactly whose voice we are following.
Some charts I’ve seen contrast God’s voice to Satan’s voice. I chose to contrast God’s voice to “other voices” because sometimes that voice is our own! We are sometimes our own worst enemy – we tell ourselves what we “should” be doing, using guilt and manipulation to get ourselves to do things. Sometimes that “other voice” is someone in our lives giving us advice or telling us what we should do. This chart can help us figure out whether what they are saying lines up with the Lord’s voice. And yes, sometimes that “other voice” is the enemy, Satan, whispering things into our minds (which sounds like our own thoughts).
I encouraged her to keep that chart somewhere she could refer to it frequently. You might want to do the same.
So how do you know when it’s God’s voice versus Other voices? Feel free to share your experience below. What advice would you have given her?
Would you please share this post in your favorite social media to help others discern who’s voice they are hearing? Thank you! 🙂