Read Time: About 6 mins.
Small rocks crunched beneath my feet as I walked briskly along the country road. It was early spring in western Canada, and even though it was mid-afternoon and the sun was high, there was a chill in the wind that reddened my cheeks and made the tips of my ears tingle. I had to get away for awhile. I had spent the last day or so with a group of friends "retreating" on the shore of a glassy Lake Okanagan, but in stark contrast to the serene surroundings, my heart was swirling with turmoil. For several months, I had begun to feel like everyone I talked to was so spiritually tuned. Many had regaled me with tales about how they had heard God in some crazy prophetic vision, had received a vivid dream in which he gave them the direction they had been asking for, heard Him say something that changed everything about how they thought of Him, or had an experience where they encountered His presence so strongly that they had seen an angel standing in the room. To begin with, I had celebrated when I heard such tales, because of course "God is good", but the more I had heard, the more I had felt... inadequate. I didn't hear God like that. Nothing about what I was hearing or experiencing in Him seemed as significant or important as what I was hearing about others hearing and experiencing.
"Is there something I'm missing?" I said aloud to God. "Why does engaging with You seem so obvious to everyone else, and not to me?" The wind settled a little, and I could hear the waves breaking on the lakeshore off in the distance. My imagination wandered as my heart continued to churn. "This should be the part where the character receives some sort of meaningful absolution", I thought. "The soundtrack crescendos, his eyes widen as he's sucked into a righteous vision, and the answer to his question appears amongst flaming angels, scrolls, and very cinematic lens flares." A dry leaf skittered across the road behind me, interrupting my flight of fancy. Having received no such spiritual raptures much less anything else, my frustration slid into defeat. Deflated, I resigned to the fact that perhaps God wasn’t speaking that day as usual, and turned to walk back to the cabin where my friends were probably having an annoyingly jovial lunch by now.
"My relationship with you is My relationship with you." The thought came quietly and softly, and caused my heart to "flip" inside my chest in a familiar way. What surprised me most was the kindness, affection, and steadfast value which enclosed those simple words as they dropped into the well of my heart. I was immediately and suddenly aware of just how much God valued the way in which He and I related. I had been so concerned with comparing myself to how others were hearing and engaging with Him that I had completely missed His desire for the two of us. I suddenly understood the treasures, experiences, and entirely personal affirmations that came from recognizing that the way I relate to Him is intrinsic to my personality, and not someone else's.
As those simple words from the country road have echoed in my heart since, Holy Spirit has taken me on a journey in understanding just how important who we are is in this whole "relating with God" thing. In fact, who we are and how He communicates with us have actually never been separate. He has wreathed a unique shared vernacular into the everyday way you exist and uniquely sense the world around you. He has made himself always near to you, and has been communicating with you for your whole life. Papa God has moments in store for your relationship with Him that couldn't be more exciting, or more you. It may come as a surprise, but the unique experiences and conversation queues that God has intended us to share with Him are likely so normal to us that it’s easy to entirely write them off as “that was just me”! However, these potentially unassuming daily experiences are actually full of Him, because He made us that way! Our everyday lives are inescapably spiritual ones. We just need to begin to realize it.
I've discovered how very common it is for others to struggle with the same frustrations that I did (and still do from time to time), or think that they've never really heard from, or encountered Him at all, much less in ways that seem significant. I’m convinced that a large part of the reason that so many feel that they cannot communicate with God well is because we’ve largely adopted a “one-size-fits-all” approach to the subject. There have been just a small selection of common God-experiences that have been affirmed in Christendom while a vast tapestry of others have gone un-communicated, un-explored, and unappreciated.
I’ve made a habit of including the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in just about every blog I’ve written so far. There is a reason for this. They aren’t just descriptors of God’s character, they describe the actual experience of His Heart. They are the Spirit in which He relates. Regardless of the experience, if it feels like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, it’s God communicating! I can’t stress enough that it could look or feel like anything at any time. Prophetic visions, yes, absolutely, but also the warmth you may feel in your heart when you look at someone you love. Dreams, yes, but also that seemingly random thought as you drive to work. That “heavy” feeling in corporate worship, yes, but also a subtle heart “flip” like the one I told you about in my story. Things that seem normal to you. Common. I would not be surprised if our dear Holy Spirit has brought some unique everyday experiences to mind for you personally already, and if He hasn’t, He will surely begin to in response to you becoming aware that they already exist in your life! Holy Spirit is so good at revealing the Truth to us. Rest in this: God knows exactly what gets your attention, regardless of whether you currently attribute those things to Him or not.
Once you begin to identify the ways God is getting your attention, engaging with Him is easy. Recognize each of the cues as Holy Spirit “highlights” them, and then just thank Him for the experience, in whatever way feels the most natural to you. I often just end up saying uncomplicated things like “Jesus, thank you so much for this. I love to be with You. I enjoy You so much.” All you’re doing is continuing the conversation He is starting. Responding to Him in faith. You’ll find that as you do, the experience gets better, and opens up an awareness to his “voice” that you thought you never had!
Be encouraged that when He promised to always be with you, that He meant what He said! Even more than that, He went about fulfilling His answer to that promise by weaving into you a special language for you to share! It’s a language that all at once speaks to how much Papa God treasures you as His child, and glories in the unique way that He made you!
THIS BLOG’S RECIPE
Has Holy Spirit brought any “normal” daily experiences to mind as you have read this blog that could be part of you and God’s “shared vernacular”?
Reflecting with God over the last 3 days, can you identify any moments where you experienced the Fruits of the Spirit?
In your own words, how would you thank God for those moments?