Newsflash- Life is tough. On any given day we are faced with situations that can take us on an emotional roller coaster. They may seem small in nature to those around you, but to you, the person in the middle of the fire, it seems huge. At times it may even feel like the walls are closing in. What are we called to do as men? Show no emotion. We should shove it down deep into our gut so no one notices. Do it all on our own. We don’t need no stinkin’ help. That sounds like the manly thing to do, right?!
Ok, maybe not. We are called to do life together and God has surrounded you with people who can help. Now instead of discussing what you should do, let’s focus more on what your mindset should be like in a difficult situation. Are you going to respond or react? Remember you always have a choice. To me responding requires thought. Typically, you pause before you say something, thinking about the ramifications of your words. Reacting usually involves more emotion, which can turn into a volcanic eruption when stress is involved.
Over time I have seen the benefits of responding to a situation versus reacting. I feel like I have wiser judgment and make better decisions. The people around me are more at ease as well, which builds trust. Often, when the situation deems it, I pray about it and ask God what He thinks. Yes, I pray and try to hear God’s voice. I go to quiet place and speak to Him. I listen intently for His voice, which usually comes in a whisper. I currently am reading a book by John Eldredge entitled “Walking with God” and I highly recommend it to everyone who has a desire to get in a closer relationship with the one who created us.
Hearing God’s Voice
Have you ever considered the situation that you are in and think about how God is involved? Guess what? He always is. When you feel like things can’t get any worse and you are headed for a mental and/or physical breakdown, you might be on the doorstep of a breakthrough so keep pushing. Believe that God has your back. He is allowing you to go through this season because you will be stronger on the other side of it. Remember that you are going “through it” which means you will not be left in the middle of the difficult situation. God will not leave you in the wilderness alone. The time will pass, and you will persevere with His strength.
The wilderness is not a place that any of us like to be in, but it plays an important role in developing our relationship with God. This is the place where our faith grows stronger and we rely on Him more. We fight battles and learn discipline. We gain perspective on life and God prepares us for the next step. In order to understand what His plans are, you need to be in communion with Him. That means finding a quiet spot daily that is free of distractions to pray and talk with God. He wants to speak with His children and communication is a two-way street. So, reach out to Him. He is always listening.
Like anything else we do in life, learning to hear God’s voice takes practice. If you can’t hear it maybe there is something in your life that is creating a void between you and God. Pray about it with someone you love and trust. I believe if you go to God with a humble and contrite heart, He will reveal it to you. When He does, ask for forgiveness and then wait for that cool feeling of His mercy rush over you. Once you are forgiven, throw it into the sea of forgetfulness and move on. His grace is enough.
Addition by Subtraction
Remember that the wilderness is a place where we grow, and God reveals His plan for us. This can be a season of pruning when He removed things from our lives. In John 15:2, it talks about the process of pruning branches to bear more fruit. This can be a painful, but necessary time in our lives. When you think that God is taking something away from your grasp, He is not punishing you. He is merely opening your hands to receive something better. God is unable to pour out his blessings to someone who has clenched fists.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”John 15:2, NASB
Let me leave you with this thought. “The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.” When you feel like you are headed for a breakdown, remember that you might be on the doorstep of a breakthrough. I believe following these steps will help:
- Pray- Be vulnerable and reach out to God.
- Pause- Be in a quiet place and listen intently for His voice.
- Prepare- Believe in the blessing before you get it.
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