My experience growing up in the faith was both an incredible privilege and a source of unique challenges. I certainly had plenty of great, godly people to look up to in my formative years! But from a very young age I remember feeling confused, uncertain, and a little let down that I couldn’t seem to find a place where God taught me the kinds of lessons He doled out to others with such frequency and life-changing depth!
Prophets with visions, prophetesses with dreams. Scriptural revelations pouring from the page, bringing fresh perspectives to the bewildered and setting the captives free. Healings performed on our living room sofa. Words of knowledge and revelation spoken with conviction. These were all around me in my childhood, and my human nature tempted me deep into a place of self-deprecation when these experiences didn’t happen to me.
I know I’m not alone. I’ve spoken to so many people who see the spiritual experiences of others and wonder why God doesn’t talk to them or work through them like that. And these are not necessarily people who want fame or recognition for being a vessel of God’s holy spirit; more often, those I’ve spoken to personally have craved the depth of intimacy that comes from experiencing the co-laborer relationship with their Heavenly Father. There’s nothing like dancing that dance with Him. Nothing.
For many years, I did not think God spoke to me. At all. Prophetic workshops and manifestations at fellowship always ended up a dry well for me. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I finally realized God was speaking to me—just not how he was speaking to my heroes of the faith.
God speaks to me through writing and through conversation. He does this in ways I have never seen Him do with anyone else—and that’s not to say He doesn’t, but I want to call attention to the fact that we can get so focused on wishing God would speak to us in one particular capacity that we miss the myriad other ways He actually does.
I recently went through a struggle with a character in one of my novels; I’d spent a morning wrestling with her arc and finally gave up and stepped back. I knew I was missing something and I was too fed-up to make it work! So I went to work and sat down to write blogs, but when trying to think through what I would say to you wonderful people, God edged something else in there instead.
“Get ready,” He said. “I’m about to teach you the next big lesson through her.”
It’s hard to explain the emotions I felt at that clear word: my first thought was “Uh oh, oh boy,” because there’s always a feeling of inadequacy, that if God is going to give me a lesson to teach through a character, I’d better get it right! But quickly following on the heels of that was an overwhelming sense of excitement—and a warmth I can’t even describe.
Because after years and years of wishing and hoping God would speak to me like He did the “spiritual heavy-hitters” in my life, I’m finally figuring out how to be comfortable in my own ministry. To hear His voice and find His lessons in the places He gives them to me. Not through pictures or dreams, but through words and lessons on the page, in the characters He gave me.
Look closely at your life. Forsaking all the ways you WISH God might speak to you, look for how He already is. Are you an artist? Where are His lessons swirled among the watercolors, sketched in the lead, swept in the charcoal?
Are you a writer? Where do the words leap loud and vibrant off the page? Where does your mortal understanding suddenly become something more? Where did YOU learn a lesson as the letters dripped from your fingertips?
Are you a businesswoman? A realtor? A landscaper? A truck driver? What are you in the depths of your spirit? How is God speaking to you through that channel, through the threads of passion and purpose that make up who you are?
Because I promise you, He is speaking to you. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Every fiber of your being is a road through which His wonderful power is woven; and through each of those precious threads, His voice is resonating, His lessons and love resonating along the immaculate craftsmanship of your very essence.
Seek, brothers and sisters. Seek with your whole heart, and you will find Him there.