Most of the time, I struggle with silence.
If I’m home by myself on a Saturday morning cleaning or folding laundry, I like to have music, or a movie, or podcast going. If I’m driving around town, it’s music, or an audiobook, or a podcast. My natural bent is not to welcome silence and stillness. After a long, stressful day, I want to watch a funny or adventurous movie with my husband. I don’t naturally enjoy the quiet.
But alas, He is changing me.
It started as a slightly desperate desire for stillness after a long, intense workday.
Then I read a book about prayer that calls me deeper into God’s Presence.
Then I began to pray for fresh desire for His words and thoughts, changing what I enjoy listening to.
And I discovered great delight in the quiet of solitude.
In the quiet, we are more likely to hear His words, from past study or something new.
In the unhurried, we create space to center our hearts on His nature, the fruit of His Spirit.
In moments of solitude, we can be our honest selves, laying out the day or details before Him.
We see this in the way Jesus chose to live, don’t we?
If you could hear the inside of my mind, you’d hear me daily thanking the Lord for my husband, our community, and His constant provision of food, home, and flat out help.
This Thanksgiving week, I find myself thanking God even more often for something else – His Spirit inside me.
Do you know this person of God? Who is He to you?
There are many perspectives, different and alike, about Holy Spirit out there:
“The Holy Spirit is neither a passive presence nor emotional excitement. The Holy Spirit comes from God’s presence, but he is not God’s pervading divine fog floating over the world. The Holy Spirit is a person, separate and distinct from whom Christians identify as God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ.” Tim Burns
“The Holy Spirit is the Spirit set apart, belonging to God. He is God’s power and presence among his people.” Kevin DeYoung
“The Spirit’s all-consuming passion is to exalt Christ to the end of the earth.” John Piper
“The Holy Spirit is God living inside of us.” Chase Culbertson
“Jesus promised a Helper of the same kind rather than of a different kind. The Spirit is the parakletos, the one who comes alongside. Jesus said He would “be with you forever … he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). In other words, His ministry is both permanent and personal.” Alistair Begg
Graciously, I have always believed in the Holy Spirit of the Bible. What I found in recent years, even recent months, is how much I was NOT depending on and interacting with Him as a real person.
Let me say loudly: there is a vast difference.
There is a difference between knowing things about this person of the Trinity, and engaging with Him personally.
- The grace and glory of God is stunning.
- Believing the Bible as light and nourishment is the only way to truly flourish in life.
- There is never any condemnation for those in Jesus Christ.
In my years of not only knowing facts about God and the Bible, but experiencing them for myself, in the roller-coaster-way life can be, I learn and relearn things like it’s my job.
And I read “grace upon grace.” The beauty and severity and AMAZINGNESS of that reality. Amen?
Since this blog has become a place to tease these things out, here we go…
The grace and glory of God is stunning.
“Often when we become familiar with things, we begin to take them for granted. When we are familiar with things, we tend to quit examining them… Familiarity tends to rob us of our wonder. And here’s what’s important about this: what has captured the wonder of our hearts will control the way we live.” Paul David Tripp, Come, Let Us Adore Him
My friend Ashton and I talk about this sometimes — how growing up in families that love God, being active in church, and learning the Bible even at school are great gifts. They also make us [graciously] repellant to the idea of becoming numb to the gospel.
Earlier this year I had one of those “God, I am desperate for more of You, exhausted and broken by how I was carrying on in life. Please straighten what is crooked in my heart and mind, please tear down so You can rebuild the framework of my belief in You” seasons. (At the time, the pages of my journal were strewn with messy phrases, tears, and jumbled up processing.)