Tag Archive | Personal

Are You Hearing Voices?

I’ve gotten out of the habit of hearing His voice.

I have some questions here;

First of all – Who is “He”?

Nehemiah 9:6 from the Holy Bible says this; “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

If that’s the case, and I believe it is, then that is a voice I really want to hear!

Why do I want to hear His voice?

Beginning to hearing His voice, for me anyway, began with an intense longing inside of me to find out what more there could possibly be to my life.

You know, the life that goes through the same cycles of disbelief, low self esteem, caring so much what others think, at my own expense.

Expensive, because the voices I was hearing were telling me just how worthless I was. I had a longing to hear just one good thing about myself that I could hang my hat on. Something I could believe and hold on to.

That longing wanted to know who I was; all the while knowing that I could believe a lie, just as easily as I could believe the truth.

To avoid the lie, I had to find the right voice. There are cacophonies of voices out there just trying to be heard. Which one is the right one?

I believe it’s the maker of heaven and earth!

How do you hear His voice in the first place?

In order to sort through that longing, there has to be quiet.

Now MY quiet, will likely be different than yours.

When I want to get to this place of hearing, I require three things.

  1. Absolute quiet.
  2. My Bible.  
  3. A pad of paper and a writing utensil.

The absolute quiet is to get my mind off of everything that distracts. Even lovely music can be distracting. (I’m finding that now even while writing this)

I need my Bible. It has a great concordance (an alphabetical list of the words present in a text, usually with citations of the passages concerned.) in the back, so I can look up scripture by words or topics. I can search out any topic that is on my heart.

Then I can meditate on this word.

This meditation is not the same as emptying the space between my ears. Instead, it fills up all the empty space inside, by telling me the truth; about me, about God, about my life; past, present and future.

The pad of paper? My brain is notorious for running me off in a different direction while I’m trying to concentrate on being quiet. Anything that pops into my head and interrupts gets written down.

It’s safe on that paper, I won’t forget. I’ll pick it up later.

It’s calming, when you know you won’t forget every little nuance at it passes by your brain.

How do you continue to hear His voice?

I hear his voice by being quiet enough to let the words I’ve read roll around in my heart and mind.

I let them roll until they make sense. Until they become real to me.

I really dislike the way the word meditation is used in some forums. I’m speaking of the meditation on God’s word, and what it means to me. Not meditation that is emptying my mind. That is a whole different thing.

Instead, I prefer a meditation that asks; What do these words say? What do they mean to me? How can I put them into practice?

Once you have hear His voice, you will recognize it when you hear it again. John 10:27 says clearly; My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Wow. He knows me – I want to know His voice!

How do you get back to it again after being away?

The dangerous part is in the drifting away. You release the habit for a day, and then a week, and then a month. No big, drastic changes.

You still hear His voice. But here’s the catch; after a month, the voice gets quieter, and you realize (maybe) that you have been going on memory, and that you haven’t “heard” anything new for quite some time.

Memory, like muscles, can get flat after periods of not being used.

Notice, the first thing I said was that it is a habit. It is most definitely a habit.

The first step to take is to get back to your DAILY reading. It need not be chapter upon chapter. Just a few paragraphs maybe.

We used to have a pastor who told us to “Read till you burn.” That sounds funny coming from a pastor, whose job is to insure that you don’t burn 🙂

But what he was trying to tell us, was that we needed to read the word until something came alive in our heart; until our heart caught that spark.

When that happens – You’re hearing God’s voice. He is speaking to you.

I’ve read the same thing several times over my lifetime, and then one time I will read it, and it is like the words jumped right off the page.

They bring something to life in me. They spark a realization in me about _________________! Whatever it is I’m reading about.

When I begin to roll those verses around in my heart and mind, they become a part of me. My soul and my spirit; my insides; are renewed. I can see an action that needs to be taken, or a mind set that needs to be tweeked.

James 1:22-25 (ICB) says this; Do what God’s teaching says; do not just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. A person who hears God’s teaching and does nothing is like a man looking in a mirror. He sees his face, then goes away and quickly forgets what he looked like. But the truly happy person is the one who carefully studies God’s perfect law that makes people free. He continues to study it. He listens to God’s teaching and does not forget what he heard. Then he obeys what God’s teaching says. When he does this, it makes him happy.

This quiet time, this hearing His voice; it gives me peace, and it carries with me throughout my days.

It makes it so that even the harshest of circumstances can be faced with some sort of calm, peace and joy.

Quiet Amidst the Chaos

April is spelled c-h-a-o-s in our house. Controlled chaos, but chaos none the less.

Rebuilding Together Muscatine County is the non-profit my husband began twelve years ago in our county.

In April, it is in full swing; rehabilitating homes for those in need. Ten projects in all just for this month. Changing the lives of folks who otherwise would have fallen through the cracks.

It is a wonderful kind of busy; but the grass still grows, and other household chores don’t just disappear.

Then we add the seven grandchildren and all of their Spring programs. Since we try to support them in all of their doings, there aren’t many blank spaces left on the calendar.

April is full of preparations for beginnings and endings; school years, graduations, summer sports, and conferences in other towns to plan for the future.

My April, is not unlike your April. The sub titles are just different.

So. How does one keep their thoughts straight, schedules in line, and their brains in tact?

I’m not sure how you handle all of this, but I can try to share a trick or five that I have found helpful.

Make a list

A week before, the night before, or the morning of. Having a list of things that need to be accomplished is most helpful. This will help you keep on track.

Referring to that list, keeps those things from jumbling around in your head, and lets you know when you’re veering off track. It helps to keep your mind quiet.

Use that note taking feature on your phone or other device. When you’re out and about, jot those reminders down so you won’t forget.

NEVER trust yourself when you say “Oh there’s no way I can forget that!”

Best use of your time

Each one of us have a time of day that works best for us. If I make appointments in the morning, then when I get back, it is a real fight to get my thinking turned on.

Do you do better with the thinking things in the morning, and the physical tasks later in the day? Before you eat? After you exercise? At midnight or at daybreak?

There are as many answers to that question as there are people. Find out the answer that best fits you, an stick with it.

Get help

It is not weakness to get help. In fact, it will make you stronger.

Each of us is simply better at different things.

Are you good at making that sign you need for your upcoming project, or does it take all of your strength and several days for this task?

Enlist the help of someone who loves doing it. Your strength will be saved, and your project will turn out better than you could have imagined.

Energy, frustration and brain cells saved. Leaving you with what you need for the next task.

Take time for yourself

I call this Quietude, or quiet time. Some call it Me Time. Call it whatever you like, but make time for it.

Quiet time energizes me, and helps my insides to remain calm no matter how busy the days become.

Some ideas for quiet time;

  • A soft chair, a clean window and a hot cup of coffee. This is my favorite.
  • Low light or natural light, either works
  • Soft instrumental music in the back ground.
  • Add a book to read, or a journal to write in.
  • Sometimes, only the first one. Taking time to just BE.

For some, the thought of all that silence is terrifying. They energize in an entirely different way.

Some ideas for them may be;

  • A short walk
  • A lively conversation with a friend
  • Group sports
  • Energetic music
  • Can you think of more? (Please share)

You may enjoy either one of these, or you may be somewhere in the middle. You might even be something totally different. (If that’s you, I’d love to know what it is that helps you.)

The point is – Take care of yourself! Take three minutes if that is all you have. Twenty if you’ve got it. More time if you can find it.

It may turn out to be several times a day in smaller increments. Whatever.

Know when to say when

If we allow ourselves to drain, we have nothing left and will only be miserable. We’ll feel guilt for all the things we do not have the energy to do.

If we take care of ourselves, then we can take care of others. We can then do all of our activities with a certain amount of peace inside.

When your mind and body say no more; you may have to make some difficult decisions. Decisions that will protect you later on.

Decide to give yourself time to recharge, whatever that looks like. Decide, and stick with it.

There may be fingers coming underneath that bathroom door – but take that time anyway – You’ll be happy that you did.

Introverted Observations

Tis the Season

Tis the season coming up quickly for proms, and graduations and for moving into adulthood.

It’s a time of being with friends and family in a whole new way.

The parameters have opened up, and many are just not certain what is next. It’s a rite of passage I suppose.

The anxiety. The uncertainty. The clueless-ness.

I’ve been to several events in the past couple of months. Band concerts, chorus concerts, and the like.

The difference is that for two of my grand children, these events carried the distinct designation of “Last”.

The culmination of 13 years of schooling. 13 years of always knowing (mostly) what comes next.

A New Designation

Along with the “Last” designation, comes a new one as well. “First”.

The “First” time of being really responsible, entirely, (mostly) for what comes next.

But that topic is for another time.

Here I wanted to share what I’ve observed during these “Last” times.

I’ll share it here with just a snippet of what I wrote in my journal.

Journal Entry

Being so much of an introvert is OK, except for at those over the top social events. You know, the ones that are supposed to elicit great shows of emotions.

When you are an introvert, not so many people flock to your good bye. Not so many are devastated by your departure.

Your family celebrates you, and at the same time, they mourn your advancement into a new place of life, away from them … but you? You kind of fade into it. Quietly dismissing yourself, and making your way back to the safety zone that you have created for yourself.

It is a sad thing perhaps, but maybe hard to remember, at that moment, that it is a world you have created for yourself. A safe place.

Why Was it Visible?

I noticed this occurrence taking place in quiet corners in more than one school district. In more than one cafeteria, and at more than one event.

Those who were more extroverted, and were able to wear their emotions on their sleeves for all to see.

Those who were more introverted, put on a brave front, appearing to be OK, yet their smiles, never really reached their eyes.

Then, sadly, oh so sadly, I saw (felt) those who simply gave up trying to put on the act, not having the energy to fake it even one more time.

The extroverts, wondering why they are so emotional.

The introverts wondering if they could attempt to fit in just one more time.

The others, biding their time until they could escape to their own comfortable nests.

I saw this. I knew this. I felt this. Again.

It took me until I was full grown adult to realize that I was just wired that way. Quieter.

The noisy, raucous kid me, was all an act. A protection racket for the part of me that I saw as flawed

My quiet side has kept me sane, but at times it has also kept me alone.

What to Do?

The sadness I felt back then, can still be accessed by me, but it does not have to be. It no longer rules my life.

And still, when confronted by this, when I see this in my vision, when I feel this in my soul, when I see the struggle going on in front of me, I do not know what to do.

Telling them that everything will be OK, will not make it so. Only life itself, lived on one day at a time, can do that.

But the quiet part of me still seeks another answer. One that can help the loneliness subside, or at least to feel tolerable. Sooner rather than later.

Until then, if you see yourself in this narrative, please know;

You are wired a different way. A special way.


You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalms 139:14

Whisper

The world we live in, will not just give us a quiet place.

We must find it, or create if for ourselves.

So if that is what you need, I’d like to help you with that.

A tiny slice of quiet time, just for you.

Any time, day or night. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you.

 

 

 

 

Quiet Time Musings

This week has been a breakthrough week in my mind.

Making a quality decision  to not ignore quiet time, and to put that time to better use.

By putting it to better use in this instance means to to use that time to create my own thoughts, consider my own beliefs, understand what things I think and why.

I can always find time to read someone elses words. I’m not saying that that is wrong, certainly not, because it does help to create questions for further thinking in my mind. I’m only saying that I need to find out what I, myself think about things.

One of my favorite/best ways to get my thinking to get moving, is to read scripture. It creates many questions, and answers many as well.

The place I landed in my thinking was about space. Quiet space. Loud space. Crampy space. Spacious space.

I then looked up my favorite verses about space, and realized yet again, why I love living where I live.

I grew up in a larger city forty miles north of here. Houses. Streets. Voices. Traffic.

White houses out my window in rows. Utility poles breaking every small stretch of sky.

Someone elses noise always, always, always filling my head.

Some people, and their different personalities, thrive on just such environments. I however did not. I always wanted to be out. Some place green. Some place that I didn’t feel smothered.

My Grampas’ house was like that, but as a child, not very accessible.

Psalm 31:8b (ESV) You have set my feet in a broad place.

Then we moved here. My children called it Podunk. It isn’t really. Podunk, to me, would be much further than the few miles we travel from here to get to town.

Psalm 18:19 (ESV) He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued  me, because he delighted in me.

It is close enough to be close, and far enough to be far. Away from the hum of the city.

I knew I always wanted to be where I didn’t see only rows of white houses, and poles scratching at the sky. I just did not know how much. Nowadays, a trip to town quickly makes me want to return home.

It was very difficult to find quiet space back then, and it often involved a camping trip, or a car ride to a empty country road. Not impossible, but often difficult.

I am positive that living here, has saved my sanity. I have now spent almost exactly half of my life here; and I’m grateful. I am grateful for the overstuffed chair, that sits by the window, and looks out over a really broad space.

2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV) Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Maybe to you this does not sound like a gift; Your personality prefers the hum of activity.

Psalms 139:13 -14a For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

(He knows how He made you – He will show you another way)
Maybe you are here just wondering when your gift will arrive; You’ve been waiting and praying.

Matthew 6:8…. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

(Hang on!)

Questions to consider;

  • Does my quiet time require total silence, or maybe some music or other ambient noise?
  • Do I require quiet EVERY day? Every week? More than once a day?
  • Does my quiet time involve time together, alone, with someone else?
  • Does it contain devotions? Book reading? Bible reading? Audio reading? A quiet video? Or just staring out the window – at my street, or at my space?
  • Does my quiet time release me from the stress and pressure of the daily grind?

Please feel free to leave a response in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

 

⇓ Click Here ⇓

Enjoy some quiet. It’s Under the Hill.

29jan2017

 

 

 

 

 

The Value of Quiet

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As much as Time as I spend thinking about and talking about the value of quiet time, I have realized that recently, circumstances, or at least my view of them, have kept me from that much needed space of quiet.

Experience has shown me that if I stay away from practicing quietude for too long, it is increasingly difficult to get back into it. Only over time does the value of it begin to appear evident again.

Without quiet, and by that I mean quality quiet, there is just no space for new thoughts, or old thoughts, and sometimes for any thoughts. A classic over thinker, my husband is curious how one can go without thinking.

Not thinking, can be restful, but over time, it becomes a trap. Not thinking, muddles our minds over time. The trap is like serious brain fog for the thinking that we should be doing.

Last week I had to make a quality decision. That decision was not to ignore my quiet time for any reason; real or imagined. My mind, needs some serious un-muddling.

Until today, the thoughts have not been filing in very quickly. Today was a breakthrough day.

For my next post I’ll share some of those thoughts, but for this one, I’d like to ask you a question, or four, about yourself.

  • Over thinker or under thinker?
  • Do you know how much quiet time do YOU require?
  • Do you allow yourself that bit of quiet to sort things out?
  • What happens when you do/don’t?

I’d love to hear your reply. Please leave your answers in the comments.

Until next time – catch up on some Quietude.

 

 

 

 

Choices; Useful or Not?

 

 

 

There is a limb, a little one, shaped like a Shepard’s crook.

It hangs upside down, broken off the tree.

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This is the end of the second year it’s been there.

Hanging upside down. Broken. Yet hanging on through every season. Through the calm, and through he storm.

If in the Spring, I rescue it, I’ll never know how long it could have held on.

What would it mean if I left it there? Just to watch it?

Would it serve a purpose , or only be a image of something lonely, broken, and serving no purpose at all? Useless.

If I take it down, it could be used for kindling for a fire, or be reused as in some sort of house decor.

So the choices are; leave it or rescue it, knowing it’s purpose is over, or re-purpose it.

It rather reminds me of a broken life.

I know that personally I have held on to many of the broken parts of my life for far to long.

Many times, because it was the right thing to do, and others because I was too afraid to let go.

At least in the brokenness I knew what to expect. May I just say though, that when I let God my savior rescue me, my purpose became more clear?

Some of those broken things were ready to be disposed of, while others, were re-purposed into things that were useful both for myself and others.

Some of those broken things became the most beautiful treasures in my life. 

I only needed to be quiet long enough to “Hear His voice”. It speaks loudly on the inside, when I take the time to calm myself.

How about you?

What parts of you are “broken”?

Do they need to be let go of, or can they be re-purposed into a beautiful treasure?

I encourage you to take a few moments to quiet your heart and mind; you may be surprised to see the outcome.

You may find some help attaining some quiet by visiting here.

Be sure and let me know how you do!