I've been straining to hear the voice of God since I was in middle school. I jokingly say straining, because I'm always "trying" to hear yet I am never quite sure whose voice I'm actually hearing. Is it God's, mine, my mom's, my best friend's…
And so I strain.
I love to look back at miracles in my life and remember those straining moments. Five, ten, fifteen years later, I know exactly which voice was His. No question. That conversation I was supposed to have. That relationship I needed to end. That trip I felt led to go on without the cash to pay for it.
God's voice seems so easy to decipher AFTER you take that step of faith. (Not helpful God!)
This week, I had one of those "Aha it WAS You!" moments.
About a month ago I had asked God to make something abundantly clear to me. I wanted to know if I was walking down the right road. After a year of making poor choices, I was scared of making yet another one.
I think that's what's irritating and wonderful about failure. You begin to question everything so that you don't repeat the mistake. You don't trust your gut. You don't trust common sense. You don't trust the voice inside that you have always relied on in the past.
I think it was Christmas Eve. I had one of those freak-out, don't-trust-my-gut, can't-hear-the-Lord moments.
See, I have this idea. This big idea that I think came from God, but I'm not sure. And, it sounds CRAZY to me. I was talking to someone on the phone about it and I kept saying, "This is crazy!" And he kept saying, "Yes, but this is awesome!" followed by several more, "This is crazy!" and "This is awesome!"
Those two phrases may have been repeated about 20 times in the course of 2 minutes. (A very productive conversation!)
While we were going back and forth, clear as day in my mind, I saw the word "JUMP."
God is that you? Are you SURE that's you? Am I going crazy talking about being crazy?
(Side note: this side conversation with God could have also been the reason I kept repeating myself over and over again in the "real life" phone conversation. Not a good multi-tasker.)
Yes. I think I heard Him clearly. God wants me to jump. Jump off this cliff and chase this idea.
Okay. This is totally crazy.
But, that night, before I went to sleep, I told God I would jump. I told Him I thought He was nuts (or I was nuts) but that I would trust Him. Oh, and that He was going to have confirm this crazy, potentially awesome idea.
Fast forward 4 weeks. I've been praying over this idea every day. Trusting the Lord despite my human, failed heart, that God knows what He's doing more that I know what I'm doing.
And, on an airplane to sin city, reading Mark Batterson's The Circle Maker, God spoke again. This time, it was that confirmation I had been praying for and you won't believe the words He used.
"As I sprinted toward the ten-thousand-foot drop-off, one thought kept repeating itself like a broken record: This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy! But it was quickly followed by, This is awesome, this is awesome, this is awesome!
We ran off the cliff and caught an updraft in our parachute. The next thing I knew we were sailing over the Sacred Valley at 14,000 feet. Despite the fact that I lost my lunch seven times in twenty minutes, paragliding ranks as one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I learned that if you aren't willing to put yourself in "this is crazy" situations, you'll never experience "this is awesome" moments. If you aren't willing to run off the cliff, you'll never learn to fly."
I couldn't believe my eyes. There was my answer and my charge.
The awesome thing about the voice of God is that you hear it when your heart is tuned to His. The sucky thing is that sometimes you don't hear it. Sometimes you try and try, you strain and strain, and even then… silence. I think in those moments God's giving you a choice. I think He's either saying, "You know exactly what to do" or He's saying, "You can't go wrong no matter what you do."
Through my failures and my victories, God's voice has been clear. I've either been too scared to trust it or too selfish to listen to it. Not this time. This time, I hear you loud and clear. 10-4 good buddy. I'm jumping, I'm trusting, I'm believing for the "this is awesome."