“And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.”
1 Samuel 3: 10 KJV
When I was a child, God was this person that everyone around me prayed to. As most Christian children are told, we should pray to God but never quite knowing why or who this person was. I had my first personal encounter with God when I was 19 years old. I remember having dreams of a voice calling to me; the voice was always quiet but somehow powerful enough to take up the space all around me. It happened a few times enough that I was nervous and shared with my mom. That first exposure to God was the first of many personal interactions with God. But like many people who hears God’s voice for the first time, I felt that I was not ready because of all the things in my past that I was sure to be punished for. I tried to stay put but I must admit that I got scared. And when things started falling apart in my life, well the newest member in my life who was supposed to be powerful was most definitely to blame for it.But like many people who hears God’s voice for the first time, I felt that I was not ready Click To Tweet
I ran from God for a few years. I was sure that He had forgotten about me because I felt that I was never hearing from Him. I went back and forth with reading and praying, but altogether avoided going to church. About two years, His presence started becoming stronger in my life. I started feeling closer to Him, but I could never figure out why. I still felt that He had not been talking to me, but more and more I felt the need to start praying more, to become stricter about reading the Word, and finally to incorporate fasting in my life. I still felt that He was not talking to me, but I found myself feeling burdened by certain things; I started feeling like a weight was just laying on me, sometimes I felt like I was being followed around by certain topics.
I finally began sharing with two of my close friends who were closer to God. They finally identified that God had been talking to me. There were many times where that realization was overwhelming for me. He valued me enough to communicate with me, but then I was terrified of Him punishing me for past sins, and I was also worried about what He would start asking me to do. I tried to work through my fears and talk with Him about how I was feeling since I knew He already knew, but it felt good to voluntarily share things with Him. Working through fear began a relationship that I realized had been present all along, I just did not pay attention before.
Why Do We Run From God?
Does any of this story sound familiar to anyone? I am sure that God is trying to talk to many of us, but we are either too scared of what that could mean, fearful of punishment and judgment, fearful of how our lives may change if we submit to Him, and fearful of leaving our comfort zones. When I reflect back on the times when I felt that He was being absent in my life, I felt judged, alone, and unworthy. I listened to people talk about how He was talking to them – and one can never be truly sure if everyone who says this is telling the truth – but it made me feel like I had been left alone. I am thankful now for those times because I can recognize the feeling of when He is near to me. I am most grateful that He chose to return His voice to my life. I did not realize how lost I felt when I went from feeling that I got a special call from Him to not hearing anything from Him.
Many people long for this feeling, long to be included in God’s family, I know that I did. I began to understand that His goal is to change us from inside out so that He creates lasting changes in us in molding us to become Christlike. Now, this is not always a pretty process, especially when the things we hide in our hearts are considered.
But now as a parent myself, I can see the similarities in the ways He communicates with me. I finally began to understand why everyone refers to Him as a parent (Father). As a therapist, I also learnt that for changes to be lasting and profound, it must come from within. We must change our thoughts and perceptions first, this in turn affects our emotions, which then filters down to our behaviors. God knew this when He created us, which is why He takes the time to build from within when healing us. From a therapeutic point a view, many of us bury who we are and the parts of us that are painful which stops the healing process; we cannot heal what we don’t acknowledge. This is why God forces us to confront our pains and worse traumas, not to punish us, but to heal us.I learnt that because God knows our individual pains, He speaks to us in individual ways. Click To Tweet
As I grew personally and professionally, I began to see so many similarities between the spiritual life and the mental life. I began to understand how much I had been minimizing God’s wisdom and clarity and projecting my own fears onto Him. I learnt that because God knows our individual pains, He speaks to us in individual ways. No two people will have the exact same experiences with God because He truly sees us as who we are. For those of you who are working through some of these issues in your lives, I encourage you to open yourselves up, be willing to hold courage along with the fear, and let God do the rest. You will be surprised by the things He can and will do.