We must refuse to allow the loud voices
of a few
to drown out the soft voices
of teachable spirits.
Like the contemplative spirit that I am, I did a lot of prayerful musing and conversing with the Lord the past year. Like the teachable spirit I long to possess in increasing measure, I had plenty of opportunity to be, shall we say, further ‘softened’.
The effect of 2017’s softening culminated at year’s end with yet more of what matters – a resolute heart; which I liken to a firm cube of butter that holds its shape and form when it should, but just as easily melts when exposed to warm temperatures.
It annoys the heck out of me when I put a few too many seconds on the microwave and end up with a puddle of butter. That same melting effect works splendidly though on my thoughts and emotions when the Lord pushes the buttons on my sometimes Instapot-prone reactions and responses.
In case you haven’t considered or heard the term in a while, it’s called conviction. It’s a good thing.
I have learned over the years (and keep learning) that whenever there’s a rise going on inside me, there are things to which it behooves me to pay attention. I began to explore some of those ‘risings’ in more public detail through the Reflections of an Election Heart series following the 2016 presidential election. It seemed at times that all hell broke loose in the subsequent rocky year. Even now, the saga continues.
LIKE A WRECKING BALL
The week between Christmas and New Year’s involved a lighter client schedule and some physical labor long overdue in mucking out my office. I love how Holy Spirit uses whatever opportunity and activity we engage in that stems from a righteous heart – doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way. The way Jesus would approach it.
Case in point, I set out midweek like a wrecking ball to clean and re-organize my office. A few days later over the extended holiday weekend, Holy Spirit came in like a wrecking ball and a daily deluge of download took place, nearly nonstop. When it wasn’t deluging, I was soaking in it. One result is that this More of What Matters series was ignited.
I’d already announced I don’t make resolutions and had committed myself to a new coaching newsletter. It was in that first newsletter I posed a trio of questions about looking through the windowpane back at 2017 before stepping forward into the new year ahead. What was your greatest unexpected success last year? and What 2-3 steps could you take now so as to not miss that window of opportunity in 2018?
Holy Spirit used my own words to put my 2017 awareness to the test. Unlike some, I don’t believe or coach others in ditching the past and thinking it has nothing to do with the present. I had already personally proven that an ‘unfinished business’ kind of life produced being stuck and hindered the ability to live life forward in a healthy, intentional way instead of with a ball and chain of my own making.
How? From the years of listening to and allowing the loud voices to drown out the soft voices of a teachable spirit. The Voice I needed to hear and listen to the most was nearer than my next breath.
There were years I was not contemplative. Avoidant, yes. Interested in my interior, no. That all changed.
MORE OF WHAT MATTERS
Through Shammahs Field, multitudes have passed through our doors for counseling, my husband’s primary ministry call the past 17 years. I recently completed my sixth year of faith-based life coaching. Both of these people-based practices were entered into after 28 and 23 years respectively of prior livelihood in the public sector. What we learned in our ‘previous lives’ taught us much and provided a never-ending supply of lessons on human nature, including our own.
We have for years experienced the deep need for a resolute heart.
The deep need first surfaced in the earlier years of our four-decade plus marriage when it did not look like we would make it past year thirteen. There was only One who could form in us a resolute heart that would withstand the demand of others’ needs (beginning with our own) while remaining soft and teachable. We chose to be students of the soft and teachable in the face and noise of the loud. Often that face was in the mirror, and the noise of the loud rang in our own and each other’s ears. We didn’t like each other and eventually discovered we didn’t like ourselves either. We were at bottom looking up.
In worship of God’s mercy and grace, we still choose a resolute heart annually, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, and sometimes moment by moment. As we do, paying the price of less of us for more of the Lord, His strength has emerged. We are a strong tired.
Tired, because the weightiness of others’ needs and burdens take their toll (on top of our own!)
Strong, because we have asked and allowed the Lord to develop within each of us more of what matters – a resolute heart.
Resolute is not synonymous with perfection. But, it is aimed in the direction of the day we will be fully completed, not just provisionally through Christ’s sacrifice but also experientially through our personal identification with His life that gives life. It’s His life that enables within a resolute heart this side of the veil, the substance of which will remain.
The New Year’s weekend wrecking ball was, as I can best describe it, a knocking down of the things that threatened emotional overwhelm – at a personal, societal, and church/religious/spiritual level. A new bold strength rose up as strongly as 2017’s ‘risings’ that needed the melting touch of a teachable spirit.
The More of What Matters series is dedicated to carrying forward out of the rubbish of 2017 some of the Lord’s crystal clear truths that gleam brightly. Like the triumphant sparkler in the hand of one rising out of the deep waters where truth and treasure reside.
Diving deeper still in the wellspring of life ~