The nature of things right now is tense. I have heard lots of people say things like “learning to live in the new normal”, “living in the tension”, and things like that. I get it. I think I’ve even said both of those in recent months.
It is hard to live with hope when everything around us is hard, negative, frustrating, new, different, unsure. I’m here to say, “I’m tired of it all as much as you are”.
I would say that I come across as positive, but behind closed doors or in my own head I am actually pretty negative. I am trying to be better though. I can also lean towards “it is what it is” as an easy default as well. Always finding the silver lining, the bright side or the blessing doesn’t come easy. I suppose that is one of the many reasons God gives me hearts. It causes me to physically stop and acknowledge hope.
How do we navigate such strenuous times without caving to the negativity? the hopelessness? the struggle?
I think we have to be extremely intentional.
It is easy to go with the flow of negativity. The easy thing to do is numb out on a hour long scroll session on facebook or instagram. (which seems to be the initial problem for most people) It is easier to get lost in article after article. We find comfort in knowing as much as we can. Some find a grip when we know all the facts, every possible outcome and are prepared for the worst. For others it is easier to introvert, hide away and just disconnect from life in general. It is easy to listen to the constant hum of opinions and completely drown out the voice of God.
Listening to the voice of God is not easy work. Really, listening to people is not easy work either. We have to spend intentional time with them, actually listen and be intent to understand. So, when it comes to listening to God, we must spend time with Him. (this would be time in His Word) We must learn his voice. You know how moms can pick their kid’s cry out of an entire room of kids? That is how we want to begin to be with the voice of God. We can know His voice and we can hear it above all the others. It just takes getting to know it.
John 10 speaks of this
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
When we learn His voice, we can be assured that His voice will prevail. It will begin to drown out the lies, the voice of the enemy and the doubts we tend to carry in our minds.
I hope that you will begin today to listen to the Father. Start by digging in to even just one scripture. Perhaps really read these verses above and journal what you are getting out of it, write down any questions you may have, what are the things that are confusing to you? Write down how this scripture makes you feel and what truths do you take from it that directly combat a lie that you are currently believing? The Word, God’s living and active voice, has the answer to your doubt, your problem, your struggle, your hopelessness. I promise that you will not walk away from being in the Word without encountering God himself. It may not feel or look like what you think it should, but do not let that hinder you or stop you from pressing in.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of it right now, turn off the noise and listen to your shepherd. Intentionally leave the phone in the other room while you spend time with your actual family. Turn off news notifications, turn off all notifications. Take time away from the rat race and receive Christ’s peace of mind. His peace in your mind is what walking through this season is going to take. Arm your mind, your heart and your body with His truth. If you walk into each day vulnerable and exposed, you will get eaten alive. The devil is smart and cunning. He will get right to you if you leave yourself open to it.
So, let’s do this together. Let’s commit to listening to the voice of truth, our loving and sovereign Father. We can depend on Him. We can trust Him. We can lean on Him. There is nothing that is happening in this world that He doesn’t know, understand or have dominion over. Worshiping and trusting in THAT kind of power is living in HOPE. We get to live in this hope, every single day; every single moment. Don’t keep going on day to day in your own negativity, but blast His love, promises and truth into your ears, your heart and into your mind. It makes a difference.