Inspiration can be found many places: long sandy beaches, beautiful sunsets, rugged hiking trails, beautiful waterfalls, and countless other places. While I enjoy spending time and seeking relaxation in all these places, I sometimes find myself distracted by sights, sounds, people, activities and various plans of the day. Too often I let busyness steal my peace and drown out quiet time, inspiration, and God’s voice.
I heard a voice recently. I woke around 3:00 a.m. and sensed it was a stirring and gentle awakening from the Lord, so I prayed, then paused. I often find that my ears are most attentive in the middle of the night when all is quiet, there are no other distractions, and nothing remains to check off my daily to-do list. As I waited in the darkness and silence, my little dog seemed to sense my unrest. She sighed and snuggled a little closer. She’s usually an avid barker- a nuisance, really. Birds, squirrels, the doorbell, people walking down the street, the vacuum, a sudden movement…Just about anything can start her barking, grumbling, and complaining. Not really sure why my mind chased that thought, but I heard myself asking “Mitzi, why do you bark so much?” She didn’t respond audibly, but immediately and clearly I heard “I just want to be heard.” No, I didn’t hallucinate and my dog isn’t particularly gifted, but at that moment, the phrase was as clear to me as the numbers on my bedside clock contrasted against the darkness of the night. “I just want to be heard.” The meaning of that simple phrase immediately unfolded like a Sunday school lesson right there in the middle of the night. God used that silly little encounter to bring to mind three distinct scriptures.
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. (Ps 32:3)
Medical and psychological research has shown that if anger, hurt, hostility, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness are buried, unspoken, and unresolved, they can cause multiple physical and emotional symptoms and serious health problems, as well as spiritual struggles. King David found healing in breaking the silence:
Ps 32: 5-7 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
The second scripture He brought to mind was Jeremiah 33:3:
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
“Call to me.” That could stir many different feelings and reactions. What does that stir in you: great relief or apprehension? Hope or doubt? To me it offers an answer and a hope: Healing, revelation, resolution, restoration. Great and unsearchable things. Truths, answers, solutions, comforts, reassurances. What do you need to ask? It says He will hear. He will answer.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. (Rev 12:11)
Someone needs to hear. Isn’t that part of the reason for a testimony? Earlier verse 10 states:
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.
Just as my dog barks to defend her territory or ward off intruders, we also need to speak against the enemy. We need to speak God’s truth and promises. We need to tell others about our hope and his faithfulness. The NKJV translates “They triumphed” as “They overcame.” I like that.
As I considered how much we have to share, as well as what we can learn from other people’s lives, experiences, mistakes, and victories, it reminded me of a necklace I bought a few years ago. When I saw and ordered the pendant, I had no idea how the chain looked. It’s bold and looks like it should be in a bad music video or cheap jewelry commercial. It’s rather ugly. It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s pretty complicated. But I love the pendant. It has a classic, vintage feel, an old fashion typewriter, and the words “tell your story.” Rather ironic the more I’ve thought about it: big, ugly, heavy, complicated. Sound familiar? We all have bits of our story that fit that description: big, ugly, heavy, complicated. But the pendant is beautiful and fits just right. So are our stories: beautiful and just the right fit for just the right person.
So, a few questions:
Do you want to be heard? (Sometimes, not so much.)
Do you need to be heard? (Many times, yes.)
Does someone need to hear what you have to say? (More often than you might think.)
What you have to say matters. Someone needs to hear it.
I know that can sound intimidating, overwhelming, or just plain scary. I attend a Friday bible study and was recently given a testimony worksheet. It basically asked:
- Before Christ I lived and thought this way:
- After I received Christ, these changes took place:
Before. After. Ultimately the basic question is this: Who are you? Really? Not who does the world say you are, what labels others have put on you, or what hat do you wear to cover yourself or impress people in different circumstances. At the end of the day, or at 3 in the morning, what do you hear. What do you need to say?
You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.
‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to
(Tenth Avenue North, You are More)