Gentle Whisper

ImageMy family and I have just finished a season of fasting, along with many of the people at Canvas Church. We commit 21 days every year to a time of prayer and fasting. Each year I am surprised and overwhelmed at how God shows up. Just one more reminder that God doesn’t live in my box of expectations. He is more wonderful and mysterious than my greatest imagination.

I will admit, I am so very glad to be drinking coffee again. It is the one thing I always fast because I don’t ever want to say, “I can’t live without it.” As you can see I survived but I am enjoying every delicious drop. The trick is to come back at it slowly, just one cup, otherwise I won’t sleep for a week. It is funny how one 8oz cup of coffee can have such a startling effect on me after only 3 short weeks of absence. I am an avid coffee drinker, 3 cups a day on average. But after a short break, stepping away and detoxing, its like being jolted with a defibrillator.

It is also a jolt to the system how loud everything is after a fast. The TV, the internet, the news, they all seem to be yelling and screaming at me. Everything is calling out for attention. Over here, over there, more information to fill up time and space in my life. During the regular coarse of life, I don’t think I notice so much. But, with a 21 day break, it’s like being struck with lightening and being asked to recover ever 15 seconds. Let me say this, my family didn’t do a huge media fast, we didn’t isolate ourselves or change all that much. We just spent more time with things off and more time engaged with each other, it was part of the commitment we had chosen to make during the fast.

All this jolting to my system is a bit overwhelming and has me thinking. How do we do it? How do we hear the small voice of God with everything yelling at us all the time? We are called to be out in the world, loving people, ministering, serving and praying. We can’t lock ourselves in our houses and never come out. Where is the discipling in that? If God speaks in the whispers, how do we hear him through all the noise?

I wonder about the tolerance, like with my cup of coffee. Today I will drink one cup. And maybe for a few weeks I will keep it to just one because I know it is what is best for me. But a month from now, 6 months from now, will I be drinking 3 cups a day again. Probably.

So, my question to you is…. How do we go from a time of reverence and drawing into God, a time of sacrifice and worship back to the “real world”? Sure, right now it is assaulting to the senses. But, a month from now, 6 months from now, how do we keep our focus and attention on the still small voice?

~Angela Stolpe

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9 thoughts on “Gentle Whisper

  1. Great post! I think one of the amazing things about the fast to me is when I realize that some thing are just better for me. Like, drinking only water, my mind knows it is better for me, and my body tells & shows me that it is better for me. So I say that from now on, water will be my primary beverage. Sure a coffee here and there, but mainly water. Well, the same thing applies to the spiritual side of the fast, we can learn through the fast what it better for our spiritual man and relationship with God by, in no better description, picking up habits. Think about it, if you were able and made time to do it during the fast, it applies when the fast is over as well. A commitment to seeking an audience with Him, staying in the Word, and having an open dialog through prayer and worship is part of focusing on that still small voice. Let’s not just look at what we are removing to stay the path, but what we are replacing it with that keeps us there. God Bless!

    1. I read this quote today “You’re one commitment away from achieving your goals.” ….. seems simple enough. Why is it so easy to get distracted? I think many of us start out with the best of intentions, truly desiring to seek God’s whispers, it’s keeping the commitment to what we know is best for us that is the hard part.

  2. Small voice… how interesting you use that analogy. I had a similar thought a few days ago… and was wondering if I could make it into a Video Blog somehow..The idea is God often communicates in small ways (or quiet ways relative to our daily life), and we need to consentrate in order to hear or understand it. I imagine a person addressing a crowd… or teacher addressing a classroom of unruley 7 year olds. If you concentrate, you can hear what the speaker / teacher is saying… but there is so much foreground noise… it’s easy to tune out. If I’m honest… that happens to me all the time. I wake up, and I honestly intend to keep listening… but the foreground noise creeps in and takes over.

    1. I often times find myself praying for Neon signs and the “big” voice of God because I don’t want to take the steps necessary to concentrate on seeking his whispers. A burning bush would be so much easier than the commitment to change my habits.

  3. Filtering out the “noise” of things that are now simply considered simply a part of life becomes more important yet more difficult as the time of the coming of our Lord is more imminent. I am a person who needs a lot of “down time” in order to process what the world throws at us every minute, daily. Since television was a part of my fast, I now see how the barrage from media was overtaking my life and plugging up my spiritual ears.

    Like many others, my concentration can so easily be broken. It’s almost like being shoved into ADD. I don’t want anything to come between me and God. Perhaps the best thing is to implement regular “mini-fasts” with whatever draws us away from having God in first place, to remind us where our priorities lie.

    1. I think you make an interesting point Denise. I often wonder though if our drawing into God becomes based simply on our rituals, doesn’t that cause us to live from fast to fast vs becoming seekers of God’s voice even in the chaos.

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