In my personal faith pilgrimage, God has led me to some of the most incredible growth opportunities.  Many times, though, I have missed the chance to connect with God on a whole new level because I would run myself ragged thinking I was doing exactly what God was intending me to do (usually overextending myself), or I was simply seeking after the things of this world instead of focusing my eyes on God and His plan.  However, I have discovered, when I do overextend myself, God will begin giving me signals to slow me down and seek Him in that moment.  Some of these signals for me have been anxiety, stress, strained relationships, irritability, insomnia, conflict and the like.

One of the healthy ways I can gauge if I am listening to God is if He is leading me to connect with people.  I am an introvert by nature, so when I feel the desire to connect with others, it’s usually a God thing!  I often say, especially when I contact someone out of the blue, that when God prompts me to reach out to someone I no longer question whether it was God or not…I simply obey that prompting, contact the person, and some of the most amazing conversations and relationships have come out of a simple obedient act – listening for God’s promptings and acting upon them!

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Exodus 14:14 – The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

(Excerpt from when Moses (really God) parted the Red Sea in Exodus 14)

Can you imagine what the Israelites must have been thinking as they were wandering around the desert searching for the land that they had been led to believe was promised to them by God?  Have you ever been on a vacation as a kid (or adult for that matter) and you just kept thinking or verbalizing, “Are we there yet?”  Yeah, me too!  When our family heads up to Miracle Camp each year (several times in fact), the 3 hour trip can become mundane, you know, you just want to get out of the car and get to the final stop.  “How much longer”, is often uttered more than once – sometimes by the kids too!  Just like the Israelites, when we are on a journey it is easy to lose sight of the destination.

As the Israelites set up camp, Pharaoh approached to wipe them out – he had a change of heart and wanted to hunt them down!  God had led the Israelites to this point through Moses with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.  On a long journey and not sure what the next day held, they set up camp by the sea as Pharaoh and his army approached.  Even during their struggle and complaints about God and Moses leading them out to their certain death, God placed the pillar of fire between Pharaoh’s army and the Israelites to protect them.  His plan had not been revealed to them yet!  They cried out to Moses asking why he had led them away from Egypt (where they were slaves by the way) to their death in the wilderness.  Griping, complaining and scared, their sight had been taken off of their destination – the Promised Land – and their fear clouded their thoughts and minds.  But God had not even begun what He was planning to do!  He set a fierce wind against the sea, parting it and creating a dry land path for the Israelites to flee!  As the last Israelite crossed through the sea on dry land, God let the fury of the sea return to its place, wiping out the entire wicked Egyptian army!  The Israelites escaped certain death at the miraculous hand of God!  And yet, even though they witnessed such an amazing miracle, in the days and years to come, they would continue to cycle back through doubt and fear – kind of sounds like us doesn’t it?

How about you?  Are you listening for God’s little promptings and acting upon them?  Is God telling you to connect with a kid or adult that simply needs someone to love them in a healthy way?  Is God calling you to take steps of faith so that you will begin a journey of answering His call in your life!  However He chooses to lead us, God doesn’t always show us a huge sign or miracle to guide us as He did over and over on the Israelite journey, but He still does miracles all around us every day!  As you act upon those promptings God places in your heart you will begin to see His heart all around you and the miracle just may be YOU touching the life of someone else!  To hear Him, though, to know He has you in mind, you must find a way to be still, slow down a bit (or maybe a lot) and listen to what He is telling you – keep your eyes and heart wide open and God will find His way to guide your heart to be more like His!

 

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