Friday, September 2, 2011

Listening for Whispers

I’m shy when I am first getting to know people.

In groups where I am not completely comfortable and not sure if I will be accepted, I stay quiet for a long time; ever so slowly revealing my layers (girls are like an onion after all).

I’m the complete opposite as well.

When I am with people I feel most comfortable around, it seems I can’t shut up.

I tend to have this switch that says: “Ok, you’ve talked about yourself enough today. Time to shut up and ask the other person about their life.”

When I’m nervous or anxious, my words are few and far between. 

But my head… well it just never seems to shut up.

Some nights I lay in bed and I catch myself running down rabbit trials as fast as I possibly can, laying out every situation possible in front of me…

                                      What if this happens?

         What if I did this?
                                               Is this how it’s going to turn out?

                                Maybe I could Google it.

Then I get mad, tell myself to just shut up—go to sleep. No one has ever solved every problem or worry they have ever had, in the middle of the night... with Google.

I catch myself doing that in my prayer life a lot, ESPECIALLY when I’m anxious or nervous about something.

I am not a control freak. I will gladly let you be the decision maker. I am leader. I am a planner. But I do not like to be in control of it all. But I sure do like to act like it.

I should have been named Annie. Anxious Annie. (I refer to myself a lot this way on Monday’s. Monday’s make me anxious.)

When I’m being an Anxious Annie, I talk to God SO MUCH.

I get in the car and immediately start in with Him, usually before the car has even started:

“Ok, I don’t know what the heck is going on.”
“I could use a little direction.”
“Please help me see.”
“I just want You to show up and reassure me.” (This one is just great… cause He’s there already. Duh.)
“Did You say what I think You said? Cause I think You did, but I’m being a doubting Thomas and I just don’t know, so if You could just reassure me and tell me, that would be awesome. I mean you are GOD after all.”

 (Imagine me talking about 200 words per 30 second interval and you get the picture).

Side bar: I talk out loud in the car to God. While I’m driving. I am positive people think I have lost my mind.

Shockingly, the more I talk, the less I seem to hear. Yet even still, sometimes I think I just need to talk more. I mean, maybe He didn’t hear me the first time.

“‘Go out and stand before Me on the mountain,’ the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” 1 Kings 19:11-12

I miss the stars.

In downtown Chattanooga, you don’t see them like you can on the back porch of my parents house.

Every now and then, if you are far enough of way from all the street lights, in dark corner of this city I love so dearly, you get a good glimpse of them.

A couple of years ago I took a spontaneous trip to St. George Island in Florida with my college roommate and some friends. We went down to the beach late one night, just to walk around. It was so peaceful. The island was not at its peak of tourist season yet, and everything was just so calm that night. But what I remember most about that night is the stars. They came out in full force. On the middle of an island, on the beach, staring up into God’s glory… There was no mistaking how big He truly is. And just how small I actually am.

But here, at home, in Chattanooga… When I want to see the stars. I have to be very still and look very hard.

My “Anxious Annie” days are kind of like that.

God isn’t in MY words. God isn’t in my crazy rampant, “please hear me and answer me now” cries that I repeat over and over just in case. God isn’t in the noise and the lights and the ever so demanding craziness that seems to find us daily.

God is the quiet. He is the stillness. He’s in the “shut up and ask the other person how their day was”.

God passed by Elijah in the whisper. A gentle whisper. LOVE that. Gentle. My heart melts thinking about it.

God talks to me, God answers me, God calms my anxiety and my fear in the quiet.

When I close my eyes, and say.: “Ok. I’m done. You know my heart before I even say a word. You know I’m anxious. You saw what I just went through. You know how I feel and how lost I seem. You talk. I’m going to listen for the whisper” THAT is when God’s love just renders me weak in the knees.

After writing about patience, it got tested.

I started feeling anxious. I started worrying. I wanted something to happen now.

But I realized what I was doing.

I got on my knees and said this:
“You are God. I am me. I am small. You are so so big. I cannot. But You will. So speak to my heart. I want to hear You.”

And guess what?

I heard Him. I felt Him. Loud and clear.

He’s there. We just have to be quiet. We just have to be still. We just have to WANT to stop and listen. He’ll talk to you, if you let Him.

When you feel like an Anxious Annie, when you do find yourself in a day where you a Doubting Thomas (and trust me, it’s going to happen… if you’re like me… A LOT) here are some suggestions:

  • Find a friend or someone you trust and can hold you accountable. Tell them your fears. And then allow them to remind you: you are you, God is God.
  • Go for a walk and look at the stars if you can find them. Stay still and look really hard. They’re there. Even in Chattanooga.
  • Shut up. When we become anxious, we tell God we don’t trust Him to do it and we take the pen from His hand. Get quiet, get still, and listen.

“Give the pen back to God, Diana.”

And I did. And this morning, there was peace. And joy. Because He loves me. A lot. 

He is God. I am me.

I’m so much more comfortable with it that way.


  1. I LOVED this! Thank you for sharing. I am prone to being an Anxious Annie and can get stuck in my head some days trying to solve the 'problems'. I am getting better at going to Him when I start to worry and waiting for Him to answer. You are right there is so much joy and peace in that approach! I'm just praying I get better at it each day! :)

  2. Aray,

    Thanks so much for the comment! It's definitely a daily struggle.. that's why we're told to "pick up crosses daily." :) You're not alone that is for sure! Thanks for the encouragement.. its much appreciated!

  3. Hi, my name is Bekah and I'm stalking your blog today. Now that's out of the way...

    I've been holding back tears for the last few pages. I feel like you've crawled into my head and are so eloquently voicing my thoughts, fears, and feelings.

    I LOVE this: "God is the quiet. He is the stillness. He’s in the “shut up and ask the other person how their day was”.
    God passed by Elijah in the whisper. A gentle whisper. LOVE that. Gentle. My heart melts thinking about it."

    Reading this, I realize I've avoided that quiet for a while. For almost 3 months. That precious, sweet quiet is the balm to my battered soul. I know that in the quiet comes healing and I NEED it so desperately.

    Thank you, so much, for inspiring me to find that again. You are a kindred spirit.


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