I’ve blogged on this subject before in different ways, but as faithfully as I add cream and sugar to my coffee every morning, the principles of what I am writing about, I add to my life almost daily, and I wanted to share them with you.
Life is 5% about what happens to you, and 95% about how you interpret what happened to you. (I just made up that statistic). Out of how you interpret the events of your life flow your actions. Your responses to life flow out of what you believe to be true about your circumstances, and what you believe to be true about the resources you have to overcome them.
Life happens. Daily. Events, story lines, tragedies, triumphs, and blank stares happen to us on a regular basis, and we are quickly swept up in the narratives. Without time to process or think through everything, we move ahead, or backwards in our lives in familiar directions for the sake of ease, and when we find ourselves stuck, or in a rut, or unable to move forward, this is where these three principles began to ask me questions.
In Genesis chapter 3:1-11 we read the story of the first sin. Adam and Eve, (who had every right to think to themselves, “We are the only ones here, what does it matter what we do? It’s not like we are hurting anyone.”) disobeyed God and ate from the tree he told them not to eat from. Up until this moment, their narratives of life were interpreted through the lens of a good God who spoke with them daily, walked with them, and taught them everything they needed to know. Their “Resource” for life was unlimited, so no challenge was to great, and no questions nagged as doubts, until the introduction of another “voice”–Satan himself.
The introduction of the voice of Satan now created a new line of thinking…doubts. Lots of them. That doubt led to action–the sin. That sin led to another voice–theirs, but not the voice they communicated with God with before that was full of trust, expectancy, and delight, but a new voice that looked at their nakedness, their insufficiencies, their guilt, and clothed them with shame. And so they hid.
Have you ever been there? Hiding?
You are no longer answering the phone calls, replying to the texts, showing up to events you are invited to, making excuses as to why you can’t “get together” with people, spending more time in bed and solitude than usual?
This is where the first question of God to Adam and Eve comes to rouse me. “Where are you?”
Stop and allow God to ask this question of you right now. “Where are you?” Are you hiding? Are you making excuses? Are you hedging, fudging, hinting but not communicating? Are you disconnecting? Are you reaching for an addiction to numb yourself?
When you have finally answered that question with, “I am hiding”, the second question comes to unravel the secret. “Who told you?”
God asks Adam and Eve “Who told you you were naked?”
You see, discerning the voices that drive our decisions is critical if we are going to come out of our hiding and into fellowship. “Who told you?” becomes the litmus test for truth, and gives us the ability to evaluate the voices and their validity in our lives. Even if the voice we are listening to has been in our head for years, (childhood memories, parents, school friends/foes, siblings), we still need to pull the narratives out into the light, and with them in full sight answer God’s question.
Once I have answered that question, I ask one final question of my narrative and situation, “Is this something God would say to me?” And if the answer is “no”, then I need to go to God to get His narrative. I go to scripture.
When I say I apply these principles almost daily, I am not exaggerating. It is something I have to make a part of my life to keep me moving in the direction of God’s goodness. It’s the means by which I access his reservoire of help and resource and hope for my life. It’s how I retrain my soul to hear His voice above all other voices, and make courageous decisions with His help. Faith comes by “hearing” His voice, and through the Word of God we “hear”. (Romans 10:17) Then faith is walked out by trusting that voice, and depending entirely upon His resources to take each step.
If you are in need of tools and life principles to help move you from a place of being stuck, I would like to offer these three questions to get you started. Make it a daily practice and begin to learn how to differentiate the “voices” in your head. What they tell you will determine your outlook, and your outlook will determine your actions.