Week 26: sometimes it’s time to stop

The next conference. The next altar call. The next church or prayer service. The next revival meeting. The next house of prayer set. The next sermon. The next book. The next revelation. The next breakthrough. The next experience. The next prophecy. The next word from God.

I know someone will be able to relate. I grew up in an environment where this is what many Christians sought (and still seek). For a time, I was one of them. “If only I go here or do this or get prayed for by this person or hear this speaker or read this book or get this revelation or this prophecy or have this experience or healing or breakthrough, then I’ll be okay. Then I’ll have gotten it…”

But when I didn’t get it, when I didn’t feel it or experience it (which was honestly most of the time), I was usually left feeling empty and frustrated and discouraged and disappointed. “What did I do wrong? What is wrong with me? Why did everyone else seem to get something I didn’t?”

“Have more faith! Just believe!” As if there’s a spiritual magic wand to be waved. Spoiler alert: there isn’t.

While everyone else seemed to jump around and sing (or loudly speak in tongues), I noticed that I encountered God the most when I’d just sit, close my eyes, and be silent. It doesn’t have to look like everyone else.

I’ll be honest here. I get so uncomfortable when someone tells you (not asks, mind you, tells) to “Raise your hands! Make a loud noise unto the Lord!” (Embarrassingly, I admit, sometimes I’ve faked it). I feel a stone in my stomach and I nearly seize up. Sure, some of this is due to personal issues, but I bet I’m not the only one who has felt this way. Or maybe I am.

Jump higher. Sing louder. Pray harder. Memorize more scripture. Go to church, and the house of prayer, for extra. Listen to this pastor or speaker and read their book. Do what they say and you’ll have it!

To be clear, I believe many of these are good and beneficial and even necessary at different times of our journey. But sometimes, for some of us, the best thing we can do—is stop. Just, stop. (I promise, you’ll know it in your gut when it’s time). The best thing some of us can do is turn it off, let it go, step away, turn inward, and go to the One we really need, in solitude and silence, away from all the noise. This is where we’ll receive what we really need. What nothing and no one else can give us.

It’s okay if your experience is different than everyone else’s. It’s okay if you don’t look like the person next to you. Don’t judge your neighbor’s expression or experience; and please, I beg you, do not judge your own by that of others. You are not them; they are not you. It’s between them and God. And it’s between you and God.

There is no spiritual pressure and expectation when you have such a perfect, good, understanding, loving Father. Be as gracious and patient with yourself—and with others—as He is with you.

Hundreds of sick people were lying there on the porches…all of them waiting for their healing…Jesus said to him, “Do you truly long to be healed?…Stand up! Pick up your sleeping mat and you will walk!” Immediately he stood up—he was healed!…“It was Jesus who healed me!” – John 5

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