Listening for the Voice of Hope

I’m honored to participate in our pastor’s current sermon series, “Beating the Blues” as a guest writer. Here is the first of three installments:

 —

I’ve found myself here again. My GPS had shown exactly where to go and how to get there, but my internal compass didn’t follow those directions and instead drove the regular route it was comfortable with. Familiar with. The route that where the roads are wore down I just seem to travel on auto-pilot. And I find myself stuck in a dead-end, face-to-face with Inadequate.

Again.

Inadequate is a large, looming shadow that covers every bit of light around me. It’s not loud — in fact it barely whispers because it doesn’t have to be loud. I’m loud enough for the both of us. All it has to do is whisper ever-so-softly and the next thing I know I’m turning off the ignition and climbing out of the car and shouting what the whisperer tells me,

There’s someone who could love my husband better. My kids deserve a mom who’s more…more everything. I’m a terrible manager of my home and a worse procrastinator when it comes to home-managing details. I haven’t dusted our blinds…in the whole house…in the year and a half we’ve lived here and I’ve never once made a scrapbook. I make really boring meals and I am beyond unhappy with myself and would rather hide out at home most days than go in public feeling as less-than as I do. There are brilliant writers out there, so what on earth am I trying to do?? And worse — the absolute worst of all — is that I fear the person I sometimes see in my mind’s eye…that person God shows me glimpses of from time to time…I’m afraid she will never come to fruition because she’s on the route I just can’t ever seem to make it to. Instead I keep running into Inadequate. And I never know how I got here.

Hear my heart, please — this is not fishing for compliments or trying to come across as self-deprecating or falsely humble. It’s simply gut-level honesty. It’s a bit of a crippling season and I’m worried I’m about to crash and burn and total myself and total the car. And perhaps total those around me. But I doubt I could ever total that stinkin’ shadow.

So this is where I sit and wait. This dead-end where the brick walls fence me in on all sides and the shadow taunts me without a word. This is where I surf the web and check and recheck email just waiting on God to intervene. To send a word. Encouragement. Confirmation. Something.

This is where I stop and listen for that Voice to bring hope.

And I wait. And I sit there.

And wait some more.

And then, right there on Facebook, the Word comes directly to me from a trusted friend:

“Be still and know Him.”

And tears fall and I cry and then laugh through my tears and the new mascara I bought isn‘t waterproof so now I have an ugly mess on my hands. Literally.

Because of course the Voice is telling me to be still. Those have been My Words for this season. Those are literally The Words confirming part of My Immediate Future. Those words — they are my phone lock-screen wallpaper.

Those words are a reminder that I can’t do this — any of this — without making time to be still first. Without stillness I’m a terrible wife, an impatient mother, a boring cook, a self-loathing nightmare and completely and totally inadequate.

In all the striving for adequacy, I’ve forgotten to take time to simply be and to be still. In the painful stretching to try and fill a void that’s not mine to fill, I have forgotten to stop trying and just focus on being. And that’s how I found myself face-to-face with Inadequate. I didn’t take time to be still and know Him before I ever got in the car. (<= click to tweet)

Be.

“Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” (Psalm 46:10, MSG)

“Let BE and BE still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10, AMP)

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4 thoughts on “Listening for the Voice of Hope

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Blog Posts of the Week! - Cheri Gregory
  2. His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. His grace is sufficient. If we are always looking at ourselves, then we lose focus as to whom we should be looking to; the author and finisher of our faith. Loving yourself in the way God sees you, as one covered with the blood of His Son; covering all our imperfections.

  3. Why is this all so hard?!?!?! I struggle with “Be Still” all the time, even more so with little one around. As always, thank you for the reminders.

  4. I’m “loud enough for the both of us”, too. Right there with you. It’s gruesome how quickly we concur with the lies our inadequacies tell us about ourselves. Ugh! Loved the Message’s version of Psalm 46:10!

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