I’m Listening

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Proverbs 3:6 (MSG) 

Tuesday.

I really didn’t want to get up that early. And I really really didn’t want to drive that far. And I really, really, really had a whole list of things to do that day already.

But the email had come in that previous Friday, and while I had never been able to accept an invitation, this was one I could actually make.

I knew I would have to go alone, everyone else would be working on a Tuesday morning.

However, this little part of me knew, I needed to be there. I wasn’t sure why. I could do homework, get my errands done early, send emails… do homework…

But I woke up at 5:30 Tuesday morning to make sure I could get Reyna out and comfortable. I dressed and gathered everything I would need for afterwards, when I started running all my “actual” errands.

The whole time the thoughts of “do you really want to do this” came into my mind followed by a quick rebuttal of, “I need to go.”

To be honest, I knew I wanted to go. But did I really need to go? Was it really worth the time I would be setting aside? … I mean I could worship here at home while listening to the Radio or Spotify….

Go. 

Okay, I am going.

In rush hour traffic down 71-S I almost turned around, “I’ll never get there in time.”

Keep going.

Okay, I am going.

And I arrived at 104.9 The River Radio station seven minutes early.

The invitation had been to a small, early morning concert featuring Chris McClarney and Pancakes provided by Chris Cakes (side note- I am not sure what or who Chris Cakes is but the gentleman serving them and the pancakes themselves were 10/10!!)

I quickly made a friend, and we bonded over talk of pancakes, life and travel and how we almost didn’t come. (Her son just backpacked through Macedonia and Albania- which are on my list and now I have first-hand insight! AND I provided her information to pass along to him on visiting Iceland and the free stopovers πŸ™‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈ ✈️)

And if the pancakes and travel talk were not enough to convince me that I was where I needed to be, worship started and Chris shared a story.

And that is when I heard it. The word I had been sent to hear.

Chris told us in the seats about how he had first started writing music for his record. He had all these songs. And he didn’t feel like they were good enough. So he prayed. He explained to God that he wanted to give Him the best of the best, Chris asked God for the songs of Heaven in which to worship him.

In not so many words Chris told us that God said… no.

Chris explained that God spoke into his heart that He already has the songs of heaven, what He was wanting from Chris- were the songs of Chris.

Chris explained that God’s put a gift in each of us, not because He wants us to be a repetition of a supposed perfection but because He knows that through us that gift is one of a kind and could never be replicated.

As Chris told his story, I heard my own. I have been writing this past week… and erasing… and rewriting and wondering is it good enough? Is it there? I don’t know God, I just don’t feel like its any good.

And while Chris talked, I listened.

I don’t want “good” words. I don’t want words which fit a scale of 1-10. I want Brittany’s words.

I don’t to hear everyone else tell the story. I don’t want to hear heaven tell the story. I wrote the story, and I want to hear Brittany tell the story. I have put it in YOU for this very purpose. 

The word I had been sent to hear.

If I hadn’t been willing to listen, I would have missed it. If I hadn’t accepted the invitation, I would never have slowed down enough. I would probably still be wrestling with the “good enough” and “not good enough” battle.

Now, when the battle comes to the door, I stop and I listen.

At the end of the message and worship session, Chris McClarney played a new song, which along with his other songs I highly recommend. The title?

I’m Listening.

I am providing a link here I’m Listening Chris McClarney Hollyn

I encourage you to listen and prepare. The word you’re waiting on, is coming, if not already here.

In the meantime thank you 104.9 for slowing me down, thank you Chris Cakes for the pancakes and thank you Chris McClarney for sharing the gift God placed in you.

And thank you to Fimpli on Unsplash for great image up top!

Growing Pains

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 

1 Timothy 4:12

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. 

Proverbs 12:15

 

  1. Know that I should be doing homework.
  2. Know that as a grad student I should always be doing homework.

But this blog post has been waiting in my drafts long enough. Early August in fact, 3/4 of the way through my internship, facing an upcoming season of uncertainties and uncharted territories.

Nearing what I believe is the end of that period and entering a new, yet to be charted season, I can feel the inner conflict beginning to stir.

Turmoil that, when left unchecked, is known to make my battle ready self hesitate.

It is not that I fear God failing. No, I believe in him 100% of the time.

But I have struggled with believing in myself.

I have struggled to believe that I can communicate, discern and complete those tasks in front of me. Oftentimes I am self-convinced that I am getting the message wrong and surely God has called someone much more… much?

In today’s world this struggle is a genuine one. The world we live in is hardly encouraging most of the time. And if we are not tuned into what God is saying and what he has said, then who are we listening to?

No matter where you are in life or what career field you are working in, there will always be “the voices” in “the moments.”

While I hope you are not familiar with the voices or the moments, living in this world is an unfortunate guarantee that you are more familiar with them than most of us would like to admit.

You know the ones where you are “too young,” “too old,” “too conservative,” “too liberal,” “too educated,” “too naive”… and all the other “toos” that make you unable to understand. Your answer is wrong. It’s not your fault, you are just “too much” or “too little” and that is too bad.

And in these moments, in early August, amid all the voices, I found I really missed my mom.

In these moments a part of me wishes I would have grown up faster. That I would have grown up more gracefully, gliding past the obstacles and never missing a step.

Unfortunately I was one often caught between hard places, getting back up with scrapped knees and bloody knuckles. Generally walking away with a hard earned and learned lesson accompanied with a loving, motherly, “keep going.”

Mom was a great director on walking the line between “do not let them undermine you” yet “listen to wise counsel.”

So here I am, walking the line, and it is getting slimmer. Its one of those moments where the enemy has gotten a hold of one of the ends of the line, turning it into a tightrope and has begun shaking it. You’re not sure if you’ll be able to remain upright, let alone move forward without losing your balance.

And so I spent some time laying my case out to one who has all the time in the world- eternity in fact. My fragile and fear disposed heart repeating that I believed in Him, but… but… me, the me part of the plan was questionable.

God haven’t you heard? I am not ready. I am not qualified. I am too much this and not enough that.

And in those moments that still small voice whispered- but I believe in you.

I believe in you.

I created you. Who knows better what you are capable of? And remember- you are not going in alone. I will be there. And you said yourself, you believe in Me.

True.

So repeat the problem?

And the tightrope stopped shaking. Because in that moment I handed the end back to God- and stopped jumping up and down on it as I was placed back on solid ground.

I remembered that He is before and behind me. Above and Below me. Even should I fall, He is already there. My own worst enemy had been myself, and the enemy’s doubts I had adopted as my own.

And in that space, on that grounded line, I found it.

Humble Confidence.

A graceful clumsiness. Somedays you will fall. Others you will dance. But everyday you will be fearless.

Because should all else fall away you know your Strong Tower is always before, behind, above and below you. There’s no direction you can fall that he won’t be there to catch you.

As if He wasn’t enough, He has also provided family and friends along the way to encourage us and be lights in an otherwise darkened world.

People who are always behind you, some of who you will meet going forward and others who are watching the ground below you from above.

I know beliefs differ, and I do not have the ultimate answer (I am still in Bible college and God has not granted me a vision or revelation that has been withheld from others until now- not that I haven’t asked), however I highly suspect that loved ones can see us from above. At least to an extent. (I generally reference the story Jesus shares in Luke 16:19-31 of Lazarus and the Rich Man and personal experience).

With that said I also fully believe that our loved ones who have passed into Jesus’ presence are in a place with no sorrow, no tears or hurting and pain of any kind. They are in the best of places, praising our savior and rejoicing.

As much as I miss my mom, my best friend, my grandfather, my aunt and several others; I wouldn’t want them to be in that perfect place missing being here. And I know if my mom (or any of them) recalled the pain our temporary separation caused this side of Heaven, her heart would break.

So I have this hope that should my belief be correct and that they are able to look down at times, there is what I have coined as an “eternity filter.”

A filter that when my mom looks down its through the light of eternity, a light that erases the darkness of this world. While she sees us in the good and bad, she knows that the bad will not endure and the good is not even remotely close to the best. And that we have all the time in world, for one day- there will be no more goodbyes and no more ends.

On this side we see through a “world filter,” its dark and broken. Things are hard and you never fully feel like you have made the mark. There are days when the time inches by and others where it feels as if it flew in the blink of an eye.

Further evidence we are just journeying through this world. Our hearts can never fully fit into this world’s concept of “time,” for He has placed eternity in our hearts.

So lesson learned this season:

Growing up is never a task fully accomplished on this side of heaven. Growing pains mark growth, not completion.

In the moments where the growth is hard come by remember you have a Creator, His host of angels and His saints, who count it a hard earned and won Victory.

So fellow Saints, put on your Armor and remember no victory is too small and certainly no matter how beat up and bruised you may emerge, every one is worth celebrating. Moses didn’t think he could lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Peter was uneducated. David and Mary were teenagers. Abraham and Elizabeth were old.

The reality is that you don’t have this. But God does and He’s called you.

And as the prophets and the early church leaders prayed, so we pray, to continue to grow in the knowledge of God, bearing fruit of every good work. No longer seeing this world through it’s broken and twisted filter, but through the filter of eternity to which we have been called.

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Thank James Pond on Unsplash for photo.