I think at some point we’ve all asked this question. Especially when we try and seek guidance from him during those tough times. For me I can recall times when I felt like my prayers were really just a monologue. Yes, I know “he will never leave you nor forsake you”- Deuteronomy 31:6…I got that. But when you’re hurting and going through pain this is the last thing you hear in your mind or feel. You have all these racing thoughts on what to do next, how did this happen, why me, etc. that it’s a storm wind in your brain and you can’t make sense of anything. You can’t really process anything. The Bible says that Gods voice is still or a whisper (1 Kings 19:12). So maybe it’s not a point of him not listening but of us not hearing. “Hearing”, now that comes with spiritual maturity. I use to think that hearing from God was distinct and you would just know (Seriously thought it would be a deep voice, like in the movies). No wonder why I thought he wasn’t listening, but really I just couldn’t hear him. I wasn’t able to recognize his voice. That voice you’re looking for, it can sound a lot like your own. Some may be more familiar with the term conscience, and sometimes we block this voice out. We know what we should and shouldn’t do. But when we really want something that voice gets softer and softer. We can sometimes become so focus on filling our own desires that we rationalize our actions. So the voice we think we hear is not of God but of our own heart. Confusing huh? Lol yea I know I’m still working on it too. Distinguishing the two comes as you grow spiritually. So the next time you ask God a question, remember it may not be the answer you want to hear.
So there has been quite a bit of debate on this topic over the last few decades. Well what exactly is the difference? I am by no means an expert but the following is my own interpretation and based off my personal relationship with God. I am a Christian, and I use to be religious. Wait what? Confusing yes I know but let me explain. I grew up in the church so this is where my foundation was made. But I haven’t always believed in Christ. There was actually a period in my life where I was an atheist but that’s a story in it of itself (I’m sure we will get into it at a later time). I was saved at a friend’s funeral in July 2010. So then I thought…what now? I was in college and was busy with school and never found a church to attend near campus. So on the occasions I went home I would go to church with my family. After college I attended church regularly, filtered my “potty” mouth (those sailors had nothing on me), I even paid my tithes. I did things that were expected from a Christian. I was in fact religious. The problem here was that I became so involved in what was expected of me but I never really bothered to get to know the one who actually made the rules…God. I mean I knew of him but I never got to know him for myself.
“These people come near me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules thy have been taught” -Isaiah 29:13
This scripture was the perfect depiction of how I use to live my life. So now I’m working on getting to know him personally. Like any relationship, there needs to be communication in order to grow. He knows all the wants and desires of your heart but he still wants to hear from you. Now I don’t want you to think that I’m this holier than thou person because I can assure you I am not. But I know who my Lord and Savior is and although I fall short every day I continue to try and please him. I’m still learning and growing as a spiritual woman and I have to say he amazes me every day. The thing for me, the big difference about religion and spirituality is this… With religion man can have the power to still control you because your heart isn’t set on God but confined to the rules that are dictated on what should and shouldn’t be done and it leaves room for confusion. With spirituality, yes, you are open to hearing sermons, ideas, theology and what have you but no one can ever tell you anything about your personal relationship with God. That’s the beauty in getting to know him for yourself, you get everything right from the source.
Social media makes getting the latest news a breeze. Whether its TMZ related or who’s in the lead for the presidential election. We also see the not so entertaining news of murders and injustices going on in other communities. Black lives matter. In early July many people became outraged over the killings of two civilians Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. It caused an uproar in our nation. Almost every other post in my IG time line was Black lives matter or All lives matter. There are still people actively trying to make a difference in their own way. I commend those who spoke out for these injustices and also put action into it. But killing innocent police officers won’t solve anything. In fact, it makes you no better than the officers who openly killed those innocent men. Yes, you’re angry and you have every right to be but don’t use that to guide your actions.
One month later and its seems the fire is starting to dim. Now the craze is Arthur memes (which I’m not going to lie, they are pretty funny) and Pokémon. There seems to always be a new “thing” with social media. While last weeks news gets kicked to the curve. My concern is that are attention span lacks the ability to direct our focus on what’s really going on in our own society. We are outraged instantly, but fail to maintain the actions needed to equate the change we ever so much demand. We go on living our lives as before and with just a little more resentment tucked away to bring out the next time around. So I challenge those to keep that fire going. We seem to be more interested in whose getting married than focusing on our own reality. The black community is under attack in more ways than one. Absolutely, racial profiling was involved with these encounters…but let’s also acknowledge the strife in our own household. I hate to say it but I’m more likely to get killed by my own than by anyone outside of my race. It’s the sad and unfortunate truth. My hometown Chicago has multiple black on black killings happening every day. We need to save our men. Lift them up. Encourage them, do whatever you can to get them off these streets and keep them out of jail. We need our fathers back. These children grow up without men to speak life into them. I am not down playing my single mothers, I commend you for the work and sacrifice you do every day…but a mother can never be a father. A mother cannot teach a boy how to be a man. And some of these boys slip through the cracks and end up being raised by the streets. For some, it’s all they know. Black lives do matter, so let’s show them by taking back our communities. In the words of Bishop Kenneth Ulmer “We can’t become so numb that we minimize the severity of this spiritual warfare”. Yes, our community is under attack. So how do we change this? I have no idea, its complicated and there is no simple answer. But what I would like to do is ask for you to join me every first Saturday at 3pm PST to pray. I started a small prayer group with close friends. During this time, we go to different police stations and pray, no signs no special sayings, only prayer (you don’t even have to get out the car). Ask God to touch the hearts of those with hatred and cover them as they risk their lives to protect others. Even if you can’t make it to a police station if you could just say a quick prayer at that time wherever you are…Lets bombard heaven. Most importantly pray riding through our communities asking God to protect our men and raise them up to be the men he has called them to be. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them” -Matthew 18:20
I send my sincerest condolences to all the grieving families.
I dream about you often. And although I do not know who you are, I pray for your health and safety every night. Lord cover him from any harm or danger that the devil may plant in his direction. But more so I pray for your relationship with God. I pray that as your spiritual relationship grows that you are able to be led by him. A spiritual leader to lead our family and speak life into our children. I will stand by you as your wife with pride and be your strength when you are weak. For the greatest gift is love, and I promise to love you through our “highs” and more so through our “lows”. I pray that if you fall seven times that you will stand up for eight…a resilient man. Do not let this world deter you from your purpose in life. And when you do gather more fruit then you can carry, I pray that you give to those with bare hands…a giving man. Be a blessing to those around you. I pray that you have a voice to speak out for those that have no voice…a courageous man. One who uses his words to heal not hurt. I pray that you learn to forgive those who have intentionally hurt you…a forgiving man. Do not allow them to steal your joy. When the time comes for us to become one, let us always lift each other up in prayer and continue to grow together and not apart. Please forgive me in advance for any intentional and unintentional pain that I may cause. I ask that you teach me to be the wife that you need. Be patient with me. Until we meet…I will forever keep you in my prayers.
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers”- 2nd Corinthians 6:14.
👀 About that…Yes I have dated outside my beliefs. And for all my Pharisees that are so quick to judge please review John 8:7 and Matthew 7:5. Thanks. “We now return you back to your regularly scheduled program”. It was during one of my “lonely” phases. You know, that phase I mentioned to not linger in because it can lead to desperation. Well yeah, I said that because I’ve been there. Nothing meaningful can ever come from Tinder, I should’ve known lol (don’t believe the inflated 2% success rates😂). I won’t go into the full details of this relationship but the point is we didn’t have the same beliefs. I am a Christian and it is something that is very important to me. That being said it was hard dating this guy because he wanted no part in this aspect of my life. So I prayed for him, invited him to church, etc.; but I’ve never been in a “relationship” with anyone (I mean any relationship: friendship, romantic, etc.) and felt more alone. That part of me was suppressed around him, not because I was ashamed but because it got to a point of understanding where I wouldn’t push my beliefs on him as long as he didn’t push his off on me. And that’s when I knew it would never work out. I can’t be with anyone who alters the things that are a part of me or simply wants nothing to do with it. Basically instead of listening I had to learn the hard way, through experience. Your relationship should further your walk with God not hinder it. So be careful, because desperation has the power to bring you to a point where you won’t even recognize who you are anymore. Stand firm on God’s word and true to yourself it’ll save you from a lot of unnecessary heartache.