I’ve lived with what I’ll call spiritual insecurity for most of my life, a fear that I don’t know how to hear God. At some points my younger self thought that I didn’t know God. Hadn’t given my heart, surrendered fully, perhaps I didn’t even know this creator God, this Jesus who died — for me, and you, who lives. It was a grave spiritual insecurity you see, as I have wrestled with idea that this faith walk I’m on
Some might call it lack of faith and that is what I feared for many years. But that is not the case. I know that now. I fully believe that God is, was and always will be. (Except for those day trips into disbelief, no they don’t help. But mostly they are kept at bay.)
This spiritual insecurity is something else entirely. I fear that I cannot hear God, that most of my spiritual nudging are at worst something I’ve imagined and at best me being smart. Or even if I am inspired in some spiritual way, I fear that it is not the Holy One speaking. Simply something I’ve conjured up to comfort myself.
It has been a cry of my heart, for as long as I can remember — I want to know (for sure) that I hear God.
I recently found a spiritual director. I am amazed by what I have learned already from this woman. Firstly being with her, I have felt affirmed.
She said: “You are “different” and this is okay.” Pieces of myself clicked into place in my soul when she said that. “Some people are a Stradivarius and others are banjos.” We had only just met, so I surely didn’t have the courage to ask?
Which one am I? Though I wondered.
I’m okay with being a Banjo. Who’s judging? But I think I know what she meant.
(I only think you see, because that’s one thing about spiritual directors. They do not spell out the answers. Answers must be discovered yourself, that’s kind of the point you see. Learn to listen, to trust yourself. Discover it all for yourself. Sheesh, this isn’t easy let me tell you. But I believe it will be worth it.)
Anyway, she meant you are not like most people.
I don’t face my days in the same way — for me, life is a frequent drumming lament, a heart crying.
I am an artist, I think hard and long about the oddest things. All of which cause me to agonize over every aspect of life, its meaning and importance. With this new understanding, all of a sudden more forgiving of myself for all the time that dissipates and is “lost”, that seems to vaporize from my day
as I sit pondering the imponderable. And I seem to
imagine, absorb and ache, contemplating everything. And this, this way that I am, that God made me to be,
It can be strange for others that I’m so intense but it needs to be okay with me, being this way. Firstly, I accept it. Secondly, I learn to love myself. Thirdly, I learn to listen. This is where I will find myself and find my God, ruminating late into the night, and losing sleep.
Living a sigh.
I am undone by many things, even
a poem such as this. For I am a listener and I long to listen well. I am learning that the din doesn’t have to undo me, but when it does I must listen.
And so, for today I’ll just leave you to this…
The Din Undoes Us by Walter Brueggemann.
Our lives are occupied territory…
occupied by a cacophony of voices,
and the din outdoes us.
In the daytime we have no time to listen,
beset as we are by anxiety and goals
and assignments and work,
and in the night the voices are so confusing
we can hardly sort out what could possibly be your voice
from the voice of our mothers and our fathers
our best friends and our pet projects,
because they all sound so much like you.
We are people over whom that word shema has been written.
We are listeners, but we do not listen well.
So we bid you, by the time the sun goes down today
or by the time the sun comes up tomorrow,
by night or by day,
that you will speak to us in ways that we can hear
out beyond ourselves.
It is your speech to us that carries us where we have never been,
and it is your speech to us that is our only hope.
So give us ears.