I woke up thinking & very alert this morning, and realized there was a specific issue I needed to post here today. It's a Leading of the Spirit. So -- here goes.
Coming back home is wonderful. And yet, it is difficult. When you've been immersed in a mission trip (either abroad or at home), you soak up sights and sounds and smells and feelings into your very soul, both physically AND spiritually. That can make it sooooo difficult when you return to the USA. People will ask about the trip -- "Hey Anita, did you have a good trip?" But all most folks will want to hear is a quick response like, "Sure did! It was great!" If you begin to tell of some of the details, very soon you'll realize that the person you're talking to listened politely for a few minutes, then shifted their attention elsewhere, trying to think of a graceful way to remove themselves from the conversation. That is particularly true when you mention the great **spiritual** encounters you may have experienced.
Thus, one coming back home from a spiritually-drenched encounter becomes doubly burdened, for there are precious few people in the USA that REALLY TRULY want to know the "details", that are honestly BURDENED for those people far away that you encountered, worked with, and developed a heart for their lives. It's funny, though, how God will lead you to others with similar burdens and experiences, and it is through them that you get some understanding comfort and a willing person to whom you can pour out your feelings to, holding nothing back. I'm so thankful to Him for the Spiritual Brothers & Sisters I have that know & understand & are ready to listen, day or night.
I am reminded, somehow, of that 1970's rock opera, Tommy in which the lead character sees nothing, hears nothing, speaks nothing. He's desensitized. I recall seeing the movie made from the play, and Tommy has a blindfold over his eyes, and corks in his ears and mouth that renders him deaf, blind, and mute. Many people today in our culture go through their lives in a similar manner, where the Holy Spirit is concerned.
We in the USA are very blessed, there is no doubt about it. But I believe we are almost totally oblivious to the SOURCE of our blessings. We are blinded to the workings of God by the accumluation of material possessions -- we want more and more and more. There is so much to see and do -- tv, computers, our jobs, our social obligations -- all crowd into the space we have before us, blinding us to the great and mighty things happening right before our eyes. We are blessed by all these THINGS -- and yet we allow them to crowd into our lives and squeeze out the one thing that matters: our spiritual well-being.
Last night we watched a gorgeous sunset -- the colors were magnificent pinks, lavendars, golden sparkles in the heavens as the day began to end. We were riding in the car with my daughter & her boyfriend when David pointed it out. The colors merged and melted together into darkness slowly. It was breath-taking. But you know what? That gorgeous heavenly show happens every day at dusk and at daybreak, but how often do we take the time to really SEE it?
When was the last time you went outside and listened to the birds, crickets, & tree frogs, or heard the rustling of leaves as the wind passed through the trees? A lot of the glorious songs of nature are pushed to the background by the interference of mankind. Industrial noises, traffic sounds, loud music, a clock ticking to remind you of the obligations you have placed upon yourself, people shouting -- just a few of the things that drown out God's orchestrations.
Our culture has standards of "personal space" too. When you've been immersed in a society that commonly uses handshakes or hugs at EVERY encounter, you get used to the comfort of human touch. Then -- after just a few short days here -- you find yourself feeling "skin-starved" and you long for someone to just give you a hug so you know that you yourself are "really there."
Our "me first" mentality gets pushed into us from all sides. We're encouraged to spoil ourselves, to pamper ourselves, to "look out for number one" -- with that number one being SELF. We become a selfish, self-centered society, only concerned with what good others can do for US.
Jason Upton has a song I love called "Dying Star" -- when we're so focused on OURSELVES, others cannot see God. We become a huge "star" trying to block the rays of the sun (SON). Yet stars are simply dying beings and the SON is eternal. What we have, what we are, what we possess -- all becomes dust eventually, but the Spirit lives on.
In Ghana, I was challenged to become more attentive & attuned to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. It's going to take some effort on my part, I tend to want to "do stuff" from dawn until I crash into bed at night. But just as my physical health has needed some restoration, so does my spiritual health.
One doesnt necessarily have to go halfway around the world (like to Ghana) to get closer to God. He meets you where YOU are. He works in subtle ways, in you and all around you, to let you know He's available for you. You can find messages from the Holy Spirit every day, especially to YOU -- only you have to be receptive. You have to remove the blindfold from your eyes and the corks from your ears in order to see and hear them -- and then remove the cork from your mouth so you can TELL OTHERS.
I guess that's what I've done this morning -- I've "removed the cork" from my mouth to share this with you all, in hopes that perhaps you might find time today to just appreciate the things God has given you enough to thank Him, and then listen for His response to you. Let Him take you to another level. Life will never be the same for you!
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Have a beautiful, glorious, Spirit-filled day!