Monday, November 18, 2013


God speaks to me.

He does.

He did just the other day.

But, before I begin this post and tell you what He had to say, I'd like to say something about what it means when I say, "God spoke to me."

A lot of people are really thrown off by that phrase.

Skepticism abounds.

People look at you like you're crazy, naively foolish – or worse yet, arrogant.

I see three dangers when we talk about the Lord speaking to us.

One, we can be wrong.  We can shape our personal thoughts and feelings, molding them subconsciously into our own set of priorities, desires, motives, and wishes.  All of a sudden, God "speaks" to us, and we are pleased by what He says.  Because, after all, it lines up with what we want to hear.

The second danger is that the enemy can also speak to us.  Though as believers he cannot possess ushe can harass us.  He is also capable of planting thoughts in our heads.  Why else does the Bible call him the father of lies?  Why else does the Bible tells us to wear a helmet?  He can penetrate our thoughts, and we often listen.  Because, after all, what he says also lines up with what we want to hear. Or, his words are not what we want to hear because they are demeaning, distracting, depressing, or downright destructive.

But, the third danger is almost the worst of all.  If we're not careful, we can dismiss legitimate communication from the Holy Spirit.  Labeling His words as our *own* thoughts, or simply our subconscious speaking, or just wishful thinkingwe can lose a message that is correctly spoken.

Things can get tricky here.

How can we tell whether it's truly the Holy Spirit speaking?

There are three rules that I have found to be vital in discerning the Spirit:

1.  Does it line up with Scripture?  The Holy Spirit will NEVER say anything that does not agree with God's Word.  Line up what you think you're hearing with the indisputable words of the Bible.

2.  Is it self-serving?  The Holy Spirit will NOT say things to us that serve only to promote us.  His ONLY mission is to point us to the Truth, and His all-encompassing purpose is to bring glory to God.

3.  What do other trusted believers think?  The Holy Spirit often confirms His words to us through the confirmation of other believers.  Trusted counselors are integral to the discernment process.

OK, so let's move on to what it feels like for me to hear God speak.

It's really rather difficult to describe.  And I venture to say that everyone's experience is slightly different – because God is such a personal and intimate Communicator.

So, this is my subjective experience.

It's like a thought that bubbles up inside of me independently.  It's like I think it without thinking it.  Does that make sense?  It's an urge, or an impulse, or a perfectly new insight.  Sometimes it's a word of comfort, or a directive to take faithful action.  Sometimes it's something that echoes the words of Scripture.

It's definitely a voice – not an audible voice – but an inner voice.

A voice that feels like it comes from somewhere inside me, but somewhere separate from my mind.

A Spirit talking with a spirit.

And, after all, isn’t that what the Bible tells us it will be like?

A still, small voice.  A gentle whisper.  

Yeah, sometimes God sounds a little stronger, a little sterner.  But when He speaks like that, I pretty much know it's Him.  How?  Because I do NOT usually hear what I want to hear!

So, the other day I had a minor emotional meltdown.  (Will someone please explain to me why I am STILL having PMS symptoms years after "The Change"?)

Looked it up in Sharon's Acrostic Dictionary:  

P retty
M uch
S enseless


I digress.

OK, picture me sitting on a boulder in the backyard, freezing cold in shorts and a thin sweatshirt.  The sun is setting over the valley, the giant granite mountain above me is turning pink, the wind is blowing gently.  It's a picture-postcard Kodak moment.

And I am crying.

I talk to the Lord, desperate to hear from Him.

"Lord, what is wrong with me?  I really and truly want to love living up here. It's beautiful.  It's everything I've ever dreamed of.  Why can't I embrace all of this?"

And then, the independent Voice, the still, small whisper spoke…

"Because you STILL don't understand why I brought you here."

(Insert confused pause…)

"I brought you here to rest."

I was stopped in my tracks.  Astounded.  Greatly moved.  Convicted and comforted all at the same time.

To rest?

My Word for 2013 is DIRECTION.  And all year long, I've been (frantically) searching for what direction God wants me to go.  What is the purpose for me being here – specifically here, in the mountains?

DO, DO, DO…What does He want me to DO??

And, this word from God has stopped me.

I can't tell you the joy that began to wash over my soul as I pondered what He said.

He wants me to rest.

I have always loved the mountains, always felt like they were my *soul place*.  And here I am – in the place that has always felt like *home* to me.

But, as you all know, I've been struggling.

However, now it is becoming so much clearer to me.  I have been struggling because I've been focusing on what I've LOST not on what I've GAINED – by moving here.

I have been looking back(I'm surprised I haven't turned into a pillar of salt yet) – instead of looking around.

I have agonized over the GOP – Grand Old Purpose – that I thought God was making happen in my life "down the hill."  Only to lose it all when my life came to a screeching halt up here.

But now I am pondering.

What I have defined as "stopping" – God has really been trying to tell me is *resting*.

Yes, the other day God spoke to me and gave me permission to rest.

I have been contemplating the many seasons we go through in life.

Seasons of blessing and abundance – seasons of dryness and depletion.  Seasons of great ministry opportunities, and seasons of waiting.

But I don't think that I have ever really considered the idea that resting has a purpose.

Resting sounds like laziness, inactivity, complacency.

It sounds like a cop-out.

But I am beginning to realize that a season of rest has a purpose all its owna God-ordained purpose.

IF we stop and recognize it.

God wants me to rest.

I feel a weight lifted off of my shoulders – I feel like I have been given permission to let go of striving.

I feel an invitation to go outside to explore His creation.  I feel an invitation to dig into His Word for no other reason than just to bask in His love.  I feel an invitation to speak to Him, to listen to Him strictly for the intimacy of communion.

I feel an invitation to meet Him in the relaxation of my spirit.

Oh Lord, thank You.

It took almost the whole year for me to finally hear what HE meant by the word *direction*.

It meant to do what He was directing me to do.  Not an end result, not a tangible path, not an action to take.  Not direction like where to gobut direction like an actor receivesthe management or guidance of someone.  

Yeah, direction like that.

God has been directing me to rest...

And I am so grateful.

Grateful that He is graciously providing me with the time to process life.  To filter and understand the many emotions that have hit me in the last year and a half.  To ponder Him and His creation.

To take a spiritual deep breath – to inhale His Spirit – and to be content with only that.

To serve Him in stillness.


Blessed rest.

And now I get it – because God spoke to me – and I listened.

An unexpected message…that bubbled up inside…that spoke to my heart…

…and I have finally heard Him.

My Yoke Is Easy 

"'Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.'" (Matthew 11:28-30, NASB)

"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome." (1 John 5:3, NASB)

"And He said to them, 'Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.'" (Mark 6:31, NASB)

"...'I see that the LORD is always with me.  I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.  No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope.'" (Acts 2:25-26, NLT)

"For we who have believed enter that rest..." (Hebrews 4:3, ESV)

What has God been trying to say to you this year?

(Note: I'll still be blogging, as I feel led to continue that - but in other areas of my life, I'll give myself permission to just enjoy my surroundings!)

Linked today with:

Jen at UNITE
Darlene at TITUS 2SDAYS

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Sharon, I'm glad you finally got to hear his direction on the matter. Rest is something I think most of us undervalue in today's society. May you enjoy this season of rest my friend. For you never know what the next season may bring but every season serves a purpose.

  2. Wonderful Sharon. I love your explanation of how we know it is God speaking to us. That was said so clearly. Also, great to hear and know what the message is for you right now. I would guess that this time of resting is also preparation for your 'next' from God. Enjoy it all as you process and continue to listen. You are sure in a beautiful spot to do just that! :)

  3. Hi Sharon! I am so happy that God has led you to your joy...and it's rest! What a weight off those shoulders you had yoked with the worry that you weren't 'getting it'. I am so happy that now you can relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and praise him that you have your dream place.

    I never think that God is calling me to rest either. Like you said, it seems to make more sense to continue something. But that voice proves that God wants his children to be fully rested, and really, don't we all work better after a good rest?
    So happy for you!!

  4. Brilliant! Thank you for sharing, Sharon. Janet Reeves

  5. Tears streaming down my face... when they broke, I could not stop and I wanted to read on especially after that excellent intro... but God, you and I are in that/this same place. I am delighted that Abba spoke and spoke REST! and your simple resolute (up where I read and knew that I just had to hurry and respond before I lost what I loved) that you received His Word to "Come all you who are weary ,,," and this point about "rest" followed by these words:

    I feel a weight lifted off of my shoulders – I feel like I have been given permission to let go of striving.

    I feel an invitation to go outside – to explore His creation. I feel an invitation to dig into His Word – for no other reason than just to bask in His love. I feel an invitation to speak to Him, to listen to Him – strictly for the intimacy of communion.

    I feel an invitation to meet Him in the relaxation of my spirit.

    Oh Lord, thank You

    It took almost the whole year for me to finally hear what HE meant by the word *direction*.

    struck such a cord within me. So I will REST and leave the rest to another time when I may be able to come back and really express in a comment how this spoke to me, I felt your every word in this one, another masterpiece, and I'm so glad and rejoicing through my tears with your brilliance and quick wit and message ... and so very much all in this one "Say it again, LORD" and so I will REST Sharon... and I join you (free from the burden of what the word conotates
    to us and enJOY God's break through for you and me... for the word REST lines up with your "direction", your mountain acceptance, and my word of "PEACE" very, very happy for you (and me) to have this release and word from God.

    I am so blessed (and now must rest) Thank you friend... love and peace,

  6. Oh, Sharon!! I am celebrating with you - REST!!! I talk about that all the time - the theme, actually, of my book, "Fragrant Fields" - and YOU have actually been called to that place!!! I love how you explained things here, especially the disclaimer at the outset. Yes, if you haven't heard that Still Small Voice, you may have a tough time discerning what people mean by it when they say they've heard it. I am so glad you have found your purpose in the mountains. You do realize you're living the dream season. I have hope for my own soon - turning the corner after coming to a stop with rest and renewal in other ways. But, a season of just sitting sounds grand!

    I'm looking forward to you sharing what the Lord speaks in the stillness . . .


  7. Yes, I know that God is still speaking and to some if you share that fact, they look at you in bewilderment. The voice of God inwardly is pronounced and we know that it is our Lord. Oh that we would listen more, and we would hear that voice often. Thank you for sharing your lovely post with us here at "Tell Me a Story:" Oh yes, thank you for your prayers about us loosing old Bucky. Luke still wanders around the yard looking for him, and Smoke is all business and seems to take the loss in stride. We are giveing Luke special priviledges for a few more day.

  8. Sharon, you described SO perfectly what it's felt like when God has spoken to me. Honestly, most of the time when I say that, I even say it like I completely expect whoever I'm speaking with to think I'm a nut job...even my Christian friends. Generally, I never, never, never leave a blog post of mine in a comment, but I'm going to make an exception this time because I feel like you might want to see what I wrote about God speaking to me, and how similar our stories are: God bless you!

  9. God has been speaking to me about resting, too Sharon. I even changed the title of my blog as I try to focus on entering into His rest. Trusting....remembering ...and not striving, but resting with confidence for my full healing.
    Beautiful post Sharon. Love it.

  10. (((Sharon))) I know its been a struggle for you. I'm so glad you listened and really grasped what he meant by rest. What a relief this must be along with peace of mind to know you are right where God wants you to rest.


  11. Dear Sharon
    Come to think of it, this resting in Jesus, is VERY hard work for us humans. We are actually so comfortable when we are on the go and on fire for God. But that I think, is a lie from the evil one that we so readily believe! In Acts somewhere Paul tells us that God is not served by human hands, but we often think Heaven will come to a standstill if we are not helping God along. God is about being, dear friend. Being in His Presence allowing Him to do the doing in and through us. Jesus invites us to abide, not to run around in the flesh. The only "work" we need to do, He said, was to be receptive to His Life and ability. You know where Jesus answered the people that the only words we need to do is to have faith in Him.

  12. Oh yeah, that 'rest' command--I think I struggle with that one more than anything else He tells me to do. And the 'trust' command--that one makes me buggy too. Enjoy your season of rest.

  13. Oh Sharon - I find peace in your posts as we walk through the exact same seasons here, together. Thank you for clarifying that "still small voice". I agree, many can quite innocently misinterpret what we mean when "God speaks to us". As we align with scripture it is so good to know that the God of the Bible tells us, "My sheep will hear my voice." Blessings friend as you embrace this season and walk, in tune, and continually in sink with His Spirit! ~ Jen

  14. Great post, Sharon! I'm so glad you heard God's direction for this season in your life! Blessings to you, Joan

  15. And look at that. He spoke to me very clearly through YOU and this wonderfully written post. I love and agree with the litmus test that you use, and I love how you remind us that the great counterfeiter likes to "speak" to us too.

    I am currently doing a mini unit with my class (possibly my farewell unit...). Interesting that just last week, we talked about the rest at Elim. I kind of glazed over it. Now I'm thinking hmmmm....

    (Psst. God already knows this so I'll confess it to you. I'm tired of resting. Sigh )

  16. I so agree, Sharon. And I believe God speaks to us daily, if only we are still enough and quiet enough to hear His gentle voice. I was lamenting just last week, after being in a setting where everybody in the room was piddling with their smart phones, that it must really frustrate the heart of God because I'm sure He is speaking to so many (myself often included) who are too distracted to hear.

    May you find Him close in this new season of life.

  17. Whoa! Great message, Sharon. I too have been going through a transition for the last year...and although I don't know that I have gotten the same message as you, I do still need the reminder to stop agonizing over the whys and just listen for God's voice. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Dear Sharon,
    I just found you. What a blessing. I love your explanation of hearing God's voice. I tend to struggle with rest also. But if I slow down and watch nature I see that that God has planned rest for everything.
    Thanks so much. May God bless your rest abundantly.

  19. Sharon take your time to rest in Him... Enjoy it, savor it and go deeper in Him. My prayers are with you... Blessings, Natasha

  20. Hi Sharon, firstly, great post! So practical in application. Secondly, we are sometimes ruled by "doing" stuff instead of resting because, well, we feel guilty chilling don't we? Thirdly, so glad you found what direction the Lord was sending you in. And Fourthly, relax, enjoy and unwind in the Lord. Exhale... God bless

  21. Love this, Sharon- thank you so much for linking up!

  22. I, as I've grown in Him in the past years ... 47+ .. I've learned to hear Him tell me what to do. Occasionally, it's been a little confusing, but most of the time it's very clear and very straightforward. I'm struggling now a bit, but it's mostly simply b/c I have entered in some difficult physical/mental issues. I still USUALLY hear His voice, but just once in a while, I enter confusion. He always break through the confusion. I can count on Him... not on me. Good sharing, good processing on your part. Thank you.

  23. Sharon, I was so touched by this post. I am so glad you got your breakthrough in the struggle that you have been experiencing. I like to think that I can discern pretty well but we can all be deceived, can't we? I never even thought about God telling me to rest but I realize just taking a load off and sitting for a spell is not what He means when He says "rest". There is a huge difference between that and being in a place of comfort in your soul, right? I just love the way you are able to word your posts ...they say so much about the woman of God you are. Blessings on you, sweet Sharon and thanks for posting this.

  24. Yay! I am in agreement Sharon!! Ha, not that God has to agree with me :) But you are being RENEWED, REFRESHED and RESTORED in order to be able to minister in different areas than ever before! You will be a blessing to so many others after this SEASON is over. Enjoy this rest sister, you are being BLESSED!! ♥

  25. This is very good information about exactly what it means to hear from God. Thanks for taking the time to spell it out so clearly.

    I read something just the morning that said Christianity isn't a test, it's a rest. Hope you stay in yours and that I'll remember to stay in mine.

  26. Couldn't stop smiling as I read your post. I felt like I was gathering gems as I scrolled down as I nodded in recognition / rejoiced with you on on your journey, though we have not met / drank in His spirit in your words. Kinda like the wonderful verse that goes, "deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls".

    Thanks for sharing your words, Sharon. Found your blog through Bonnie's - and so glad I did today! Bless you.

  27. Sharon, thanks so much for visiting me earlier. I wanted to come here what else you had to say, and ... I was blessed!

  28. How blessed you are to be given this respite along the way, Sharon! He must have a very special plan for you, as He does for all of us - have a blessed Thanksgiving.

  29. Sharon, this is so good. I could feel myself breathe easier. I've been struggling with this whole retirement issue and trying to find "my purpose" in this season of my life. So, I've struggled with writing, allowing it and the computer to usurp my time without any true direction. And I've relinquished all of the other joys--like scrapbooking and time with friends and the Lord, too--to find "my purpose."
    I can breathe easier now, knowing that it's okay if I rest. I thought I could only rest on short weekends like the Sedona break. But you've helped me see this is allowable NOW.
    The other interesting thing is that I have half of a blog post done that was supposed to talks about how God finally got my attention. I wanted the second half of the blog post to describe how we hear God!!! Can you believe that?? I was going to research a book but I'm sure I'll quote you here as well. Excellent explanation.

  30. Thank you Sharon, this was a beautiful post.

  31. Hi Sharon, thanks for sharing this post in the Faith Jam before Thanksgiving. I can see you love God's word! May this Advent be rich and blessing!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)