Is That God Waking Me Up?
Oct 18, 2015 08:34AM
By Bonnie Lyn Smith
I woke up in the middle of the night. An old wound reopened. My mind was rushing, and I could not for the life of me understand why certain memories were flooding back upon popping one eye open.
Didn’t I take care of that business, Lord? Why am I awakened by this?
Truth be told, I was having a hard time sorting out whether I was being tormented (which isn’t God) about something in the past just to derail me and disrupt my peace, or if God had woken me up to sort through something.
I was aware of the small trigger that had set off the memories, but I felt I had dipped them in His amazing peace, prayed them down, and stepped off the memory platform.
Apparently not so.
Ever have something come back and revisit, and you’re not sure what to do with it?
Yeah, me too.
Whenever this happens and old tapes play in my head, I have two choices (because ignoring them doesn’t work):
1. Let them swirl and thieve my peace.
2. Pray for discernment and listen for God’s direction.
In moments like this one, my thought process and prayers follow this pattern:
Lord, is that You? Are You bringing these things to Your Light again because they are unfinished business, and You want to show me something?
If the thief of peace is bugging me, and this does not come from You, I ask for Your peace to quiet that particular storm.
If it is You, show me where my heart is still unclean and needs to be dealt with.
Psalm 139:23-24, ESV, King David
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
While this does not come as second nature to me, I have learned over time to develop this discipline because I find that when I obey direct biblical commands, He is faithful to honor that. King David set the model for us in the Psalms of how honestly we can come to God with our deepest wounds and most tormenting anxieties. If ever anyone cried out passionately to the Lord, it was David, even in moments following his own wrongdoing.
See, sin leads to shame, which sends us to hide in dark corners for a while, but even David knew that coming back to God was the only way to break free.
Can you imagine beseeching a Holy God to search your heart? Oh my! I know the little footpaths within my own heart that trail around Shame Gulch and the feet that stumble across Fret Forest. If only we could tell God which route to take, right?
But the sobering truth is we need His Holy Spirit to search every crevice and wipe us clean. It was already accomplished on the cross for our eternity, but to continue living in His Perfect Peace, like David, we need to ask for our hearts to be examined daily.
You know what? He is so faithful when I ask Him to do this!
Sometimes the mind battle stops—once I’m sure God is not revealing something to me. I rebuke it, like Jesus rebuked the waves, and tell it I am covered by the blood of and with the peace of Christ.
Luke 8:24, ESV, Luke the Physician speaking
And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.
But this particular night, He did have something to say to me. It wasn’t out loud; it was quietly in my spirit through His Holy Spirit. And what He had to say was along these lines:
“I know you assumed a lot of innocence in this situation, and you often were pure-hearted, but there are some incidents you don’t remember that I’m going to show you where you were wrong. You did not fully live out my love. You misrepresented me. You walked in your own control. You didn’t trust me.”
And then He brought to mind very specific scenes,
and I was guilty as tried.
I could not have recalled that on my own. I had long buried those memories.
“How do you know if that was God?” you might ask me.
Well, God’s plan for rebuke is gentle. He is firm, like a parent who wants what is best for us. He wants us to learn and do better, but He didn’t pummel me with the truth. He just laid it out before me and asked me to take a look.
He already died for my sin on the cross and rose again. I’ve already been forgiven. He wanted to show me my error not only so I wouldn’t repeat it, but also to check the humility pulse of my heart and to whittle away at my pride, self-reliance, even arrogance.
Galatians 6:1, ESV, Apostle Paul speaking
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
I was safe to look these scenarios from the past over with my Daddy in heaven, to review my “files.”
He was reading my mail with me on His lap, cupping my chin lovingly while holding me to a higher standard—
—one He already fought for and won
—one that would draw others to Him.
I repented, naming each disobedient act, and asked for forgiveness.
For my heart to heal or even move on, I had to be wiped fully clean.
Where is God waking you up right now from spiritual slumber, a turning away of your face, a tucked-away sin?
Don’t be afraid to look at it. He is so loving when He clears the slate. He just wants you to see through His eyes how ugly that stain is so you can know the peace of repenting of it.
So you can know how brilliantly a clean heart shines!
Tell Him to go ahead and search your heart. He won’t send you there alone. He already bought its freedom.
He wants to speak truth and life into it so that squeaky clean, peace-washed, joy-sparkly heart can wake others up too.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.