Hi. First of all,let me just say that I am glad I was told about this blog. It has helped me accept certain things I struggled to accept when I started taking my relationship with Christ seriously. Now to why my title is ‘questions’ . I know you don’t have all the answers and I probably should be asking God but I feel like He doesn’t hear me when I talk to him albeit I don’t always do the talking. I try but whenever I decide to seriously take time off and pray something comes up to distract me and I’m left rushing through a prayer and going on with my day. Either that or I start sleeping. So my first question is How do I hear God amidst the noisy and busy schedule I have and how do I pray effectively.. If there’s such a thing. So I’ve been struggling with my past and overcoming it. Actually I’ve overcome it but there are still people who desire me telling them I don’t want to have anything to do with the keep bugging me and it’s stressful and I try real hard to not give in but sometimes I do and I’m left feeling sad and ashamed and guilty and it makes it more difficult to pray and still persevere on this journey. How do I completely detach from my past and not get sucked in to that lifestyle again? Last one So a couple of months back was when I decided to take my relationship with God seriously so one night as I was praying and I had been listening to Tasha Cobbs new album so I made ‘Gracefully Broken’ and Victoria Orenze’s ‘On Fire’ my prayer topics. And I asked God to Break me totally till all I needed was Him to live because without Him life really doesn’t make sense and I wanted Him to work His will in my life. Fast forward a few weeks after I fail I final exam. And it hit me so bad that I detached myself completely from everyone and became depressed again and a couple of people helped me get better.. So the question is how do you get through the hard times knowing that it’s part of God’s purpose for you? That you have to go through the whole journey of pain to get to where God wants you to be? Sorry it’s a long thing but I needed to ask With context. Thanks for your time.
A lot of good questions that I could probably spend a lifetime answering because they are ones I’m (in some ways) still figuring out or living out. But I’ll share my personal experience and some things I’ve learned with regards to hearing from God and navigating a life of faith in the midst of temptation and bad breaks.
God is always speaking. That’s the first thing you must always be aware of. But He also is not in the habit of shouting. God’s voice is a gentle whisper, and so, like you said, we have to get into the habit of tuning other voices out in order to tune into Him. For me that has meant fasting, spending seasons away from group settings, listening to only worship for periods of time, making a habit of reading my Bible daily, and of course, prayer. The great thing is, the more attentive we are, the clearer His voice is. And the more obedient to His voice we are, the clearer it becomes.
With regards to prayer, it is definitely one of my weaker areas too. I could read the Bible all day, worship all day, write all day, but praying is a hard one. This month I committed to waking up every morning to pray on my knees by my bedside, and without even trying, it has become a habit. And it has made all the difference in my prayer life. I don’t start my day without first getting on my knees. And from that position, I am more attentive, I am more focused, and I am more open to hearing God speak. From that position, there is no pretense, no need to assert myself, no need to pretend to be anything I’m not. From that position, it’s just plain old Eudora, eagerly awaiting a word from her Father.
With regards to dealing with the past and overcoming temptation: my dear, letting go of the past is one of the hardest things you will do with regards to your faith – but it is also one of the most rewarding. Sometimes that means blocking people and cutting them off until a point where you feel like you are strong enough to resist the temptations they pose. Sometimes it means being bold enough to set standards with people and let them know what you are and are not up to. There have been times where I’ve had to tell girlfriends not to send my screenshots of twitter fights because I don’t want to be part of that. One of the things I love most about my friends is that they know who I am and what matters to me. They would never plan something on a Sunday morning because they know Eudora goes to church on Sundays. They don’t look at me weird when I say I was at a church thing, or make me feel bad when I’m DJ-ing at a pool party and Tasha Cobbs comes on where Wacka Flocka should have been lol. They know me, respect me, and love me for everything I am, and accept everything I am not – the good and the bad. And yes, there have been awkward conversations with men with regards to my faith and celibacy. But they are all necessary conversations to have if this is the life you have chosen to live. And if that means certain people steer clear of me, then all the better. But I’ve found that being open and honest about my faith and standards has brought more amazing people into my life than anything else.
Guilt and shame are just tools used by the enemy to make you believe that you aren’t who God says you are. Don’t fall for it. You’re already forgiven; and while that is not justification for falling back into old habits, it means that when you regrettably do, there is Grace waiting for you.
With regards to the failed test: I don’t think every bad thing that happens in our lives is a part of God’s good plan. I think bad things happen, for several reasons, and none of them are caused by God as a way of testing us. I think sometimes God allows them, yes. But most of the time I think they are just bad things – and God is ready to redeem them and work them together for your good. So he can take all the broken pieces in your life – the failures, disappointments, setbacks, pains, tears – and mold something beautiful out of them… but only if you’ll let Him. Being broken is hard. It’s the space where you begin to really question your devotion to God. But it’s in those broken spaces that we begin to see and hear God most clearly because we seek Him out most fiercely, and throw away any sense of pretense or affect. I get through those times because I know God is for me. I know He can redeem anything. I know He is still good. I know that nothing I go through has the power to defeat me, and that God has equipped me, so I can handle it.
I hope this helps!