I’m amazed at how often God speaks to me when I’m just waking up. I suppose it’s easier for him to get things into my heart before my brain fully realizes what’s going on. It’s nice when the word is sweet or encouraging or positive, but yesterday his message to me was anything but sweet, it stung significantly. The word was essentially this: “Stop being a jerk. You remember what you said last night? That was not okay.” I had been talking with a friend about someone else and had allowed my frustrations to spill out of my mouth and fill the air (and my poor friend’s ears) with toxic thoughts about this third person. This person is a beloved child of God yet I had decided they were awful and I wanted others to know. No matter what they had done to me, what I did was improper and God let me know about it.
This reminded me of a time about 5 years ago when something similar happened. I had talked with a friend for about 2 hours on the phone. He was a charming musician who lived in another state and I was enthralled by the attention he gave me. I discovered, through the conviction God brought, that I was essentially emotionally dating this guy. Talk about a bad decision! We spent most of the phone call making each other laugh, I don’t even remember what we had talked about. We hung up the phone and I went to bed, smiling from the silly conversation we had. The next morning, when I woke up, the Lord convicted me. We both are Christians, both love God with all of our hearts, yet, in that conversation, God wasn’t mentioned once. In that 2 hours we said nothing to glorify him, we didn’t praise God or thank him or honor him with our conversation. I knew I needed to step back.
That conviction stung. My emotions and habits and insecurities and fears were all wrapped up in that one, yet I was obedient. More than that, I was thankful that I had heard God’s voice, cared about what he said, and chose to obey his commands. I’m just as thankful today was I was then.
The amazing thing about God is that he always gives you an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. With my friend a few years ago, he called me again that next day, forcing me to have the conversation I would’ve preferred to ignore. Yesterday, the friend I vented to the day before called me and we talked through how we need to make some changes to better love this other person. Honestly, I was resistant, until God reminded me again that I need to love this person well, regardless of my feelings.
I am so immensely thankful for the conviction that God brings. I am grateful that he cares enough to correct his kids when we’ve managed to venture off into territories we have no business in. I’m thankful that he loves us enough to tell us when we’re wrong. I’m thankful that I care enough to respond to his voice, even when it’s hard. And I’m thankful for friends who can help you obey, even if they don’t know that’s what they’re doing.
Lord, you are God and you are good. You are just and righteous, loving and merciful. We are none of those things; we fall short of your perfect standards daily. Thank you for meeting us where we are in our messes and showing us a better way. Thank you for changing our hearts so that we want to obey you. Help us to respond to correction quickly even when it’s difficult. Thank you for being with us every step of the way. Amen.