Monday’s post was a huge failure.
Actually, I was pretty blown away by many of the responses as usual to the question of “what makes you feel like a failure.” Turns out that, as usual, I was right and a lot more people feel like failures than internet chatter would have you believe. All the boasting and bragging just makes a lot of people feel like they’re the only “failures” out there.
I think failure is such a big topic that I’m going to run with it. Let’s talk about mistakes and failures and faux pas we make as Christians, ministers, parents, as people.
Today’s fail topic is this: Christians love to “hear from God.” That means we pray to God, we sing songs, and we hope God will speak, tell us what to do, confirm something, “open a door” or give a blessing. We think God is talking to everyone, because there’s so many people who seem to hear so clearly from Him, just like on Monday we talked about how God seems to be blessing everyone but us.
I’ve already told you that I think God is not giving out life plans like magic beans. But I also think a lot of us are hearing less from God than we want to admit. And because of that, we feel like failures.
Well, turns out God told me three things when it comes to hearing from Him.
Commandment #1: Shut up
I really think this should’ve been the first commandment. As a teacher, I love kids. But I cannot believe how convinced children are that they need to run their mouths constantly. How can they believe that what they are saying is so absolutely important that it must be spoken right this moment, and very loudly? I think today’s children have lost the fine art of their ancestors of “being seen and not heard.” Sure, we say that silence is golden, but we don’t teach children the value of silence. Every toy a child possesses is now able to speak inane, repetitive phrases indoctrinating them with ideas that Disney characters somehow love them. Somewhere, a scientist is developing a set of Lincoln Logs that talk…and have googly eyes for some reason.
And for many children, the habit never dies. Their mouths are constantly open. You may think I’ve just been ranting about schoolchildren, but I do have a point here. Oftentimes, I think our prayers, programs, schedules, sermons and even worship is so loud, so constant that God can’t get a word in edgewise.
Even our begging God to speak is too loud. God will speak when He’s good and ready. Sometimes, I think God is just about to speak, and then He gets cut off with a “Speak to me, Lord!” And it’s the last interruption He can take, so He just gives up on talking for another hundred years.
What is a normal conversation with God?
Okay, you can’t expect God to follow a pattern and speak to everyone the same amount. But we’ve got to get over the idea that God is obligated to speak to us every day. When we look around and believe that everyone is hearing from God on a daily basis, we feel like failures. Either my prayers aren’t “working” on God, or God has just given up on me because I’m such a failure.
Look at King David. Did God talk to David all the time like a talking Elmo doll, whenever David pulled the string? No. David talks all the time about how he feels God is ignoring him! When David’s life goes all Jerry Springer with Bathsheeba, God certainly talks then. He puts David in his place for acting like a hormonal teenager, and after God spoke to him…twice!
Twice? God spoke to David twice? And that constitutes a relationship? Yep. Turns out God talked to Abraham, and then didn’t show back up for twenty years. Talk about an awkward pause.
If you asked your preacher how often he hears from God, and he said he’s heard from him twice in his whole life, you would tell him he’s a failure. Chances are, there are some of you who can’t remember the last time you heard from God, so you feel like failures.
God doesn’t use Twitter.
Know what else grinds my gears when it comes to kids? When they’re constantly asking questions that I have no answers or interest in. I give them one answer. It isn’t good enough. They throw it away and ask another question. I know, learning is a miracle. But I think God wants us to dwell a bit on what He says before we move on. God doesn’t use Twitter.
What do you want God to say? Has He already said it? Like, I don’t know…in the Bible? I think God got sick of repeating himself back in the Old Testament. If He’s already said it, don’t ask him to say it again. He probably won’t. Then you’ll start to forget what He said to begin with, and you’ll feel like a failure.
What did you do the last time God spoke? If I know God, chances are He said something you didn’t like. I don’t like half the things God says to me. Do you talk to people who argue with you all the time?
Obviously, God isn’t the greatest conversationalist in the world. A first date with God would be pretty slow. But I think that’s just the way He is. And people who claim to hear Him constantly blabbing on and on about God-knows-what are probably talking to themselves a bit. You ever met one of those people who only hear what they want to hear?
So, I don’t hear from God every day. Most days, He lets me go on my merry way. But I do feel self conscious. When I meet a Christian who seems to hear from God every day, I flip out a little bit. I wonder why God is playing favorites. Or I wonder what I’m doing wrong. Basically, I feel like a failure.
What about you? Has it been a while since God talked? Do you feel left out? Can you remember the last thing God said to you?