I find myself studying peace often, mainly because it is something we are called to live in and it’s more of a challenge for me than other things. As you know by now, one of my biggest temptations is fear. Fear is the big guy that stomps on and destroys any existing ounce of peace, which is exactly why I have to seek God for peace. On. the. regular.
I find that most times, I lose peace because I choose to do something that wasn’t God’s will for me in the first place. After the fact, I’ll be sitting there lost like, “why did I even go there?” “why did I watch that movie?” “why did I read that article?” Almost always, I ignored the small feeling in my Spirit telling me not to do it, writing it off as a voice from me and overlooking the fact that it was a voice from God. When we become believers, we become home for the Holy Spirit. I think one of the enemies tricks is making us believe that when God is speaking to us, it’s really just our conscious. We take God completely out of it and assume that we are leading ourselves. So we sit, waiting for a huge deep audible voice to yell, “Jill. Do not eat the Pinkberry. It will hurt your stomach. You will be on the toilet for the better part of the evening. God has spoken.” When really, before I ordered the Pinkberry I didn’t feel all that right about it…but I wanted it so I ordered it anyway. The more we grow with the Holy Spirit, the more we’re able to recognize that “not feeling right about it” is His way of saying no. He guides us and speaks to us, but we have to tune our ears to Him. I got so sick of screwing up that I began praying this prayer daily. “Lord, please speak to me. If you don’t want me to go, please don’t allow it. If you don’t want me to have it, please make it impossible for me to get it. If you don’t want me to say it, please stir up my Spirit. I only want to do your will.” I have found that the more willing I have become to submit my wants in exchange for God’s will, the more He has led me loud and clear.
Last weekend, my husband and I were supposed to head to good ol’ Las Vegas for the Mayweather/ Alvarez fight. For those of you not interested in boxing (like me) this is like an NSYNC and Spice Girls reunion all wrapped up in one. It has been long anticipated and much planning had gone into this three day event. The night before we were supposed to fly out, we were carrying on with our normal pre-trip routine. I was knee deep in clothes planning both of our outfits, we had checked in for our flight, the toiletries were all drained into carry-on-size bottles, and the alarm was set for our 5am departure. As I washed the last dish in the sink, I felt an immediate and confident feeling in my spirit that we weren’t supposed to go. This had never happened to me before so I was confused and started sorting through my emotions to figure out where this was coming from. “Am I afraid? Do I not want to travel? Are the tickets too expensive?” The check list did nothing but prove that the Lord had spoken to me, and I had no choice but to tell my husband. Oh my goodness. That part was tough. Surprisingly, when I sat him down on the bed and tried to explain exactly what I was feeling and hearing, he closed his eyes for a while and said, “Okay. We won’t go.” It is such an incredible blessing to be able to trust one another and know that the Holy Spirit speaks to us through each other. He told me later that just two minutes before I broke the news to him, a thought popped in his head saying, “I wonder what Jill would do if I told her we weren’t going.” He had written it off as a random thought, but it was confirmed in me. It was a little bit crazy, totally unexpected and a little heart breaking for my husband-not because he was going to be missing out on the fight, but because his character and integrity mean everything to him. The fact that he had already given some friends his word that he would be there and had to call that night and try to explain that we can only follow where the Lord leads just shattered him.
Two days later, we watched the fight from our home-theatre. In the end, the flight we were supposed to be on didn’t explode…there were no shootings at the hotel we were to stay in, and the boxing match wasn’t taken over by terrorists. Sometimes it’s easier to understand why we were shielded from our own plans if tragedy takes place. But even without seeing what we were protected from, just trusting that we were protected is more than enough for me. God loves us enough to speak to us and protect us from things that aren’t in His will for us. He is always speaking, and the more we tune in, the more clearly we hear. How awesome is our God? He loves us that much. I challenge you to always follow peace; to perk your ears up and really pay attention to that funny feeling in your chest. Submit all your plans to the Lord and be truly willing to let them go! He will lead us so much better than we could lead ourselves. I promise.