If you ever wonder about the Indwelling Spirit of God and what He might be saying to you, the first thing to know is that His voice in our minds is usually the one we respond to this way, “Oh! No! I couldn’t do that!” as we dismiss what He whispers to us. So the first thing to know about the Holy Spirit is that He doesn’t think like we do.
The second thing to know is that we often can’t hear His “gentle whisper”[1 Kings 19:12] because the voices in our own minds are so loud and commanding to us. They are trying to make up for what we thought we lacked since we were little children. If your mind is like mine, it wants you to pay attention to other people and the culture more than you pay attention to yourself. My mind was full of self-doubt and other’s opinion of me—a projection for sure—until I was able to step back from the thoughts I have and not get emotionally involved in them. I became an observer of my thoughts and learned a lot about what they were trying to get me to do.
They are definitely a distraction from the deeper self where our created self, our soul and our spirit lie. As long as we are a captive of the thoughts that have been with us for a life-time, we cannot begin to live out the potential that God created in us to be fully human in His service. As long as we are embroiled in them, they rule our lives. It is as we begin to observe them and to stand back from their influence that we can see what has driven us since we were four or five or six. These thoughts come from the guilt and shame we felt from not being able to obey our parents as time and again we failed to come up to their standards. And so we learned to be outer-referenced instead of inner-referenced by the Holy Spirit.
After a while of observing the way we think and respond to life, we begin to see the patterns and the “old friends” that we have lived with all our lives: the fear, the anger, the doubts that drive us. As we observe them and begin to understand them, they cease to have the power over us that they have always had.
I hate to tell you that they don’t go away. I can still be anxious to “Be on time!” today, but then all I have to do is to relax and the urge subsides in me, because I know that I will be on time or maybe even a little early—I was that well trained by my parents! We can be free of the influence of our thoughts.
As these voices cease to engage our emotions and attention, we can begin to hear God’s Indwelling Spirit and what He is leading us to. And as we follow that quiet voice within us, we can experience how well He knows us and calls us to do what is fulfilling for us. Every single thing that He has suggested to me over the years has been self-affirming of who I am created to be. And that is how we can begin to feel His love for us.
It is so fulfilling to follow His suggestions. I’ve come to think of them as schooling me to be my true self, as opposed to my ego self. And then, I can be more truly myself, not what I think someone else wants me to be. I expect this school to last the rest of my life, as I learn to let go of what stands between me and God and to take on the tasks that lead me to my truer, freer self. It’s been such a great journey so far; I can’t wait to see what is in store for me next!