On one trip to Selby Gardens, I felt drawn to the far southwest corner where the gardens and Sarasota Bay come together. This spot opens up to breath taking views and sounds of the waves gently brushing the seawall. As lovely as it may be, when I am seeking silence and solitude, it is not my favorite place to go. Several benches encourage garden gazers to take respite from their meandering. Guest tend to congregate and linger as they enjoy the view. I reluctantly gave way to the sense of this is where I needed to go. Upon my arrival, the spot was vacant to me alone. Immediately, I repositioned a bench between a palm tree and the metal rail the only thing separating me from the water. Making myself at home, I nestled in for precious time with God.
I have been reading/singing/praying through the Psalms lately, a new approach to the Psalms for me. I was on Psalm 29. It only took me until verse 3 to know why I was sitting with a wide open view of the bay. “The voice of the LORD rolls over the water…The LORD shouts over raging water.”
I was coming from a place where over the past few months the evil one’s voice had been relentless. Even though I knew it was him lying to me, taunting me and trying to bring me down; I had grown very weary. This day at Selby was an attempt to regroup and refocus my attention towards God and His voice.
The enemy attacks the very thing about us which God wants to use. I had an experience similar once before. It was the year our Women’s Ministry led the women in a journey to “Believing God.”(That God was who He said He was and would do what He said He would do.) That year the voice was unyielding in saying things like, “this is too much, you can’t do this, it will fail, you need to stop leading women’s ministry.” There were many times, I was on the verge of listening to that voice, but the truth around me had another message and I did not comply.
The past few months have rivaled that year, only the voices this time have attacked more specifically my leadership. The attacks have come through a few choices I judged to be poor, while other voices have come directly out of the mouths of individuals. The voice of the evil one once again was relentless and intent on tearing me down. Weary and worn, I sat on that bench
“The voice of the LORD rolls over the water…The LORD shouts over raging water. The voice of the LORD is powerful. The voice of the LORD is majestic… The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the LORD makes the wilderness tremble… The voice of the LORD splits the oaks.” (Psalm 29:3,4,5,8, 9)
“What does your voice say to me?” I asked. The Holy Spirit flooded my mind with reminders of the multiple people over the past few months who spoke contrary to the messages attacking my leadership. I remembered how God had spoken to me countless times through a myriad of individuals who specifically affirmed my leadership and how God was using me. He reminded me it was His gift to me for His purposes. He revealed to me how it was prideful of me and it was a lack of trust when I chose to focus on choices I deemed poor. Those choices do not define me rather my giving these moments back to Him in trust for He is strong through my weaknesses. I was convicted of taking on responsibilities for outcomes that were greater than me and were God and only God’s responsibilities. I began a very therapeutic process of letting myself and others off of my hook and placing them on God’s Hook.
The Voice rolled over the waters that day and washed over me, restoring my soul for the journey ahead. He showed me how he had shouted out at me over the raging water noise of the evil one. God’s voice began to strike my weariness from the battle like lightening and burn it off into ashes. God’s voice split apart the mighty oak trees of lies that the evil one had tried to plant in my life.
I wonder if anyone else struggles with the voice of the evil one raging in their ears trying to attack the very heart of what God wants to use in your life. To tear down your mothering, your witness at work, your going back to school, your former lifestyle that God has transformed. The evil one’s voice may be ruthless, but tune your ears to the Voice of God. What does His word say? What do the other’s in your life say, whom you can trust to speak the truth?
In the battle of the voices, the mind that is fixed on God’s truth in our life is the only thing that will bring us through. And the promise affixed to listening to His Voice comes at the end of Psalm 29, “The LORD will give strength to his people. The LORD will bless his people with peace.”
The voices in our lives can be powerful, but we do have a choice as to which voice we listen. I pray we all choose to listen to
(Psalm 29 exert taken from, God’s Word Translation)