When God Talks

Inspiration is a tricky thing, and, at least for me, the muse is always elusive. Recently, quite unbidden and utterly unexpectedly, the sky split open and gave me a downpour of light and inspiration. I hadn’t realized the fog had gradually gotten so cottony and thick around my spirit; but there it was, suddenly blown away by the shocking and beautiful flood of light. This appears to be my pattern with the divine. There are people who seem to carry quiet, constant inspiration with them, on a slow drip like irrigation pipes under straw on a hot summer day. I used to wonder what was wrong that I didn’t always feel the small but companionable whispering. It would make me question my faith.

But I’ve been at this long enough and have accumulated enough experiences to know that’s just not how the Lord communicates with me. It’s not a fault, as I once imagined, nor is it a shortcoming- rather, it’s a certainly that this relationship with me is personal, unique to me- as it must be to everyone. The Lord lets me go my merry way— my spiritual life almost arid and cerebral—and then when I least expect it, he opens the faucet, turns the floodgate, unzips the clouds, kicks over the table, and throws open every window in the house. All at once. For a few moments, I am drowning in light, gasping for breath, spiritually running for every dish and pitcher I can find to catch the downpour. In this deluge, there are answers, prayers, and soul-searing guidance I may have been seeking for months– or even for years.

Then, just as abruptly, it stops. Like a garden after a warm summer thunderstorm, I am drenched, dripping with sustenance- in the aftermath there is clarity and direction and inspiration and communion. Dazed, I look around, wondering what was caught in the ewers and bowls, and knowing this will overfill my lamp. There is no drip irrigation in my garden; there is down-pour. There is no slow, steady whispering of direction- there are overflowing rain-barrels, providing everything needed for the long seasons ahead, whatever season that may be.

These unique interactions with the divine speaks to the personal nature of God in ways little else can. While I may not have had the tangible ability to understand my innate aesthete, even as a child, God knew. He knew how my mind worked, how my spirit would best be touched, and what I would need to to be inspired, to look where my gaze was needed, and to find my way home.  He knew a constant slow feed wouldn’t grow me into the person I needed to be. Awareness of this also brings into focus that which nourishes me, might drown another, and what would leave me withering on the vine might be exactly what my sister or brother needs.

We have words we use to speak of the divine— I use them myself with varied success, and ply them as my trade— but words are necessarily barriers. For something to be understood, it must also be understood what it is not. For me, this overwhelming sensory experience of the divine, outside of words and for a very brief series of moments outside of time, sears and seals light into my soul in ways nothing else could or can. In the middle of the rain is where my heart is set afire.

Comments

  1. Jason K. says:

    Wow, Tracy, two fantastic posts in such a short time–a downpour indeed! Especially important to this one is the recognition that things work differently for different people, and that’s okay. Thanks for this.

  2. Wow, indeed!

  3. Love you Tracy M. This is beautiful.

  4. Shawn H says:

    Ditto. It always leaves me struggling during the long dry season. I guess we’re like the African savannah – we know the rainy season will come and we will again bloom. Thanks for this. I’m in my dry season and needed to be reminded the rains will come again.

  5. janiecej says:

    Lovely, Tracy. Thanks.

  6. it's a series of tubes says:

    but words are necessarily barriers. For something to be understood, it must also be understood what it is not. For me, this overwhelming sensory experience of the divine, outside of words and for a very brief series of moments outside of time

    Exactly Thanks, Tracy.

  7. Wonderful! Beautifully expressed. Thank you for sharing this in your unique and lovely voice.

  8. Beautiful! Outside of words. Indeed! This is how it comes and the words we attempt to wrap around the concepts we’ve been given are often inadequate for the job..

  9. David Elliott says:

    Thanks for sharing your spiritual cornucopia. Your “Unbreakable” post and now this are potentially game-changing insights.

  10. This week has been a pouring out of spiritual thoughts here, in large measure thanks to you, Tracy. High five.

  11. Thanks for your insight, Tracy. I wholeheartedly agree that our relationship with the divine is uniquely personal and that there’s no one-size-fits-all. You reminded me of a visiting GA in our stake a few years back. When on assignment with members of the Twelve he likes to ask them how they receive/recognize revelation, and they have each given a different answer.

  12. Thank you Tracy. This has given me much food for thought. I might be the slow drip type, a blessing that I am repeatedly in awe of and profoundly grateful for. This has helped me understand the way others’ natures require them to interact with the heavens.

  13. Clay Cook says:

    Very good read thanks. Your last comment , “For something to be understood, it must also be understood what it is not. For me, this overwhelming sensory experience of the divine, outside of words and for a very brief series of moments outside of time, sears and seals light into my soul in ways nothing else could or can” made me think of “Synesthesia” the ability to see music and or hear colors. Perhaps the spirit works on all ats of the brain if only we can be open to other forms of communication. Maybe that is how or why shamans often speak of taking animal spirit guides.

  14. J. Stapley says:

    The first Saints to enter the desert valley had been accustomed to planting their seeds and leaving them be. Regular rain watered their crops. Not so in their new home.

  15. Beautifully written. Thank you.

  16. Antonio Parr says:

    Priceless.

  17. Leonard R says:

    Beautiful. Add my thanks to the mix.

  18. For me, revelation is almost always associated with a few things –
    -How much I am filled with love and serving and looking up others with charity
    -The effort I’m putting into studying gospel (scriptures + sermons by authorities)
    -The effort I’m putting into magnifying my calling(s) – not just even “doing it” but really pondering what is best and putting my heart into doing something for/with others rather than just teaching class, administering a program,etc.
    -The effort I’m putting into mission work
    * attending church, paying tithing, etc. are almost the entry level bare minimums, I almost forget to include it, but I’m sure if I didn’t do these things the following wouldn’t apply.

    It is my experience that when I’m doing that well (which necessarily means the gospel pretty much has become my focus, keeping in mind that point 1 also, but is not limited to, family) the problem is not receiving inspiration, or discerning the will of the lord but rather I receive more inspiration than I can act on and record.

    When I’ve lived my life in accordance with that “list” (not really a list, but an attitude and a state of being) I can not point to a single day in which I do not receive revelation.

    Sometimes I think we mis-use the “looking through a glass darkly” bit. We really can came to know God and a constant source of inspiration. It just involves reordering our priorities and becoming a different sort of person.

  19. MDearest says:

    What you describe is commonplace in a desert. I’m a life-long desert rat, I know. Thank you for your words without words, they nourish me.

  20. Too brilliant for words. I actually haven’t found a rhyme or reason or pattern to how revelation works in my life yet, but I definitely appreciated the opportunity to peek over the fence.

  21. DQ, are you saying that everyone could or should receive revelation the same way you do?

  22. Revelation is pure grace for me. I never earn it. I certainly don’t deserve it.

  23. As I look at the history of the church, I think revelation is pure grace for the First Presidency and Q of 12 as well. They/we struggle over so many issues. Then at times, the answer comes.

  24. Dear God in Heaven, thank you for Tracy M. Sincerely.

  25. Great post! I love hearing how different people receive revelation. It helps me better understand the spirit. It is also so important when people ARE so individual. we have a fairly tight and vague concept of what inspiration looks like, I like opening it up so that others don’t have to go through the process of assuming God isn’t speaking to them just because “burning
    in bosom” or “peace” isn’t clear or descriptive of their experience.

    In my every day life it can be more like having the wind at my back.

    In my studies it tends to be connections and bringing things to my remembrance.

    With my children it can be slightly small little whisperings or just the patience to not kill them.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,475 other followers