Tag Archives: God speaks

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: (My journey through Psalms 139)

I remember the first time I heard the song “Every Breath You Take” by Sting and the Police. The tune is so incredibly familiar it is easy to start singing and not even realize the words you are saying, but I’ve always been fascinated by words, so halfway through the song, I was kind of like…what on Earth am I singing about. This is not what love is. Is it?

The idea of one person claiming that ‘Oh can’t you see, you belong to me,” is a little disconcerting, to say the least. Even in a committed relationship, I personally wouldn’t want to belong to someone, which would imply that I am some sort of possession to be had. Be a part of someone, sure. Be someone’s other half, yeah I get that. Become one with someone, yes! That’s what God intended, but to belong to someone? That sounds morbidly obsessive and having them watch everything I do, now that’s downright stalker material there. Creepy.

So why, when I read Psalm 139, does this song come to mind? Maybe it is verse 7-10a, Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there, if I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there…

“Every step I take, Every move I make…Every vow I break…”

Now I am aware that Sting had no intention of writing this song to be a spiritual allegory (it’s actually, I believe about his jealous ex that he fled to the Caribbean to avoid if I’m not mistaken), but like most things if shifted into a certain perspective, I can hear God speaking through it.

Because God does watch us, not because he is obsessively jealous (although even he admits to being a jealous God when we begin worshiping anything besides him), but because we are created in his image and he loves us. Psalm 139 is a beautiful reminder of His involvement in every aspect of our lives. Because, beloved, we do belong to him, and that can be so very terrifying, but also so very comforting when we realize what his motivation is in loving us so fully and completely.

This song is not a perfect parallel by any means, but God speaks to use in wonderful and strange ways…we just have to be willing to listen when he does. 

What God Taught Me in Slovakia

Shut up and dance with me.

While this is a lyric to a rather popular pop song by Walk the Moon, it is also the most valuable lesson God taught me while I was in Slovakia this summer. Actually, to make things more interesting, He continues to teach me this lesson at home, which is why I haven’t actually been able to write about Slovakia until now.

Now I realize that the pop song is more about teenage hormones than spiritual enlightenment, but God is pretty cool and can speak through, well, anything, including this.

I have a serious problem. I am nearly thirty-one years old and in my heart I think I can out plan God. I have a plan A, a plan B, a contingency plan for both plan A and plan B and just in case those don’t work out I have a backup for those.

Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but that’s pretty much how I’ve lived my life. Risk managed and assessed carefully.

That’s the way I started out the summer. I planned carefully for every English lesson for my class. I talked it over with the right people. I printed out the materials. I had it all packed perfectly. I knew what the plan was. My plan.

And then God told me to Shut up.

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Cassie and Karolina at KECY site

Did you know that God says shut up? He does. I mean, I think people put God inside this box and think that he is super polite all the time with like fluttering eyelashes as He says ‘Be still, my child.’ And sure. He says that. But how many children do you know always listen to that tone?

Sometimes God has to get real. And he DID. He told me straight up to SHUT UP.

Now, when God tells you to shut up, my advice is…shut up. Because I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t. At first. I kept trying to plan and arrange and ignore…

But He said it again.

Shut up.

I had run out of plans. At a loss, I did what I was told (finally). And that’s when I heard the rest of God’s command.

Shut up and dance with ME.

That was kind of a shock. Because I am NOT a dancer. I move my head a little to a beat. And every once in a while when I have maybe a drink or two I’ll shake my white girl hips a little, and look absolutely ridiculous. But I have the rhythm of a three legged sloth so I DON’T DANCE.

Shutting up was bad enough, but dancing?

But here’s the thing. God wasn’t asking me to shake my white girl  hips. He wanted me to dance with HIM. If you know anything about dancing, you know that it can be beautifully sexist (oxymoron?) and all a woman truly needs a strong male lead.

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Laura Troutman, Sarah Troutman and Ashley (me!) Carmichael in Bratislava (Picture credit to Sarah and Will Troutman)

Oops.

Shut up and dance with me had nothing to do with MY abilities or MY plans or even MY wants. God simply wanted me to shut up and let Him lead.

And when you let God lead—You shut up and let Him just move, you realize just how awesome He really is. God’s going to move when He wants to. I saw evidence of that in Slovakia in the Slovak leaders, in the students, in the changes, in the conversations—both English and Slovak—, in our American team, in traveling God moves. The thing is when I shut up, HE gets the glory HE deserves and I actually get to dance with Him, not around Him.

And then He taught me about myself, about what it means to communicate and be godly. He showed me my heart. He showed me others’ hearts. More importantly I listened as He spoke.

And a funny thing about dancing with God…once you start, you just don’t want to stop. Now that’s a destiny worth pursuing.

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KECY camp 2016 in Prozina, Slovakia