In my last post, I discussed choices, using two people’s horrific experiences to showcase the power of our ability to choose. Today’s post is my personal experience about making a series of choices over a span of several years. I never cease to be amazed by the way God makes connections.
I’ve been part of a local church since I was two-years old. Although I realize no fellowship is perfect, I love my family of faith. Many of my deepest and dearest relationships have been developed in that setting.
If you have been or currently are involved in a church, you realize people attending come with a variety of passions, preferences and personalities—the perfect ingredients for conflict.
Several years ago, music in Evangelical churches changed significantly. Many new Christ-followers were musically gifted but had never been part of a traditional setting where hymns were the musical choices in Sunday services.
I remember well those days of change and passion-filled protests concerning music. I disliked the disagreements and one day determined I would NEVER complain about music in church.
My resolve to NEVER complain was tested a few months ago when we attended church in another location. I loved the friendly, multi-generational and multi-ethnic congregation. But, oh my, the music was so loud that even my husband, an old rock-and-roller, told me afterward that when the decibel level of the music causes his shirt to vibrate, that’s too loud for him!
I became aware of my critical thoughts about not only the loudness but because the worship band kept repeating the refrain from a Hillsong tune, “I Am Who You Say I Am,” which didn’t seem to make sense.
While I wrestled with critical thoughts about the music vs. my commitment about complaining, I believe it was the Spirit who reminded me of 2 Corinthians 10:5: “…take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
While I was trying to do just that, it seemed the Spirit also spoke into my spirit as the band once again interjected the song that seemed not to fit, “You are who I say you are?” I had no clue what the loud-music tug-of-war and spiritual encounters meant until the next morning when my husband and I traveled over a heavily trafficked two-lane mountain pass highway.
I dislike two-lane roads because of a near-fatal car accident when I was 23 years old that happened on a two-lane highway. My face was smashed into a steel dashboard causing extensive head and facial injuries. I don’t remember the actual accident, but every time I travel on a two-lane highway, I feel deep inner tension and know my subconscious remembers.
I also dislike heights. With the combination of two-lane highway and mountain heights, I felt the familiar fear building big time. Then I heard again the voice from yesterday. This time the voice’s message spoke into my spirit these words:
“You are strong and courageous!”
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Since that trip, I’ve traveled over other mountain passes and on two-lane highways. Each time, I’ve experienced the truth of this scripture.
Recalling these unusual incidents, I’m reminded our choices make a difference. The choice I made many years ago to avoid complaining; the choice to listen to that gentle voice of the Spirit; the choice to corral my irritable—even justifiable—thoughts. Combined, these choices led to the blessing of at least a level of freedom from trauma that’s been buried in my subconscious for a very long time.
I’m not yet ready for a drive up the Going to the Sun Highway in Glacier National Park, but if I do muster the nerve to do so, I know one thing: My prayer of affirmation on both the way up and way down will be:
Thank you, God, for telling me that who you say I am is Strong and Courageous!
Blessings as you consider your choices…