“How do you two do it?”
The counselor that evaluated my husband Joey and me for our future in church planting grimisced while dissecting the results he held on his clipboard. We had taken personality tests, psychological evaluations, shared our entire family history- all in hopes of (maybe) starting our own church in the future. The results of our couple’s evaluation would decide if we were “fit” to receive the funds needed to create a church from scratch.
By the look on his face, the odds were NOT in our favor.
“What do you mean?” we asked the counselor, confused.
“I mean, HOW is your marriage, really? By looking at your chart, you should not be great. I mean, the parts of you that are alike? They are COMPLETELY alike. But the traits that are the opposite? You are each on the furthest end of the graph, spiraling away from each other. You should not work well together. I don’t know how you do it…”
Nothing speaks life into your marriage like a professional counselor telling you all signs point to “Crazytown.”
But the counselor was right. My husband Joey and I are incredibly alike. We are both extroverted, outspoken, and the “life of the party.” Our home is a constant flurry of movement, games, and always LOUD. But by the end of the day? All that energy wanes and we find ourselves quietly reading or simply staring at the ceiling, deep in thought. The “life of the party” is much less “alive” come 10pm.
These opposing facets of our personalities work to balance us. We are silly and obnoxious, but also pensive and wise. Our personalities are multi-dimensional, one characteristic never “better” than another. All are needed to balance us + anchor us to who we were created to be in Christ.
We are complex creatures who are not easily defined or boxed-in,
as is the God who made us.
We see his power displayed in grandeur through pillars of fire and seas divided, but we also find him in small whispers and gentle breezes. His character spans beyond what we understand and more than we often choose to experience.
I had felt God in the comfort of a still voice for years. His gentle conviction, his quiet strength… It was all so familiar to me! Comfortable and reliable. When I prayed for more of God in my life, what I didn’t know was I was asking to see His complexity. My quiet God shifted into a booming voice, his love now on display for all to see. It was as if I could touch, taste, and see God all around me, in everything I did. And I realized that day-
I had never seen GOD as the “Life of the Party.”
He was always a quiet introvert in my mind. This new way I saw God excited me!! Who knew He could be SUCH the cool kid?! I gravitated towards this new side of Him as I relished every moment of our time together. It was a scary-awesome thrill ride.
Then one day, He wasn’t quite as loud. The spiritual party slowed and everyone seemed to head home. God returned to his quiet self, reminding me gently that He was still in control and not going anywhere.
I was not pleased.
“But God!! We were having so much FUN! Can’t we keep going? Why do you have to be quiet again??”
…and then I remembered:
My God is a complex creature with many different sides, none better than the other. Even though I was loving the loud, I knew I needed his quiet. That quiet deepened my faith and drew me in closer.
It is in the quiet that I depend on His presence, and not my perception.
Isn’t that what faith is all about? That while I love God’s high-energy expression of power, I also crave his calming comfort. He is not loud OR quiet. He is not simple OR complex. He is not one OR the other.
He is ALL.
All sides of his intricate character equally fill me and strengthen me. He is never quiet to confuse me or to tempt me. In fact, He is ALWAYS communicating with me… and you, too. The volume may be turned down, or we may need to listen through a different method, but God is not teasing us or hiding from us. He is growing us.
So when we feel like cannot hear God’s voice, we first evaluate the state of our heart:
Do I need to confess anything?
Have I been refusing to hear God’s voice, even unintentionally?
Does the way I entertain myself (television/music/games/phone) drown out the sound of his voice?
Pray these questions and sit a bit. Let it get uncomfortable. Sometimes it is unconfessed sin that has built a wall between us and God. Let Him clean up your heart and remember these truths:
He is always there.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
He wants you to speak to you (and restore you) in the quiet time you spend with Him.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he (Jesus) said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
He is trustworthy.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
When He seems to be missing, He is not. He may be revealing a new side of his character that you haven’t experienced yet. Learning what God sounds and looks like can take time! When you question whether He hears you, whether He cares, whether He is truly the God he claims to be-
Seek the silence where you can hear ONLY His voice, no matter how quiet it may be.