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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

A Desert or a Sanctuary?

How many times have we, brimming with good spiritual intentions, tried to focus on what God wanted to say only to hear the questioning, undermining voice of our worst enemy. WeI shouldn’t be surprised. After all, it happened to Jesus. Looking for isolation, he went into the wilderness expecting to hear from His Father. Instead, the first voice was from his enemy.

My isolated place isn’t a desert until the wrong voices fill my head. What was supposed to be a sacred place turns quickly into a place of self-doubt and discouragement because the wrong person is asking the questions.

Who are you? Why do you think you can do this? Where do you think you are headed? What makes you think you’ll get there?

For that reason, I cannot allow my Quiet Circle (Don't know what a Quiet Circle is? Read my explanations in Do You Need a Quiet Circle? and Quiet Please! ) to invite the wrong person to speak. This is not a New Age practice of meditation that empties me to sit in a pool of utter nothingness. Satan knows how to fill empty places. Instead, I must quickly use my inner quiet to focus on the One, whose voice I want to hear.

I use a simple exercise to remind myself that I want to recognize God's voice so that I can listen to Him and not confuse His voice with other voices that invade my mind. I rehearse a litany of his characteristics. Without thinking, my mind goes to the characteristics I most need from God. I have also used the powerful list in Psalm 103 to guide my thinking to specific characteristics of God as shared in His Word. My list goes something like this:

You are my Creator, my Protector, my shield, my hiding place, my healer, my redeemer, my all-present, all-knowing, all-seeing one.

When my heart and mind are ready to move forward, I affirm what those characteristics mean to me:

There is nothing you do not know about me. There is no love you withhold from me. ince you know what will happen, you are the only one who can prepare me for what awaits. Your always-right resources are my strength.

There is a rhythm surfacing. What I know is true about God because personal and need-meeting. I am ready to listen.

It is here I can refute any enemy voice. It is here my quiet place becomes sanctuary. It is here that I can receive reprimand or caution, as well as direction and affirmation. I am loved. Completely loved. There is nothing my God could say to me that does not come from His love. Because I know this, I can listen with a hungry heart. I can listen, even if He has nothing to say. Even if we just sit together in the deep and fullfulling intimacy of being with the One who knows everything about me and still loves me better than anyone else.

I hope you already know this, but if you don’t; draw a quiet circle around yourself. Rehearse your list of who God is and how He demonstrates those characteristics in your life. Then, listen. When He knows you are ready to hear what He has been waiting to say to you, you will be surprised how perfect it targets some need.

I’m always excited to share in your discoveries. Shared journeys make a big difference!

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