Shedding the layers…

Winter is around the corner and I cannot wait!  Leggings, sweaters, sweatshirts, boots, snuggling under blankets with a warm beverage in my hand…I can envision it now!  The heat no longer a factor in my daily living and with much hope I am anticipating my POTS symptoms calming down a bit.  I even want to go and sit outside and breathe in the cool air.  This indoor chick has had about all she can take cooped up in the house waiting for the heat to pass.

With POTS, I always have an extra layer of clothing on because I wear compression hose every day 24/7.  When I take them off, I start getting dizzy and my arms and legs begin going numb.  I sleep in them, shower in them, and then switch to the next pair.  But this morning, my legs were begging me for a break!  My doctor had just told me to take them off once a day for about 30 minutes while in bed with my legs elevated. So, I decided to give it a try.  I couldn’t believe it!  Those sheets were so soft and gentle on my skin.  I could not  go back to sleep because I couldn’t get over how awesome it felt to not have that layer of fabric between my legs and the sheets!  I had forgotten what it felt like to live without compression hose on 24/7.

I think the easiest comparison would be going to the beach.  You know that moment when you finally sit down in your chair and place your feet in the sand?  You hear the waves crashing, the wind is blowing, and for a moment it’s pure bliss.  But what if you had to wear tennis shoes instead of having your bare feet in the sand?  It would be a totally different sensation yet the same exact circumstance.  The only difference would be the layer of rubber between your feet and the sand.  And because of the one layer, your experience would be different.

I have been thinking a lot about how Jesus speaks to us through numerous avenues. He can use any circumstance or experience to speak His word to our hearts. Sometimes we recognize it’s Him immediately, while other times we have to be cognizant of His whisperings.  Recently I spoke with a friend who feels like she is completely lost and cannot hear God at all.  She is having a crisis of faith because she feels as though the heavens have shut.  I believe this is common for many believers.  It’s not because they are not sincere, but often it’s because of all the layers they are carrying around.  We become consumed with everything going on around us that His whisperings are lost in the hustle and bustle.  We fill our calendars with continuous events fearful we will miss out on something.  We fill our minds with news feeds, useless information, along with 24/7 internet access and then wonder why we cannot focus on anything.  We are on information overload and it’s no surprise we can’t hear God’s voice and direction.  We mistake His gentle whisper for silence.

“Then Elijah was told, ‘Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God.  God will pass by.’  A hurricane wind ripped though the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.  When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, ‘So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?’ ”     1 Kings 19:11-13

Sometimes He is in the hurricane, earthquake, and fire, but other times those are only distractions that keep us from hearing His gentle whisper.  What if we are going around thinking our entire situation needs to change, when really it’s only an aspect of our situation that needs redirecting?  What if we are hopping from beach to beach trying to find the place where we can put our feet in the sand, and we are simply meant to remove one layer…our shoes?  Layering for winter is fun stylistically, but layering internally is dangerous.  I know many times we place walls around our hearts from past hurts.  I also know, some of the layers we hold onto most tightly, are the exact layers if removed, will bring clarity and hope to our situation.  The world may not be a safe space to remove your internal layers, but in the presence of Christ you are completely safe and protected.  You may find that you are exactly where God wants you to be. If you are willing to allow Him into every facet of your life, He can remove those layers that are hindering you from hearing His gentle whisper.

His whisper may be quiet, but it is powerful!  It is life-giving!  When He speaks His word into your heart, hope begins to rise!  You may have many layers to work through or it may be as simple as me removing my compression hose.  One layer made all the difference!  So remove your shoes and allow your toes to be in the sand.  You may even find the place you are standing is holy ground.  When He removes those layers, He doesn’t leave you empty.  He empowers you to face whatever circumstance is ahead, and gives you grace beyond measure.  Maybe it’s just time to reassess what is holding you back.  We don’t always need to be rescued from our circumstance.  Sometimes, it’s about living the fullness of life, exactly where you are planted.  Allow those layers to be removed in the presence of a Holy God. It is then you can determine the gentle whisperings of our Savior and realize He has not been silent.  But rather He is speaking gently to your heart if only you will allow Him full reign.

 

 

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