Does God speak?
I’ve heard that question a hundred times over the years. I’ve asked it. It’s usually in a moment when I’ve poured out my heart and I wonder if God heard me.
Like the other day.
I wanted to help a friend who is in a hard place. I wanted to make everything OK. I wanted to tell her the next step to take.
I wanted to FIX it.
I’ve already confessed more than once that a fixer lives in me. I’ve kicked that fixer out numerous times. She doesn’t come around very often anymore, but sometimes she shows up with all her luggage — ready to move back into my heart.
This was one of those days.
As I prayed about what to do, a message I have taught over the years came to mind. It’s titled “Stay in Your Ranch.” When I teach this message, I draw an imaginary box around my feet.
“This is what our ranch looks like.”
Then I draw another box in front of me. “This is their ranch,” I say, referring to that one we care about.
I draw yet another imaginary box. “This is God’s ranch.”
It’s a message that helps us gain control of what we can do, by giving up what was never our assignment in the first place. It releases that person to make his or her own choices and to grow through them. It allows God’s voice to be louder than our own in that loved one’s ears.
As I prayed, those my own words came back to me.
This was not mine to fix.
Within my “ranch” there was plenty I could do. I could encourage her. I could pray. I could let her know I was near. . . but it wasn’t my job to fix her. It was hers to address, with God’s help.
This was God speaking.
It wasn’t audible.
There was no finger writing on the wall like Daniel 5. I didn’t have a vision like Peter did in Acts 10. Yet it was just as impactful. Just as real. It helped me to take the next step. He brought to remembrance my own words, and in doing so it was an invitation to live them.
God does speak to us, sweet friends.
As we walk with him daily, he speaks. It may be a whisper. It may be digging deep into the Word, holding tight to the truths already in front of us. It may be a praying friend that confirms what is already brewing in your heart.
It may be that as you kneel to pray, having no idea of what to ask, you leave with your burden just a little lighter.
So, how do we listen for his voice?
Listening for God’s voice is often hard for me because there’s so many voices in my ear.
So shutting down everything — all the opinions and advice, my phone, the noise of social media — and giving a small portion of my day to him, that helps me hear.
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Reading his Word. Just opening it and studying one passage. One chapter a week. Not to meet a goal, but to better meet my Heavenly Father. Plant the Word deep inside of you. That helps, too.
Last, just walking with him. We invite him into every part of our life, even the hard parts. The more we walk with him, the more we know when he speaks. It may be faint. It may be loud. It may be peace that makes no sense in the natural. It might be a gentle nudge that says, “Not yet” or “Don’t go there.” We learn to heed that voice. To give it weight.
Maybe you are in a season where it’s hard to hear God’s voice. I’ve been there too. I know it’s hard, but I pray that it will be a place where you will remember every time he’s been faithful, every time you’ve felt him. He’s that same God. He hasn’t changed. He’s not gone anywhere.
Everything he’s ever said is still true, friend.
Hold on to that. Let us pray with you as you do.
The Spirit-Led Heart: Living a Life of Love and Faith Without Borders
When the early church embraced the help of the Holy Spirit, uncertainty became boldness. Fear became courage. Weakness became strength. Jesus promised us the same help. We don’t have to live our faith by ourselves.
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This new community for me since November has been refreshing, timely, Holy Spirit led. The writing speaks to my “fixer” heart but I didn’t know how to word it.
On my knees today as I will give thanks today for Suzanne and staff.
Good morning, Vida. I praise God you found Suzie’s community. We wrap each other in love and encouragement. Enjoy your day and take delight in knowing how much our Savior loves you. Hugs, Michele
Oh Vida, thank you for that. Your prayers are so welcome. I’m grateful!
Suzie 💗 Such a good post.
I’d love to know more about the staying in your ranch teaching and how we could use it with our children.
Jodie, this is the concept. Draw a box around your feet. That’s your ranch. You have full power to work and act from within that ranch. These are things you can do. If your children are young, you can give direction. You can pray for them. You can speak truth (but not truth, and truth, and truth for that is nagging). You can create reasonable consequences. You can enforce those reasonable consequences. You can believe in them when they struggle to believe in themselves. You can live your faith in a way that they see Jesus in you.
Draw a box around your child’s feet. This is their ranch. You are not allowed to climb in their ranch. That might look like fixing their problems so they don’t have to face consequences. That might be trying to force them to think a certain way. That might be trying to make their relationship with Christ be personal. These are all theirs to handle, discover, grow through.
Now, draw a third box. This is God’s ranch. There are things only he can do. He sees the plan for your child. He knows their struggles. We often get into a hard place emotionally and spiritually when we jump into God’s box and try to be God to our children.
In my friend’s instance (the story above) this is a grown person. As I prayed, I saw that box but so narrow — almost as if there was a chalk line around my feet. That is what I was responsible for. That was my box. I couldn’t be God to her and try to fix her. I couldn’t jump into her ranch. There is a lot I can do from my own ranch, but I can’t take on her consequences. I can’t make it all go away. I can’t shorten the healing process. That is hers and God’s to work through. That’s actually freeing. It frees me from working harder than her at this. It frees me from offering words that make me feel better, but really do little to help. It frees me to pray. It frees me to share an encouraging word at the appropriate time.
And then sometimes, that child or spouse or friend will open the gate to their ranch and invite you in. Those are precious times and they only come because you haven’t been camping out in their ranch 24/7. There, you can offer advice if they ask. There, you can pray physically with them. There, you can help them hold the burden for a moment, and then you leave. They shut the gate, and you climb back in your ranch.
I hope that makes sense. It has absolutely saved me in relationships, and helped me allow God to work rather than the fixer who lives inside of me. <3
perfect sense and such useful wisdom! thank you friend.
Thank you Susie for your words of wisdom from our Jesus. I have a “fixer” heart too; God has been speaking to me the last few weeks, that it’s not my job to fix people, but His. That requires me praying and trusting Him, not ME. Such a good visual (my ranch, their ranch, His ranch) to remind myself when I want to step out and “fix” someone. Have a great weekend!
Suzie, Powerful! My study group had that discussion Tuesday! This reinforces what we discussed. I’m excited to share with my ladies. Thank you always.
I also have been a fixer all my life and thought it was my calling to repair everything but as I have grown older I tell that I have lost all my powers
thank goodness I have learned that this is a gift to be relieved of my so called powers and just let God do it for me I guess wisdom does come from above and with age
I am still praying for wisdom daily and will stay in my ranch.
Suzie, I have often thought you and I must be sisters since the words out of your mouth seem to echo my thoughts. I guess we are sisters, In Christ! I have been a fixer-upper all my life, and not like the ones on that TV show. Earlier this year, COMPEL presented a challenge for the writers – write a six word memoir. Well, that was difficult, especially since I am a woman of many words… But God placed my six word memoir on my heart and it seemed to put that ‘fixer upper’ to rest. My words, my mantra, “CAREGIVING – CARELIVING, ACCORDING TO HIS WORD.” God is showing me not everyone is mine to fix or make better. I need to care for myself, as a child of God. All according to Scriptures. During the past few years I have been primary caregiver for my father, living with Alzheimer disease; my husband, living with brain cancer and my mother, who passed away suddenly since this COMPEL challenge. I can now see that during those years, God used me to hold their hands, until HE held them in His arms. Knowing they were mine only for a little while, but His throughout eternity, has helped me see how He continues to use me in shedding His light through my broken places/heart. Continued prayers for you, your family and your ministry, Jackie
Jackie, this is beautiful and insightful. Thank you for sharing. Caregiving isn’t for the faint of heart, so I know you are a woman of courage and resiliency. I’m so thankful you stopped by!
Words I needed to hear … thank you.
This just confirms everything I’ve felt God speaking to my heart. I’ve been “fixing” or trying to for years….
as tears come, I can feel the freedom of letting go. Of knowing I can pray but I do not have to take these burdens on as my own.
I think I was born being a fixer – it gets me in a lot of “trouble”, I’m 84 now it would seem I’d learn by now. I’m a little better – do not have the energy at this age. I do have a “problem” I need prayer for – I pray for myself but if would help if I knew “all you all” are praying for me. Problem: A woman at our church wrote me a hateful message on face book – this was Jan. 2017 – I forgive her because of her ignorance of putting anything in writing like that. Give the devil his dues – I know Bill Gothard has had his problems – one think I learned from his siminars do not put anything in writing – speak the person in person. When someone says: you know I love you but . . . watch out. I have to see her at church or any of the functions that I attend – I do not look in her direction, do not speak. I just can’t forget the ugly things she said even to accusing me of being untruthful of all my faults I’m not a liar. Of course I read the message more than once – like I almost have it memorized. I wake up at night thinking about it. Please pray for me that I will forget about this. I just this woman would evaporate and I would not have to see her again. Thank you for listening. So glad I found your site. Rose
Dear Rose.. my heart ‘hurts’ for you especially since you are in my age bracket.. you said you’re 84 and I’m 78.. I* learned a long time a go.. the secret of letting go and Letting God take over my hurts.. my bitterness.. my not-so-Christ-like-attitudes.. etc.. with a simple .. very simple.. method.. first of all.. I pray for the person who offended me.. or lied about me\etc.. this actually happened to me… when negative statements went out about me. (from this lady) .all over the computer to all the ladies in our Bible Study.. it truly was hurtful..\but I knew that IF I hung onto. the hurt. . and didn’t forgive I’d be suffering and most importantly I would be cutting myself off from clearly hearing the Holy spirit guide me. SO.. i did what I’ve learned way back when I first became a Christ follower.. at the age of 33………………. to PRAY for the lady .. and to stop repeating the story to anybody..and most especially to myself..\I had to stop reading and re-reading the nasty email from her.. that went to our whole bible study group..I had to delete it…
I had to release and let her go..and Let God take care of not only her..but all the others who she involved because of her email..\I make a point of every day. and especially as I turn out\the light at night.. to ”ask’.. is there anybody I’m ‘at odds’ with”.?? anybody I’ve not forgiven… anybody I ignore.. when i finally got my healing it came b/c I started to sit at the fellowship table with her.. and talk as if..and act as if…….her offense never happened..
we’re not the best of friends but I hold no anger , no hurt feelings..no resentments.. etc..towards her.. I don’t talk about it.. and I still pray for her everyday..and NOW we can even sit in the same Bible Study how’s that for healing …………….?? it works.. when we live as Christ calls us to live.. ‘Father..forgive them..they know not what they do
\I’ll be praying for you Rose however.I learned how to forgive and release and let go.. thru the above methods along with.. “doing GOOD to the person who has just hurt you
is the ‘test’ IF we’ve really FORGIVEN.. after all we cannot even pray the Lord’s Prayer..without realizing.. “Lord.. forgive us AS we forgive others..
FORGIVENESS is the ‘secret sauce’..it’s the salve that heals..and it is the sparkle in the diamond..and we are all diamonds shining with the Light of Christ ..aren’t we?
I love the 3 boxes .. (ranches) I have a similar slogan.. which is.”””it’s not on my plate …
as a food addict that was at one time 90 pounds overweight..I realized that my eating disorder was due to
my trying to ‘fix’ and ‘make nice’ and placate everybody …at the expense I never made every body happy..
and I was eating myself into an early grave..and even more importantly..I was dishonoring GOD with my body..
what a witness I was.. I say tongue-in-cheek… 1 Cor. 10:3 & 13 became my go-to-verses.. and the realization that
I can only eat off my own plate and yes that did mean..and still means I do not go certain places.. and at certain times.
everybody goes ..but I stay home..but truth is the most important thing in my life is my relationship with GOD..and
that starts with my recovery of this Eating Disorder..and my witness for GOD.
I have heard this taught as staying in your own lane. You would be a wreck, right. I like the ranch though, I could not help thinking about meanwhile, back at the ranch and laugh. But the fixer thing is bad, you just do what God can.
Sorry, Suzie, I meant can’t do what God can.