This weekend I have been incredibly excited by this life I am living. And it’s not that I think my way of living is THE way to live; I definitely get stuff wrong a lot of the time. But I am excited and want to pass that on: this sense of excitement I feel about the way God is working in my little and (in the grand scheme of the universe!) rather insignificant life. I am a very ordinary working Mum for whom life is utterly extraordinary from time to time because of the choices I make daily to listen to God and follow where He leads me.
This time last year I wasn’t a cake baker and if anyone had suggested I could be I’d have looked at them strangely and said “Hmm, don’t think so!” And yet I caught the baking bug in Feb last year (started with making Malteaser cake for Jon’s birthday) and for a good few months felt a distinct ‘urge’ to bake. I produced masses of cupcakes and other layer cakes for our Home/Life group, for our church and for birthdays. We were all going to get fatter if I kept it up! Then this cake-baking took an even more previously-unthought-of turn of events when I responded on impulse to a tweet from a new coffee shop in town who were looking for a cake baker. Going to meet Jason and Vanessa from Central Eating was very nerve-wracking, and yet I felt a pull, something was drawing me in. If you’re not a follower of Jesus then this is probably going to sound somewhat bizarre but I fully believe it was God who gave me the urge to bake cakes and this opportunity to make friends with all the lovely people at Central Eating.
At a similar time last year I found myself in another rather strange position through the ‘usual’ work that I do for Encounter (my ‘day job’ I guess!), where I had arranged to go and see a friend for coffee for a reason I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It wasn’t just cos he (and his wife) are fairly new friends, it felt more like the ‘pull’ I mentioned above. When I arrived it quickly became clear that this conversation was more than just friendly chat: this was God bringing people together to talk about what we can possibly do to bring His Kingdom into our lives and the lives of others around us.
Since then I have had lots of meetings and conversations that have had a similar flavour, even one time I arranged to meet someone in Tesco’s café and then got the time completely wrong so I was waiting for him 15mins after he’d sat there waiting for me! That time I was reading my daily (but not actually daily) bit of the bible and *bing* there was a verse that made the hair on my neck stand up!
I taught some yr 7s recently about who God is and when I talked about hearing from God this really fascinated them. So what does that sound like Miss? They asked me. There was laughter when I said the ‘voice in my head sounds like me, cos it’s in my head’. How do you know it’s not just you thinking? was the next question. So this is how I explained it:
We are made up of a body, which has a heart, and a soul, which also has a heart. These two hearts are quite different: one is a muscle that sits in the middle of our chests pumping blood around our bodies; the other is often thought of as the very centre of who we are as human beings, this is the place where we feel our deepest emotions and strongest desires. So when I ‘hear from God’ there’s a variety of things that could happen, but all usually accompanied by a ‘spark’ that I feel somewhere in the middle of my chest, or the heart of my soul. I have heard a voice inside my head (the one that sounds like me!); in conversations with others; whilst praying I have had a picture appear in my mind’s eye; and also whilst reading something in the Bible or elsewhere, each of which has set off that ‘spark’. It’s also like a penny dropping in there, or like someone clicking their fingers. Difficult to fully explain but hopefully that gives you some idea!
I am fully excited by the stuff that God has been showing me, through all these different ways, in the last year or so. It’s a powerful thing, to follow Jesus, to listen to God, to obey those instincts that make this life, which is so ordinary on most days, into an extraordinary roller-coaster ride of emotion and great tidal waves of exhilaration about the things God can do with us.
We just need to be ready. Are you?