What helps you connect with God when you feel overwhelmed?
That is the question so many of us are asking. Here is a story of what I experienced with a few ladies this week.
I am so thankful for my weekly connect group with exceptional women. The hour we spend together is a great chance to be still with Jesus and get to know Him more.
Many of us who are so busy through the week know that on Wednesdays we will get to slow down with others and experience God’s incredible love.
By the way, we have stopped feeling embarrassed if this time together was the only time we had slowed down all week. This time was our guarded space to focus on His Word and listen for His voice and we refuse any shame.
What is GIFT?
This week we practiced the 4-step framework we have learned called GIFT before we went to our Scripture meditation.
G – go to God first. We asked God to search our hearts like the psalmist did in Psalm 139. Searching our own hearts can lead to either getting fixated on ourselves or completely being oblivious and missing our blind spots…we need God’s help.
I– identify our feelings. We looked at the list of feeling words to see what struck us. Some of us had a mix of excitement and anxiety or peace and turmoil all at once. For a few ladies, the words sad, scared, ignored, even rejected and empty stood out to them.
F – follow the trail. We asked God to help us follow the trail of what we were thinking about, and what things contributed to these feelings. This isn’t a comfortable step at times. Some emotions are not pleasant!
Before we moved to the final step of asking God for an action – we went to our Scripture. We closed our eyes and listened deeply as one of us read aloud Matthew 26:36-46. We are used to asking God to use our imagination to reveal His heart in Scripture. We let our minds and emotions enter the scene.
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
I AM NOT COMPARING TO WHAT WE FACE TO WHAT JESUS DID FOR US. But it is helpful to see how Jesus moved through the 4 steps of GIFT. He called out to God and shared His deep feelings and His circumstances. He asked His friends for support but that didn’t happen. Then in verse 46 with saw the final stage – Jesus took an action. Rise He said to His friends. Let us go!
T – take an action. Now we turned to wait in quietness for God to show us each an action to take. It was wonderful how clear God’s voice was to each woman. God heard our prayers. He heard our feelings and He let us feel them. And then He led us. Some sensed God call them to sing and praise. Some felt God showed them to focus on just one step at a time.
You see during this hour together we went beyond a concept to an experience. We called on God – identified and felt our feelings – felt understood because we saw how Jesus had felt – and then experienced His leading us on His path with His empowering presence.
Jesus heard our feelings. Jesus understood. Jesus led us in His path with His empowering presence.
What does God show you as you walk through the 4 steps of GIFT? Be sure to reach out if you have any questions.