God’s goodness is ALWAYS there, and his love never fails. Following that tearful conversation with my dear friend and fellow figure competitor, Jeana while we were in the coffee shop, we both had to be responsible adults and go to work.
She headed to her full time position as an accountant and freelance book keeper, while I made my way to my massage studio to set the environment for my first appointment of the day. While I lit the candles, turned on water fountains, meditative music, and white noise makers to quiet the next door’s chiropractic office, I prayed to not forget the conversation earlier with Jeana to be able to write about it.
Being a massage therapist for 15 years, I look forward to connecting with each and every client, and to provide an environment they can escape reality, and allow my studio to be their sanctuary. A place they feel safe. Some shut off their minds completely, some are in and out of consciousness, and some are so relaxed that the creativity in their thoughts are unfolded, leaving us both inspired. www.bailey.massagetherapy.com
That day, I was thankful to have my first break in a very long time, so I eagerly blew out the candles and quickly returned to the same coffee shop inbetween massage appointments to write, and not forget the conversation earlier with Jeana. As I waited for my coffee, the young Barista asked about my day.
While he prepared more than just my order, he maintained eye contact, awaiting a response. I shared that I had returned for the second time to write about not being so busy, to slow down and connect with others and how conversation is intimacy. (Click here to read our conversation here)
He didn’t miss a beat as he immediately engaged with the topic. He had a old soul, and he was doing more than just making coffee and smiles. He used both left and right sides of his brain to quickly make multiple orders, yet speaking creatively and in depth. We talked freely how great conversations are hard to come by, while most are so addicted to their phones that life passes on by. The things that are the most important are in the present, but we miss them being too busy. He completed his thought with, “You know, we have dehumanized ourselves.”
“Do you mind if I quote you on that?” As I had hoped to drink my coffee during my once in a lifetime break to blog about conversation being intimacy, and include our conversation as well. He hit the nail on the head with that comment. The more we think we connect more via technology and not through relationship and conversation, the more we do dehumanize ourselves.
His name was Johnny, as he asked for my blog address to read later. That short but meaningful conversation propelled me as I sat down to write and sip my coffee.
Time flew as I sipped and blogged about the conversation with Jeana, the importance of not being so busy and to be able to connect. I also wanted to quote Johnny as I had promised.
“We have dehumanized ourselves,” echoed in my mind. I still wanted to finish my blog, but there was yet more connecting to do.
Slowing down to hear God’s whispers and vision’s in a noisy world
Amazed at the conversations that were taking place that day, my husband and I met after work to visit a multi-ethnic small group, led by Christian and Cammy Anderson. Cammy was a roommate with Jeana and I before we had both gotten married within a month of one another. As her Aussie husband taught with animation, I had my hand propped under my chin, and my eyes wide open for more.
Christian had introduced two missionaries from Georgia had driven in that day to join us, and share their stories. And my theme of the day continued about slowing down to connect, that we don’t need to be so busy.
One missionary, Keith, shared the story on how he felt God call him to this multi-ethnic depressed and poor city in Georgia. He wanted to pray for others, but nobody was open to receiving. He knew he was supposed to be there, so he didn’t stop praying for direction. He prayer walked around the part of the city he felt called to, and continued praying for direction. After three weeks of just walking and praying, God gave him a very specific vision to pray for a man slumped over and sitting down in a stair well. God continued showing him more, showing two young women inside his apartment sitting on the floor against the wall with their Bible’s.
Keith was given specific instructions to share the gospel and pray for this man that was supposed to be at the end of a stair well. He had turned around to see this man, just as he felt God had showed him. He was slumped over and wasn’t making any sense. Perhaps drunk and high, so Keith began talking, sharing the gospel anyways, reminding him that God loves him. The man was not responding until something switched within him, he snapped out of it, and oddly invited Keith and his friends to his home for noodles.
They all thought it to be strange, but Keith was still holding onto the vision he received from God, and shown in advance this man had a gun. He continued to trust the mission God had sent him on. They walked from one apartment building to the next, praying for protection, and had noodles in his home. The man had switched again and became angry, threatening to use his gun, and showing Keith and his friends this notebook he wrote in, on why he shouldn’t be alive.
It got loud really fast while Keith explained he didn’t need to kill himself. That Jesus can set him free from everything he has written in that book. Then two young women walk in, that later Keith was able to recognize, as ESL instructors from their church. They had been praying for their brother to know Christ, knowing he has been deeply troubled.
The man began growling, grinding his teeth, and his eyes rolled in the back of his head as they prayed. Keith prayed in the name of Jesus, and then let the man be until visited him again weeks later, to find this man was a completely different man. He was clean shaven, alert, happy to be alive and said, “You know something happened to me when you prayed for me. I gave my life to Christ, I have something to live for.” The man read the bible cover to cover in less than a week after Keith prayed such a delivering and freeing prayer.
I teared up as I sat in the living room hearing how strategic God was to reach the heart of this man that made lists of why he should die and planned to kill himself. Thankfully, Keith had slowed down to listen to where God wanted him to go. Obviously someone was wrestling with something more he couldn’t handle on his own and without Jesus.
Another member listening to Keith’s story shared, “No one in our culture takes time. Everyone is fast-paced.”
Can you imagine a world where it wasn’t about being fast-paced and busy? A world that slows down enough to listen to God, because He does speak intentionally and strategically. Can you imagine a world where we no longer dehumanize ourselves to be addicted to our phones, task lists, and our own agenda? For God has bigger and more purposeful agenda’s for us… if we slow down to listen.
Lord, help us to see from your perspective, not our own. To hear your voice in a busy world. To see with your eyes, feel with your heart, and listen with your ears. Bring us alive spiritually to live with a greater purpose beyond our own.
Help us to slow down and connect with your presence. To enjoy your presence and meditate there. Help us to slow down to connect with those you put in our lives. To hear the deeper thoughts of the Barista’s or the strategic plans to who need you and are hurting so bad they are willing to end their own lives. Help us, to be a loving voice. To not strive to work for you, but to engage in working with you.