There was a time I would wake up every morning at 5:30 a.m. and read the Word of God. I would pray and journal before my kiddos would wake up. It was incredibly refreshing and the perfect way to start my day as it truly grounded me to withstand anything that came my way. During this season, I would hear from God daily. I would hear confirmations of His truths on the radio, through friends, sermons at church and random conversations with strangers, providing answers to what my heart needed at that exact time. It was like everywhere I turned, there He was. So what’s the kicker?
Eventually, that season ended. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had already entered a new season in my life, a season where that routine just did not work. I started sleeping through my alarm clock, unable to get up before the kids. I felt so frustrated that I couldn’t just get it together. I was so hungry for that time with the Lord, the silence with Him before everyone else woke up. Especially the silence before everyone else woke up.
It was insanity trying to do the same things that had always worked before. I wasn’t hearing God anymore. I was entering depression and even Sunday sermons seemed to have lost their taste. Before, I always left filled with encouragement, where as now I would leave feeling empty and bitter.
If you’re a coffee drinker, then you probably know good coffee. And if you know good coffee, you’re probably aware of not-so-good coffee. I recently started drinking coffee at church and had a friend of mine inform me that the coffee was burnt. I was intrigued. The next Sunday I asked how the coffee was and she informed me it was amazing. I started to pay attention. My palate had begun to expand as I started to recognize good from bad or burnt coffee.
Confession: I’m actually a tea drinker and this palate expansion actually made its way into my daily tea-drinking life. I began to recognize this very same burnt flavor in my tea when I would do what all other moms do – microwave my caffeine over and over in hopes of eventually drinking a nice hot cup of energy. My palate had changed, therefore, my expectations of “quality” hot-cup-of-energy had changed.
Scripture tells us, “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Hebrews 5:13-14
Back to my dilemma in hearing God. Getting my quiet time with Him in the mornings, is the time I needed to get grounded in Him. After much prayer and seeking advice from faith-filled friends, I received the best insight, “If waking up at 5 a.m. isn’t working for you anymore, then don’t do it! It sounds like you are in need of rest if you’re sleeping through your alarm clock. I’m sure there are other times in the day you can find to read the Word of God.”
This may seem like complete common sense, but like I said before, I was holding on so tight to the way I had always done it before that I had blinded myself to any other possibilities. I was stuck in my own ways, in my own knowledge, my own strength. No wonder I wasn’t hearing from God anymore and I was so exhausted!
So I changed some things. I started sleeping in, waking to my smiling children climbing into bed with me for morning cuddles and it started to bring me so much joy. During the day, when I would see that the kids were occupying themselves nicely, I would walk around the house and read my bible aloud as they played. I realized very quickly, my children were hearing the Word of God in their home. What kind of an example could I have been while they were sleeping?
God was waiting patiently for me to take the next step. I started to gain clarity in this new season I found myself in and then it finally happened; I heard God’s voice again. So clearly in prayer, I heard God say to me, “I’m going to speak to you in a way I have never spoken to you before, therefore, you need to seek Me as you’ve never sought Me before. I’m going to teach you in ways I never taught you before, therefore, I need you to read My Word in a way you have never read it before.”
I was so relieved to hear that the advice I had taken was Godly and divine advice, straight from the Holy Spirit. I began to recognize that I was still “drinking milk” while in a season of needing the nourishment of “solid food”. The Bible refers to this “milk” as elementary truths or the basic principles. These truths and principles are foundational but they are meant to be more than just heard.
My faith was bitter because I was only a hearer of the Word and not a doer.
As I witnessed my God-given strengths and talents growing, I became bitter because my experiences and understanding, like my palate for good coffee, were expanding but something was missing.
I was missing application and action; to BE the light of Christ and not just to know what the light of Christ is.
Here’s what I mean by this: when I started reading the Word of God from a perspective of, “I’m going to actually live this way and apply this to my life,” I started seeing and hearing His Word differently. When I would attend church I changed my perspective from “listening to learn and understand” (being a hearer of the Word) to, “How can I make sure I’m living this message out Monday through Saturday?” (becoming a doer).
This may not sound like your specific spiritual growth process, but I want to encourage anyone who may read this not to fear change. Do not fear reaching out for help when life tastes bitter and you know there is better coffee out there, yet everyday all you taste is burnt coffee left at the bottom of the pot. God has given me a new perspective on how to receive His Word that has transformed me and changed my life in my current season. He’ll do it again and I know He can do this for you.
I believe God allows us to see glimpses of His plans for us so that we finally leave that burnt, microwaved cup of tea for what we now know is better and beneficial and life-giving and freeing.
My prayer for you, reader, is that God would change your palate, your heart and desires for Him. In this, in the name of Jesus, you will be transformed from the inside out and your life will transform to a quality you have never known but are given because of His grace. Amen.
Describe a time when life tasted bitter.
Are you in a season where you need to make changes because your old ways of seeking God are not working anymore?
Written By: Alora Yee