This year for lent, I’ve been setting ten minutes aside to simply listen to God’s voice. I actually set a timer on my phone. I record whatever I see, hear, or feel an impression of. Sometimes I do this with a blanket over my head to stop me from being distracted! Sometimes God talks to me about me, sometimes about my daughter, sometimes about others. One day last week, He reminded me of a friend of mine, and then He spoke concerning her. As I was recording what He was saying for her, I realized that what He was saying was also for me! And now I’d like to share it with you, too!
- I was impressed to pray that God would push aside all the junk that keeps her from Him
- I thought of the Bible verse: Hebrews 12:1 “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with the endurance the race that is set before us.“
- I thought of the song lyrics from “In the Secret” — “I want to know You, I want to hear Your voice, I want to know You more… I am reaching for the highest goal that I might receive the prize. Pressing onward, pushing every hindrance aside out of my way cause I want to know You more.”
I felt inclined to look up the definition of “encumbrance” (from Hebrews 12:1).
Encumbrance = “A burden or impediment.”
I looked it up in Strong’s Concordance too, and it means:
“1. Whatever is promient, protuberance, bulk, mass
a. Hence, a burden, weight, encumbrance.”
Synonyms for “hindrance/hinder” : “impede, obstruct, …block, thwart, bar, clog, ENCUMBER, burden, cripple…”
So, that verse in Hebrews means: ” Let us lay aside every hindrance...and let us run with endurance the race set before us“
What hinders you from running the race God has set before you?
There are an infinite number of answers!
I asked Him the same question for myself.
- The line up of never ending household chores
- a desire to work FIRST and have “fun” later (“fun” here being time with Jesus). What a burdensome feeling!
- SAW: a fence–I anticipate that hearing God will be very difficult, a big hurdle, so I am afraid of trying! (how many of you feel that way?) (It never is that difficult!)
Other things that burden people from spending time with God may be:
- The television
- The mindlessness of surfing the internet & facebook
- Video Games
- A feeling of hopelessness & defeat before you even start listening. For example: “I can’t ever focus” or “I’ll never hear from Him…”
…and even important things, like:
- Making dinner
- Taking care of the kids
- Being too exhausted to focus at the end of the day
- Household chores (like me!)
- Time with friends
Phew. The list could be never-ending.
But look again at the definition of “encumbrance”.
“A burden or impediment”
I started thinking of Scriptures with the word “Burden” in them:
- Matthew 11:30 “My yoke is EASY and My burden is light.”
- 1 John 5:3 “His commandments are not burdensome“
Hebrews 12:1 “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with the endurance the race that is set before us.”
So again, what is the encumbrance that hinders you from seeking the face of God?
If you don’t spend time listening & talking to God, you will not be able to run that race set before you with endurance. So how do you do this???
Here are some of my tips!
- Set a timer. I love this. Because I can always find just ten minutes! I think sometimes another hindrance that keeps me from spending time with Him is thinking “I don’t have time! It takes so long!” Honestly, that’s baloney. Setting a timer for ten minutes is so wonderful because after the alarm goes off, I usually want to spend more time with Him, but if I have to get up and do something else (like check on that sleeping baby!), I know I’ve listened and I don’t feel burdened that I have to spend more time! I mean, if you don’t have more than ten minutes, you don’t have more than ten minutes!
- Be in the right place. I lay across my couch with my feet up, sometimes I put a blanket over my head to block out possible distractions.
- Have the right tools. Pen & journal in hand is essential, and I usually keep a searchable Bible website open on my computer in case God tells me a word (like in this case “burden”) that I feel the need to look up.
- Write down EVERYTHING. If I think of a friend, I write down her name. If I think of a Bible verse, I write it down, even if I don’t know the exact reference, I just write what I remember. If I see a fence, I write it down. If I have a vision, I write it down. If I don’t hear or think of anything, I write that down too!
- Follow God’s lead. If He tells you something out of the blue, be willing to stop listening and instead do some praying! You can always add to the time you’re spending with Him! Everything He says to you is important and you should always obey what you think He is saying!
- Just do it.
Next time you think you can’t spend time with God, remember this verse:
“Let us also lay aside every encumbrance & the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
RUN THE RACE! But first, you need to get on the right track (pun intended!) by pushing aside everything that hinders/distracts/encumbers you! You can do it!!
With His love & encouragement,
Jennifer N. Buczynski