Lessons from Nehemiah

Posted: October 6, 2010 in Lessons Learned, Spiritual Warfare, The Real Me
Tags: , , , , ,

My journal entry for the day started out with how frustrating my day at work had been. It’s the same old complaints, I reported; no reason to re-complain about all the things I just haven’t learned how to deal with yet. I further explained that my day was so frustrating, I simply left a million things undone on my desk — really, really unlike me — to go to yoga.

Ah. Yoga. The pain, the relaxation, the weird suggestions to smile with our livers and to send out gratitude to the universe. I just breathe deeply and try not to fall over.

After yoga, I reported, I was rather productive. Nothing that would be of much interest to you, dear reader, but I surely did enumerate my accomplishments. Accomplishments of any sort these days need to be recognized and rejoiced over, because even the slightest failure can send me into total despair. It’s just where I am right now.

Ending portion one by confessing that I simply didn’t much want to read the Word or to try to talk to a God who doesn’t seem to talk much to me, I quoted what I think is a Psalm, but what I know from a song:

Cast me not away from Your presence;
Take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation,
And renew a right spirit within me.

Then I picked up Augustine’s Confessions instead of God’s Word. One more maneuver around God so that I might read about Him. Augustine is battling with the difference between the art of human conversation and the art of divine conversation… or so the footnote reported. That struck a nerve with me, so I journaled about it. YES it’s completely different! All these songs and books act like you can just waltz right up to God like you do your best buddy and shoot the breeze. Well, that does not describe any encounter, real or imagined, I have ever had with God. It’s just not like that, and it’s incredibly difficult to hear Him. For me. Right now. Here’s what I wrote:

There’s a certain sincerity of heart and settling of the spirit that must precede, or at least coincide with, meeting the Maker of the universe [the seriousness of which is not generally necessary for your random, “Hey, what’s up?” to Joe Blow]. And what of hearing Him? That is wholly lost on me.

Then I finally read Nehemiah. The whole thing. You see, I’m about ten days behind on my Bible schedule, so I need to speed things up. (Now I’m only SIX days behind!) I like Nehemiah. I learned some stuff from him. Check it:

  1. When things suck, when you’re scared, when you’re surrounded by enemies (real or imagined, physical or spiritual), do three things: pray, keep your weapon at the ready, and keep working on what God gave you to do. Just keep going, but don’t forget about the praying and the fighting. (Nehemiah 4:9, 17)
  2. Stand up and show some respect for the Word of God. Don’t act like it’s a freaking chore; you are dang well blessed to be in its hearing. (Nehemiah 8:3, 5)
  3. Weeping is a natural response to God’s Word. (Thank you… I’ve been doing a lot of that lately!)  But, don’t be grieved; the joy of the LORD is our strength. He doesn’t ask us or want us to stay in that weepy, I-suck-at-everything mode. He wants us to be joyful in His grace. Now to get there…  (Nehemiah 8:9-12)

I closed my journal entry echoing the Psalm/song above. I really need God to restore my joy.  Really, really, really. Really badly. I know He can.


  1. macayla says:

    I hardly ever hear God, too. My brain is VERY loud. And when I attempt to quiet myself, I’m so aware of what I’m doing that I’m thinking about how quiet I’m being which means I’m not actually being quiet.

    It’s definitely not as easy as people claim it is. I empathize. I have very little joy these days, too. I keep telling myself it’s the hormone crazies, but I’ve been this way for most of my life. I think it’s just me who is the crazy.

    Is there such a thing as being joyful without feeling joyful? Because I definitely am joyful that I am His. I just don’t feel it very often.

    He will make you all better, friend. It just hurts getting there.

  2. I love how you are seriously humorous, or humorously serious. You have the knack to blend both elements so well. As for hearing God and finding joy again, I think you’re on too something. Your 3 Nehemiah items are like nuggets of fine gold. Keep digging. Because it always leads to the Person who holds them.

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