For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. – 1 Cor 2:11
Hi. I’m (almost) 28 years old, I grew up in a Christian family, up until this day I have been part of six (!) different Pentecostal and Baptist churches, visited a lot more. A few years ago I took a one-and-a-half-year break from church life to retreat, refocus, re-scrutinize my life of faith. Oh, the questions from my brothers and sisters I had to answer during that time. I didn’t necessarily intend to go back to church life the way I was used to it (I did, but that is a different story). So, I really had a time off.
It felt like quitting an unwanted job, finishing school or ending a friendship that was no good to you. Suddenly there was a relief, like an invisible burden had been taken off of me. Which made me wonder what kind of burden I have dealt with. Such a big one, I know now.
Growing up in a Christian environment, I considered myself a spiritual person that is used to take part in church life. I attended Sunday service, ministered in worship, prayer, preaching, painting, cooking, cleaning, smiling, shaking hands… countless sermons I’ve heard, courses, classes, groups, I’ve attended. Nice things, you know. They helped me a lot along the way.
Still, I feel like my spiritual journey has only started when I began to silence all the voices I have heard throughout my life. The voices of pastors, brothers, sisters, after a while: my parents, friends, and then even myself: books I’ve read, songs I’ve sung, texts I’ve written, pictures I’ve painted and stories I’ve told and lived. I began to question it all to find out what I would believe to be true of it. It surprised me how little was left then. But you know what happens, when you allow those voices to hush – even if just for a moment?
You begin to hear that voice, that lives inside of you and that can only speak truth. Truths, that you know in your heart must be true. It is the Holy Spirit, the One that knows “even the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:10). Have you tried that? Have you ever considered all those voices to be irrelevant for only just a moment to find out that God really lives inside of you other than in everything you know about Christianity?
To be honest, I don’t remember, if I even expected anything to happen, when I met this silence. I just felt this urgent need to plug out – and found my need to tune in. Whenever I feel Him drawing near again, the first thing I hear myself saying is: “I have missed You, Lord.” I feel like this is the first thing I have ever found to be true in my whole christian life: I need the presence of God.
Anyone could have told me this, but I needed to hear it from the One living in me. This was my first truth, no alternative facts. I am not saying, that everything I have heard before was lies, but this was the first truth I did not just believe, but also understood in my heart, altogether. I need the presence of God. It is so simple, yet so big. I would compare it to falling in love for the first time: You don’t know what it feels like, until you do. So, have you ever wondered: What would be your first truth? Is it maybe worth, taking some time off, in search for silence?
Friederike Berghauer is a German disciple of Jesus belonging to the Vineyard movement.