• The Heart’s a Battleground

    Supposing that God speaks, how can we hear God’s voice?

    Can we audibly hear his voice? Can you or I see him?
    I don’t know about you… but I can’t.

    You might suggest that we can hear God’s voice if we read the Bible. 

    Okay. I think that idea holds water… 

    If the Bible is assumed to be God’s Word then it wouldn’t be far-stretched to say that by reading God’s word we are able to hear God’s word. But anyone can read the Bible. Just because you read God’s Word doesn’t mean you hear God speaking to you. Depending on the reader, it can just be a bunch of ink on paper, or, at the very least, might be interpreted as some pretty good moral teachings with a few hard to understand rules and/or traditions.

    So maybe I’ll re-ask the question this way then:

    Supposing that God speaks, how can one personally hear God’s voice for themselves? 

    I think I found some insight. The answer may or may not surprise you.

    But first, have you ever thought about how elephants hear? 

    One of the first things you’ll notice about them is that they have these enormous ears. These ears allow them to pick up what are called “infrasound” waves – low frequencies that humans can’t hear. This allows them to physically hear when rain clouds are gathering so they know when to head for water sources1.

    But did you know elephants can also hear through their feet?!

    That’s right!

    When elephants pound their feet against the ground, elephants set up powerful but hardly audible vibrations. Through nerve endings in their feet and ear bones, these sounds can be picked up miles away by other elephants, like a kind of bush telephone1 (those phones you make with two cups and a string).  

    Why do I bring this up?

    Well, like elephants, we too have the ability to hear not only with our ears.

    We also have the ability to hear through our hearts. 
    We have the ability to hear God through our hearts. 

    Like elephants who have the uncanny ability to communicate through the ground, our hearts are the grounds through which God personally communicates with us.

    But if you’re left wondering why it might be so hard to personally hear God it’s because our hearts are under attack!

    More than ever, there is a war being waged and our hearts are the battlegrounds.

    Fear. Discouragement. Hopelessness. Worry. Anxiety. Tragedy. Lies. Lust. Bitterness. Deceit. Folly. Gossip. Jealousy. Revenge.

    This list is by no means exhaustive but these are the weapons. 

    If we’re not careful, there are plenty of fiery arrows that would love to continue piercing our hearts (Ephesians 6:16).

    But you don’t need me to tell you that we are living in perilous times. Just turn on social media for a few minutes and your heart can be pierced almost instantly. Multiple stab wounds. Mine too.

    This is why it is so important we guard our hearts. 

    “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

    But I don’t want you thinking that the solution then is to make our hearts callous. The process is not about cauterising our hearts to the point that we don’t feel anything and nothing can pierce it. But we do need to guard it.

    What does that even look like then? How does one guard one’s own heart? 


    “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

    As we offer up prayers and requests to God, of all sorts, with thanksgiving, our hearts and minds will be guarded with the peace of God in Christ Jesus.

    I don’t think this process is easy but it’s definitely a blueprint that anyone can access.

    I do believe that as we guard our hearts with God’s peace through prayer, we are actively fortifying it from anything that aims to attack it. 

    Once our hearts are well protected with God’s peace, I think we have a much better ability to hear how God might be speaking to us.

    I think it is from a guarded heart that we then are effectively able to hear God’s voice and respond to the world around us. 

    Instead of falling victim to despair, we can respond in hope;
    Instead of caving to fear, we can stand in faith;
    Instead of running away from our problems, we can courageously face them!

    The heart’s the battleground.

    Like an elephant, you herd it here first. 


  • Healed Warrior

    I don’t know who needs to hear this, but here it goes…

    Many of you might be surprised to learn that all throughout my 20s, I personally struggled off and on with depression, suicide ideation, severe anxiety, panic attacks, crippling fear, and insomnia.

    If you know me and are surprised to learn this, it’s because I CHOSE to hide it.

    But I am also choosing to let you know this because I have come through the other side.

    When I was 17, I began entertaining self-loathing thoughts. I would often repeat things to myself like “You’re so dumb”; “People just pretend to like you”; and “You’re such a fake”, just to name a few. I don’t know why, but I would find comfort in verbally beating myself up. This self-loathing eventually gave way to depression.

    When I was 23, I began ideating suicide. “You’re such a fake” self-talk eventually turned into “You should kill yourself”. Even though I finally had the courage to get diagnosed with Major Clinical Depression several years later, I started seeing psychotherapists to help me sort through my negative thinking.

    Then, when I was 26, I had a string of panic attacks. My heart rate became rapid, I momentarily lost vision, it felt as though someone was strangling me, and I heard loud white noises as soon as I tried to close my eyes. Even though this lasted off and on for only a month or so, I had to sleep with the lights on while worship music played in the background. I needed to do this for over a year.

    When I was 29, I had a nervous breakdown. At the time, I was believing a lot of lies. Those lies turned into fears; and those fears gave way to nearly two months of insomnia, and eventually, a nervous breakdown. My fear crippled me to the point where I felt as though my legs were constantly being electrocuted by 9V batteries and my head was on fire. In fact, I would often run water through my head, up to 15 times a day, just to cool myself down from the psychosomatic symptoms I was experiencing. It never worked. That’s how bad my fear and anxiety had become. 

    The insomnia I experienced also had me pacing on my feet when I should have been asleep in bed. I eventually started walking on the edges of my feet because my heels were sore from never being able to rest them. My hands were also very sensitive to the touch -always wringing them together from the high levels of anxiety I was experiencing.

    Eventually, I crashed and went from not sleeping at all to sleeping 16 hours a day. It took me nearly three months to recover healthy sleeping patterns and almost a year to recover emotionally and psychologically from my nervous breakdown. I was 29.

    It might sound like I am sharing this to show-off my battle wounds, but I would like to show-off something else: God’s goodness and comfort.

    Given my education, family-background, up-bringing, socio-economic-status, and faith values, I somehow felt I should have always been exempt or shielded from ever experiencing any of these very real mental health disorders. Maybe I felt entitled to having a clean slate of mental health. Maybe that’s why I mostly hid it. It could have been my pride or the stigma associated around mental health that made me try to hide my wounds, but I don’t think that’s right either.

    This is why I am making the deliberate effort of sharing this. I want you to experience the same comfort I received through God, family, friends, and experts I received in my journey.

    I can’t say there was ever a time or day when all of a sudden “BOOM” I was cured. The process was more like, well… a process. Though it was hard at first, I found that on my journey, good mental health was a daily choice. 

    I know that doesn’t sit comfortable with everyone, that good mental health is “a choice”, and that’s okay. I can only share about my journey and my process. Yours might look different.

    What I do want you to know, however, is that I have been there during those dark nights of the soul. Yes, at times, it was very scary. 

    But if you are there now, you don’t have to be scared. 

    I share this because if you feel comfortable, you can reach out to me. Would love to hear your story. Yes, I can share with you more of mine (writing a whole book about it), but there’s also power in sharing yours too – right where you are.

    I still come face to face with anxiety and fear quite often, but nowhere near the levels I did in my 20s. When anxiety and fear come knocking on my door, I don’t entertain them any more. They are no longer welcomed guests. With God’s help, I contend with them. 

    I’m a warrior.

    Yes, at one point I was wounded. 

    But it’s not my wounds that define me.
    It’s my healing that defines me. 

    They say hurt people hurt people.
    Well, hurt people can heal people too!

    I’ve been wounded, both by others, through myself & my own choices, and the fact that we are born into sin (Romans 5:12).

    At the same time, I’ve received comfort from God in my afflictions. It is said that we can comfort those in the same ways that we have been comforted (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). 

    If you feel alone in your battle, know that you are not alone.

    Like me, you too can be a healed warrior.

  • 10,000 Lions

    “I might not face Goliath
    But I got my own giants”
    -lyrics from Same God, Elevation Worship

    I love these lyrics. 

    Something about these lyrics make me feel seen. These lyrics help me recognize that even if I am not aware of it, I am in a battle. I have my own giants and I am in a fight.  

    What are some of the giants you are fighting right now? 

    Some of you are fighting to keep the peace in your homes or workplace.
    Some of you are fighting to keep food on the table.
    Some of you are fighting to feel understood.
    Some of you are fighting to feel heard.
    Some of you are fighting to feel loved.
    Some of you are fighting to stay sane. 
    Some of you are fighting for what their grandparents fought for.
    Some of you are fighting unjust laws.
    Some of you are fighting unhealthy habits.
    Some of you are fighting to keep a marriage together.
    Some of you are fighting to keep your job.
    Some of you are fighting a battle no one else sees.
    Some of you are fighting for someone who can’t fight. 
    Some of you are fighting bad news.
    Some of you are fighting a secret pain.
    Some of you are fighting discouragement.
    Some of you are fighting to stay hopeful.
    Some of you are fighting your own demons.
    Some of you are fighting for your life. 

    I don’t know what it is you are fighting right now. 

    Some of you are wishing you didn’t have to fight. 
    Some of you are upset at the timing of this fight.
    Some of you are wondering when this fight will end.
    Some of you are wondering how this fight will end. 

    There’s good news. 

    “For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (Deuteronomy 20:4)

    You don’t have to fight alone. God wants to go with you in order to fight for you.

    Invite God to go with you.

    Let God fight for you. 

    When we fight, we sometimes start to fight other humans. 

    It might seem the right way to go about it, but that’s because our perspective is off. 

    “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

    I often have to remind myself that evil is a real thing. 

    There are giants that come against us that we can’t see.

    These “rulers…authorities…cosmic powers….present darkness…spiritual forces of evil” that come against you can be very discouraging at times.

    But take heart! 


    I pray that you find the courage.

    I pray that you find the courage of a lion.

    I pray that you find the courage of 10,000 lions.

    I pray that you find the courage of 10,000 fearless lions to continue on.

    I pray that you find the courage of 10,000 fearless lions to continue on with God in order so that he can fight for you.

    Whatever it is you are fighting for or against, give it to God.

    He’ll fight your giants for you!

    I ain’t lion! YOU are A LION!

  • CAPTAIN or Captain?

    Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name

    Hallowed be thy name.

    This part of the Lord’s prayer always felt like a formality to me, as if someone was writing a letter with the opening words:

    Dear John, to whom I write this letter, what a great name John is,”

    It’s okay to laugh, right? 

    I can’t tell you how many times I fast-forwarded through the first line of the LORD’s prayer in my head, only to slow down for what I thought were the real ideas: “Your will be done… give us this day our daily bread… forgive us our trespasses… lead us not into temptation…” 

    Those parts of the prayer made a little more sense to me. 

    But it occurred to me just the other day…

    When praying, God wants his name to be ‘hallowed’, i.e. to be kept holy. Yes, he wants us to call him Father, but he also wants his name to be revered, honoured, and set apart. 

    But why? 

    At the very least, it sure sounds like a theologically safe idea to do so. Right?

    But is there more to keeping the Lord’s name holy? 

    I think there is – and I would suggest it has to do with our own journey towards holiness.

    As we pray and uphold God’s name as holy, we become holy.
    As we pray and set God’s name apart from all other names, we become set apart. 

    “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

    Did you catch that? 
    If my people, who are called by my name…

    Who are the LORDs’ people?
    The LORDs’ people are the ones who call upon the name of the LORD.

    If the LORDs’ name then is not set apart from any other name, then how should the LORDs’ people be set apart from any other people?

    There is a name that has been hallowed. 
    There is a name that has been set “above all other names” (Philippians 2:9).

    Does that mean there are also people who are above all other people?

    I don’t think so. Let’s keep reading:

    “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves…”

    This is not a group of people who consider themselves superior to others.
    This is not a group of people who think they are better than others. 

    This is a group of people who call upon the name of the LORD and humble themselves. They pray and seek the LORD’s face, turning from their wicked ways in order that the LORD may forgive them and heal their land.  

    I think I might have some work to do.

    I need to set apart the LORD’s name from any other name that invites itself to be lord of my life. 

    I need to examine myself to see if I have exalted anything else as lord.

    comfort? pleasure? acceptance? wealth? fame? security? maybe.

    I don’t think any of those things I just listed are inherently wicked. I just think it might be a wicked-bad idea if any of those lords are currently captaining my soul.

    Captains usually have a strong sense of where they are headed. Where am I headed? Probably a good question to ask myself.

    It’s been a while since I checked in with the Captain.
    It’s been a while since I checked in with the CAPTAIN, also.

    This might call for a course correction. 
    This might call for a turn.

    LORD. Take the wheel.

  • I’ll start with me

    In answer to a newspaper’s question, “What is Wrong With the World?”  G. K. Chesterton wrote: 

      “In one sense, and that the eternal sense, the thing is plain. The answer to the question, “What is Wrong?” is, or should be, “I am wrong.” Until a man can give that answer his idealism is only a hobby.”

    I am.

    I am what’s wrong with the world. 

    Jesus said, “How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (Matthew 7:4-5). 

    This is a hard truth. This hurts. Truth usually does.

    I can easily make a list of 100 specks I see in other peoples’ eyes.

    But wait? Could it possibly be that in the meantime others are compiling a list of the 100 specks they see in my own eye?

    “Hey! Put your pen down!”

    Before I start taking inventory of everyone else’s specs, Jesus says it would be wiser to start logging my own specks first (pun intended). Have some work to do. 

    What’s wrong with the world? So far, me. 

    Transformation of my world first starts with transforming of self.

    But take courage.

    You have the power to be the change you want to see in the world.

    In the meantime, I’ll start with me.