LESSONS I'VE LEARNED ABOUT INSPIRED, SPIRIT-LED LIVING
Edward C. Anderson
- I am absolutely clear! More than anything, I want to be an Inspired Person. My deepest desire, my most basic motive is to live an inspired life.
- I want the inner experience of aliveness, energetic optimism and enthusiasm that characterize being inspired and living an inspired life.
- I want to live with a sense of destiny - - - to have peak experiences! I want to have the inner sense that I am fulfilling my destiny by being where I'm supposed to be, doing what I'm supposed to be doing.
- I cannot manufacture the experience of being inspired; I cannot generate the experience of aliveness; and I cannot find my destiny. All of my self-efforts have left me dead, lost and empty - - - caught up in addictions and compulsions - - - killing myself trying to come alive. I am absolutely dependent on God to be inspired and to live an inspired life.
- Being inspired - - - experiencing a sense of aliveness - - - is a gift I get as a result of being indwelt by God's Holy Spirit and being led by His Spirit.
- Being Inspired and living an Inspired life are characterized by God's Presence within.
- Living an inspired, fully alive life is only lived in the now. It is a moment-by-moment process. Anything that takes me out of the moment (e.g., guilt, resentments, regrets about the past or worries and anxieties about the future) destroys my aliveness and interferes with being inspired.
- There are three prerequisites to being inspired: (a) self-honesty - - - including an awareness of my desperate need for God, (b) total surrender of my will and my life (choices and outcomes) to God, and (c) being open and willing to hear God speak to me.
- Spirit-led living is "messy". It does not fit into nice, neat formulas or "cookbook" approaches. I do not control when or where or how The Spirit will lead. My responsibility is to be willing, to listen and to obey.
- The most important skill in Spirit-led, Inspired Living is listening in my "heart of hearts" to The Spirit's promptings. I call this "listening with your 3rd ear".
- I experience God's guidance and being inspired in two ways. First, through Scripture reading - - - letting God speak to me through His Word - - - as I listen with my 3rd ear. Second, as I go through the day, I try to live in dialogue with God, asking Him many times "Lord, what do You want me to do?" and listening in my heart of hearts for His guidance.
- Being inspired is a one-day-at-a-time process. I've found it essential to begin each day listening to God. I have morning devotions within 15 minutes of getting up. I begin by reflecting on things I am grateful for and confessing my sins and character defects (e.g., self-centeredness, pride, dishonesty, fear, pretentiousness, etc.). I ask God's Holy Spirit to live inside me and make up for my "not-enoughness". With a prayerful attitude, realizing my utter dependence on God to live an inspired life, I read Scripture until something stands out. Then I write down the verse on a small sheet of paper and begin asking the Lord what He wants to teach me. I write that out and then ask Him what He wants to say to me. Again I take notes on the sheet of paper. I put that piece of paper in my pocket and treat it as my "marching orders" for the day - - - So begins my dialogue with God.
- By nature I am self-centered - - - not God-centered. Most of the time there is a difference between my will and God's will. Therefore I will forever need to keep surrendering my will to His will. I find it important to make a major part of my morning devotions a time of surrender. I often say to myself " Who are you kidding? You have no chance of living anything close to an alive life without God. You must surrender to be inspired!"
- When I confront a decision or choice and don't know what God's will is, I hold the decision/choice before me and say internally: "yes" - "no", "yes" - "no". As I say "yes" - "no" I try to sense which option resonates deepest, with the greatest "inner rightness". I then assume that whichever option seems right at the deepest core of my being is God's will. This is a process I take seriously. I know I must remain surrendered and be watchful that I am not seeking my own will. Also, I know that all Divine guidance must be consistent with God's Word and that the "evil one" may also try to prompt me.
- Inspired, Spirit-led living usually involves a progressive set of stages/phases.
- inspiration - Where guidance comes in the form of promptings or images of what I am supposed to do. I usually experience inspiration as "something on my heart" that I need to do.
- Perspiration - for me, there is always work to be done in response to the guidance I am given - - - That's what I mean by "perspiration".
- Blackout - a period of time when things seem to go wrong - - - a time when I get no guidance and wonder if I heard God correctly - - - and I wonder if I'm crazy. Sometimes the "blackout" lasts a long time - - - Then it takes real faith to keep walking ahead in spite of no feedback.
- Confirmation - Things fall into place. I have a sense of rightness. I see how God has worked and is working in and through me. The humbling part is realizing that sometimes He has had to work in spite of me!
- Celebration - Experience a sense of personal aliveness: the joyous, exhilarating and yet peaceful awareness of God's presence within. Celebration is the culminating phase of Spirit-led living where you realize that you are living your destiny. It is a mountaintop experience, even though it may be in the commonplace of every-day living. It is when you have a sense of being where you are supposed to be, doing what you are supposed to be doing - - - And praise God, you get to be a part of the process because He lives within.
- I experience two major problems in trying to live an inspired life:
- My biggest problem is my own pride, self-centeredness, and striving to be "god" of my life and others. This is what Keith Miller calls "the control disease" - and it is a killer!
- Next to self-centeredness, distractions are my biggest problem in experiencing Spirit-led, inspired living.
- Sometimes the distractions come from television, other media, or people around me who present false images that make it seem that they are living the fully alive, inspired life I want to live.
- Sometimes the distractions are legitimate tasks and responsibilities that I try to do "on my own".
- Most of the time my distractions reflect my own fears and self-preoccupying insecurities. My fears and perceived inadequacies distract me and prevent me from hearing God, following God and thus experiencing inspired living!
- I seem to get "blind-sided" just before there is something important for me to do. I believe the "evil one" sends things into my life to get me "off-track' just before there is something that God wants me to do. Thus, when something hits me sideways, I am now beginning to say: "There must be something important about to happen that God wants me to do or experience". And I've come to see that if I am faithful, remain steady and follow through, greater joy and inspired living is just ahead.
- I agree with John Powell that God wants my happiness and well-being even more than I do, and He certainly knows better than I what will bring about that good, fully alive, inspired, abundant life. Said differently, God loves me and has a plan for my life - - - and He is actively involved in bringing it about. I am not alone! God wants to inspire me! He wants to indwell me! He wants to lead me to the life of aliveness that I want! And He wants me to experience the fully alive, inspired life I want even more than I do!
- Whenever I'm not receiving any particular guidance and direction, I only have to ask two questions and listen in my heart of hearts. If I honestly ask and honestly listen to the answers, I have plenty to do!
- What would I be doing right now if I were loving the Lord Jesus with all my heart, mind and soul?
- What would I be doing right now if I were loving the people around me the way Jesus has loved me?
I believe that God is love and God is life. I believe that my most important responsibility and most meaningful experiences occur when I "let God love other people to life through me." I believe that God wants to love other people and that He is able to love others through me to the extent that I am willing to let Him use me and let Him work through me as He sees fit. My job is to let Him love through me by doing His will.
When I am able to get myself out of the way and let Him love through me, two things occur: (1) He loves others to life and that makes me feel like my life is meaningful in the process, and (2) I get to come alive as I experience the aliveness of His Presence as He lives, loves and works through me.
As He promised, He will be in us, His joy will be in us and our joy will be complete if we obey His commands and love as He has loved us (see John 13, 14 & 15) - - - And that adds up to inspired, Spirit-led, joyously alive living! This is what I've always wanted and am now experiencing on a regular basis!
Thank You Lord - Thank You for a life of alive living that ten years ago I never dreamed was possible! Lead on, Father! I will live in expectancy of Your guidance and direction - - - knowing that "eternal life", "eternal living" is a reality because I am already living it here on centeredness!