My burning bush

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’ And the Lord said to Samuel: ‘See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle.'” 1 Samuel 3:10-11

A dear friend used to tell me “sometimes God gently pokes you with a stick and sometimes he has to knock you over the head with a 2×4.”

Believe it or not, I’ve been praying for the 2×4 lately. I’ve felt like I just wasn’t seeing the subtle hints and nudges, so my prayers had turned to down-right pleading with God to spell it all out for me. Stone tablet, burning bush, angel, a giant hand writing on the wall…any Old Testament method of communication would be awesome, as long as it was loud and clear.

After waiting months for a clear sign and not seeing one, I decided to start bargaining with God. “OK, Lord, if you make this happen by such and such date, then I’ll know this is what I’m meant to do. But, if you don’t, then I’ll take your silence to mean I’m not really supposed to do that thing.”

Pretty arrogant of me, huh?

And so, this is how the last 6 months or so have been — struggling between the call I knew God had laid on my heart and my inability to accept that it didn’t look the way I thought it should. Or at least that it wasn’t happening as quickly as I needed it to.

Did you catch that? It wasn’t happening as quickly as I needed. Because I have been, in fact, making it more about me than about God.

“I want to serve you God and do all of your works, but if you can please just make it fit into this perfect little box I have envisioned, that would be awesome! And if it doesn’t look like this box, then you must not really want me to serve you in this way.”

I can so clearly see the absurdity of it now, but for the last several months I was completely blind to my self-seeking.

Thankfully God had enough of that, and this weekend He whacked me with that 2×4. But in His awesome, gentle and loving way, it didn’t feel like a blow to the head so much as a message poured straight into my heart. My burning bush came in the form of the She Speaks conference.


This was the second year in a row I’ve attended She Speaks. Last year I learned so much and walked away feeling confident of my calling. But now here I was, a year later, and that calling wasn’t really manifesting itself the way I’d imagined and I was starting to question the direction God wanted me to take — starting to wonder if God had really placed me with a calling or a hobby.

Over the course of two days I attended multiple key-note addresses and workshops, all with completely different speakers and topics, yet I kept hearing the same message over and over again: when God calls, He determines the when, the where, and the how. All you need to remember is Who, (and it ain’t you).

As I was faced with questions like:

“Would you do it for one?”

“Are you testing God or trusting Him?” and

“Do you want to be a woman who chases after God, or after goals?”

I could no longer pretend that I had been seeking only God. The “who” in my plans had become me and not the One who had called me. I was completely wrecked, but in all the right ways. In all of the necessary ways to wake up and choose a different path.

1 Samuel 3:10

God had to call Samuel four times before he was ready and listening. Maybe I can learn something from ol’ Sam and stop at two. Or maybe I’ll mess this up again and forget Who this calling is about. I honestly don’t know. But one thing I have learned for certain is that God doesn’t stop calling just because we’re not listening. As the fabulous Lisa Jo Baker said to me this weekend, “God is forever second chances.”

I’m thankful for this second chance to follow His call, and I trust His plan is so much greater than anything I could map out for myself.

Because when you know whose you are, the when, where and how are just minor details.

When God Calls

This post was part of the #LiveFreeThursday link-up at:

13 thoughts on “My burning bush”

  1. I think that very same 2×4 hit me as it swung through the air! It is easy to get wrapped up in platform and brand building. The only name we should promote is Jesus! Thank you for sharing so candidly! #SheSpeaks15 love to you 🙂

    1. Thank you, sweet Kelly (with a ‘y’, not an ‘ey’)! I think we are in good company and there were a lot of convicted hearts and renewed spirits leaving Concord.

  2. Ah! I love this! I always talk about how God needs to use a baseball bat to my head to reach me! And I have had those same conversations, er…ultimatums, with Him. I love the ‘it ain’t you’ message. Spot on, sister! Well done! Hang in there with your calling…you are not alone!

    1. Christy, I feel the same way! So great to meet you in person and thankful for our conversations. Your friendship blesses me.

  3. Oh, Jelise! I love how God’s brings His message to me again and again. This morning He brought it through you. I too, have been waiting for that lightening strike from Heaven to show me clearly the way to go and have become keenly aware that I have been putting much more emphasis on me than on God. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and reminding me once again to remember the Who!

  4. Beautiful words spoken here. God has been impressing many of the same truths on my heart in a powerful way. I love it. He says, just do and let me figure out the details. I was at She Speaks too. I wish we could have met! Cheering you today from #livefreethursday. Come by and say hi sometime!

    1. Thank you Kelly! I wish we could have met, too. I guess it gives us both a reason to go back next year, right? 🙂

  5. A wise woman of YHWH has said many times to me that the Creator gave us one mouth and two ears so we would listen twice as much as we talk. I think this is most appropriate when talking to the Father. Lots of people pray all the time for this thing or that thing but how often do they sit quietly with the word in their minds and listen. We can most often hear YHWH when we stop asking for things from him and listen to his instructions for us. Reading his word daily, not to find something to support what we already think, but to see what he gave us in the way of instructions for living a righteous life, is the best way to hear his message. I find the more I just try to follow his instructions, given by his appointed messengers throughout the Scriptures, the more I am blessed with personal peace. The Bible is the “Human Instruction Manual” for life. Everything YHWH says is to help us live the way he designed us for our benefit. None of it was just for one group of people at one time in history. It was the Fathers gift to all of his people for the purpose of a better life and chance to be closer to HIM. Today’s lifestyles with all of their distractions only makes it harder to hear that still quite voice of the Spirit that helps us find peace where ever we are and whatever we are doing. Finding a simpler life fulfilled by basic needs met and helping others with what is extra is the greatest peace I have ever known. It definitely makes it easier to hear the Father when he calls me to serve HIM in all the ways he has given me to serve. I hope you find your own peace through quietly listening to HIM and serving as he calls you to serve.

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