Most dogs where a collar to identify their name and their owner’s phone number should the two become separated. When I walk Grace, I put a second collar on her slender neck. It is bright orange and it connects with a remote control I wear around my neck. Grace runs free through the fields and open space near our home, yet remains connected to me via a electronic collar.
Grace trained with the collar to learn that two beeps indicate, “change direction,” multiple beeps mean “come back to me,” and when she is unresponsive to the beeps, a little vibration communicates, “pay attention” and “obey.” Perhaps it sounds complicated, but it really isn’t and she behaves like a pro with the collar.
The other day on our morning walk, Grace discovered something tantalizing in the field. She began to stay in the same spot, nosing around, and nibbling on her discovery. I beeped her – no response. I beeped her again – no response. Consumed with her discovery she refused to respond to the training connected to the collar. Then, I added a little vibration.
The trainer called it “stim,” like stimulation. I liken it to having my cell phone in my pocket on mute and then suddenly when I get a phone call, my pocket vibrates. The vibration gets my attention, surprising me, and I answer the phone. The stim in Grace’s collar offers a similar impact. The vibration gets her attention and she then responds to the commands of the beep.
Stim – Abbreviation of stimulation – A vibration or movement arousing awareness, interest, and action.
Unfortunately, on this morning walk, Grace neither responded to the sound of the beeps or the stimulating vibration. This meant that I needed to increase the amount of vibration to garner her attention and focus. I began to slowly increase the intensity of of the stim vibration – she continued to mess with her treasure in the field. I increased the stim again and again – finally she could no longer ignore the strength of the vibration and came bounding my way. Then, in penitence she walked carefully by my side.
I found myself wondering about the ways God “beeps” to get our attention and then, due to our inattention, offers a little stim to invite action and obedience. Most of the time it seems stim would be a response to wrong doing or sin, but occasionally, stim might simply be an alert to consider the things of God and move even closer towards Him. Words beginning with the letter “S” arose as I pondered the ways God brings and uses stim in our lives for our transformation.
Scripture – The living active Word of God addresses all of life. Although written in a different time, to different people, God, by His Spirit, communicates with us today through His inspired Word. Are you open to God’s nudges and stimulation as you reflect in Scripture? I notice God gives vibrations to areas in my life that He wants me to examine; what about you? (2 Timothy 2:16-17)
What are you digesting in Scripture? How do you allow the stories and Truths of God to shape you? Are you open to the stimulation of God through the verses you read, or do you approach God’s word with a tempered heart and closed mind? When you sense the vibrating stim – wonder with God about the Scripture and respond to the stirring of the Spirit.
Silence – Life abounds with noise. Sometimes God meets us in the loud and thunderous, however, in many instances, God waits for us in the hushed spaces in our lives. Creating time to cease activity to be with God and attend to His nudges and stim upon our soul requires effort. What might you need to give up in order to make time for silence and stillness in your routine? (Psalm 62:5)
How often do you still the cacophony in your mind and heart in order to pay attention to the still quiet voice of God? In what ways do you slow and still the distractions within your mind and heart? Do you live with intention, alert to the voice of God, or does God need to turn up the stim a bit to grab your attention and invite obedience? Practice sitting still for 10 minutes away from electronics and people. Center on God and welcome His companionship.
As I practiced silence earlier today, I perceived the stim of God. A vibration inviting me to journal. For the last several years journaling offered a steady space to sort my soul with God. Over the last few weeks, so much has happened I find myself resisting my journal. Where do I start? How long will it take? Do I have the energy? Even with my excuses (I’ve blocked out God’s beeps), I sense the Lord sending a strong vibration. So, guess what I am doing tonight? I will journal and receive what God has for me in that space with Him. 😊
Suffering – Because of the broken world in which we live, sickness, pain, and suffering exist. Sometimes suffering occurs because of our own sinful choices and at other times, it erupts because of the choices of others. God meets us in our suffering by stimulating us to seek Him: to pursue Him in the pain and receive His attention to the wounded places in our soul. The stim of God during suffering reveals His compassionate heart and constant presence. Hard times provide opportunities to lean into the love of the Lord and grow with Him. (Psalm 34:18)
In what areas of your life do you experience suffering resulting from your own sinful thoughts and behaviors, or from those of others? How can you welcome Jesus into those hard spaces? Consider these difficult times as vibrations from God to know His love and presence more fully.
Songs – Music contains power. The combination of meaningful words and creative rhythms stir the soul. God meets many of us through song. He made us to connect through music – it taps a depth within our inner being. Have you ever heard a song that felt pertinent to a circumstance, confusion, or concern in your life? I often wake up with a phrase from a song playing in my mind and heart; most of the time it relates to praise or a prayer. You don’t have to be able to carry a tune, read music, or play an instrument to allow the stim of God to resonate through you by tunes you hear. (Psalm 40:3)
What song lyrics are you aware of in your soul? Are you open to God bringing stim to your soul through the words you hear? What rhythms play upon your heart? Take note of the songs beating upon your heart and wonder with God if they might be His creative stimulation inviting you to a deeper knowing of Himself or a change of direction to walk in His ways.
Someone – I notice the ways God works through the words and presence of other people. Whether a passing comment in a group setting or a one on one conversation, God moves through the voices of others to turn up the stim in our soul. Just as we see in Scripture when Nathan confronted David or Mary visited Elizabeth, God speaks through people. Sometimes God speaks conviction and other times God speaks wonder and awe. Give careful thought to the words of others, they just might be our mighty God bringing stim to your journey with Him. (Romans 12:6)
Who are the “someones” in your life? Do you listen, or defend? Are you open to feedback from the someones surrounding you? Have you ever considered that the voice of that someone may be the voice of God speaking to your soul? Take an honest look at yourself – do you allow others to bring the stim of God into your life?
When we belong to God, He reaches out to us in a variety of ways launching awareness and action as His children. We live connected to Him by the Holy Spirit living within us! Hopefully we respond to the beeps of His presence, causing us to change directions. Listen for the beeps of God.
When our focus drifts from Him, God might offer a bit of stim to alert us to our inattention. When we dismiss the stimulation of the Spirit within, be aware that God may turn up the pressure of His presence. Notice God’s vibrations to your soul and welcome the full life He came to bring – live with great vitality because of the stim-bringing presence of God.
Like Grace, let’s enjoy running free, yet always attentive to the beeps and stim of God, knowing we are always connected to Him by the Spirit.
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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Hebrews 10:24 – And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…
Proverbs 16:20 – Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Dallas Willard. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ – 20th Anniversary Edition. Colorado Springs, CO. 2021.
Henry T. Blackaby. Experiencing God (2021 Edition): Knowing and Doing the Will of God. Nashville, TN. 2021.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Maverick City Music. Firm Foundation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOP4s8fOEm0
Mandisa. God Speaking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NxtZfeLdzI
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.
October 19-November 2 – Manila, Philippines
October 19-27 – Global Trust Partners Global Gathering
October 27-November 2 – Leading a Retreat, Preaching, and Offering soul care at Manna from Heaven Center)