Learning how to capture the sparks of love and inspiration from God.
Our black lab, Kipper, loved capturing sparks. Every time we had a fire pit night he would stand just outside the fire circle and jump up trying to capture the sparks in his mouth before they disappeared into the dark. We always laughed and wondered why he did this or if he was getting burnt. This is the picture I see when I think about capturing thoughts I believe are from God.
I see them as sparks which come quickly and disappear just as suddenly. They come as words, thoughts, inspiration, and encouragement that God whispers ever so gently into my life every day. They come to me as I read a book or Scripture, listen to a podcast, watch television or a movie. They have come from the words of a friend, or the lyrics of a song. Sometimes they are just my own thoughts and then a few days later without knowing it, a friend will speak those same words to me. These are sparks from God and I have learned to capture them.
You might be wondering … How do I know they are sparks? I believe it’s because they resonate with my spirit. My heart says, “Yes, I needed to hear that.” Other times, they drop deep into the well of my soul and tears fall. Just like a spark they are full of light and truth piercing the darkness. They are like words highlighted on a page or a few words in a conversation that stand out.
God has never shouted at me or called to me from a burning bush. I’ve had to learn to listen for his whispers with my soul and trust that they are from him. I don’t take them for granted, assume it is just a coincidence, or that I will remember them. I see them as God walking through my day with me, trying to encourage or teach me something. If I don’t capture them, they are lost forever.
I use my phone and a journal to capture sparks. If I’m out and about, I use my phone’s Notes App to quickly jot it down. I type in the current month and year for my heading and then type in anything I think might be a spark.
When I use a journal, I leave the first few pages empty to create index or content pages for the remainder of the journal. I number each page in the corner of the journal before I start writing. Then I’m ready to start capturing sparks, quotes, anything I want to remember. I fill in my index pages as I write my notes down. For example, I might have a quote by Thomas Merton I want to write down. On my index page I write the word “Quotes” and then the page number I am writing my quote down on (say, page 4). After awhile my quote page is full, but I have been writing in my journal and am now up to page 19. So I title page 20 Quotes and write that number on my index page. My index page looks like this:
Quotes 4, 20,
I may not know the exact page I wrote down a quote by Thomas Merton, but I can quickly look on these two pages and know it will be on one of them. Now instead of just writing down random thoughts, I have an easy way to organize and find them again. I also write down the date I captured these notes and give credit to person who wrote or said them.
I also find it helpful to reflect back on what God is saying to me. I’ve done this on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. This way I can see what I am learning and if there is a consistent theme. Is there something I need to do, change, study or reflect more on?
God’s wisdom, inspiration, comfort, creativeness, etc. are resources available for you . Colossians 2:9-10 says that the fullness of the deity dwelt in bodily form in Jesus and we have been filled with Jesus. If this is true, then I am walking around filled with a glorious God! I believe God wants to speak to us and he can use any form he wants. (He even used a donkey once. See Numbers 22:28). He won’t shout or make us sit down and listen. We must discipline ourselves to listen for his sparks, his whispers that come to us in simple ways during our ordinary days. The important thing is to capture them before they fly away. A journal or a phone is a great way to do this.
Don’t be afraid you’ll make a mistake. You’re not a prophet with a “Thus saith the Lord,” message to give. You’re just learning to listen to God. Like anything else in life, we get good at something by being bad at it at first. Overtime we learn to recognize God’s voice more and more. Just try capturing a spark next time you think one just flew by. Write it down in your phone or in a journal and reflect on it later. Think of it like taking a picture. If you don’t capture that moment, it’s gone forever. Why not try capturing those sparks in 2019?