I think we all get nudges from time to time. When I’m talking about a nudge, I’m talking about that something that prods me to do something or say something that often may not relate to what I am doing or where I am at all. They seem to come out of nowhere and can be easy to ignore because they may not make sense to me at that point.
When I was a much younger woman I tended to ignore them as just one of those crazy things my mind had made up or discovered, but I so much wish I had paid closer attention to them earlier. It was easier to ignore them when I had no knowledge of the person or situation that might have moved me to respond to the nudge.
Of course I was truly ignoring the Holy Spirit back then and missing opportunities assigned to me to bless or encourage someone. I can’t recall the first time I acted on such a nudge because it has actually been quite some time now, but in recent months the Lord has been reminding me that He loves to use us when we accept and act on the nudge. I/we need to not let our heads always run the show.
The nudge doesn’t come from our heads, but rather the heart of Jesus inside us. It is His heart that wants to reach out and touch someone in a specific way. He gives us a chance to be Him with skin on in that moment.
Sometimes I have not done it because it would cost me something and at the time I was not feeling generous or my head was looking at the budget. It might mean time or dollars. It might be inconvenient. It might mean I need to quiet the “other” voice telling me it would be foolish to respond or act and the other person would think so as well. As I write those words, they sound so foolish, selfish, and unresponsive to the Spirit. That’s because they are.
I am so grateful the Lord has been a patient teacher and given me time over the course of my lifetime to learn the value of a nudge. You see, I have discovered the blessing of His love and sense of His affirmation each time I have accepted the opportunity. I say “accepted” rather than “obey” because I don’t think the nudges are commands requiring obedience as much as they are opportunities to bless Him, serve Him in a unique way.
He showed us over and over again during His life here on earth that He noticed the little things and He wants us to be like Him in that as well. Our busyness too often stands in the way of opening ourselves to Him in those ways so we close off our hearts to Him in those moments. He won’t push or demand it. So once we set it aside, we won’t need to worry that we will be hounded. That’s not like Him. But I can tell you there have been times I did just that and later discovered sorrow at missing an opportunity that would not come back again. The lessons were not always painful, but some were painful enough that I determined to not ignore or dismiss His gentle nudges.
Two weeks ago I heard a pastor from Mexico talk about Jesus coming soon. He went on to use a soccer analogy about this being the last three minutes of the game. His words have been echoing in my heart, mind, and spirit since that message. Clearly, he wanted us to be aware that we need to make our time count and it isn’t always about doing more, but listening more and responding faster to His nudge, His whisper.
It confirms something that seems to have been hard-wired into me from the very beginning of my conscious memory. I am persuaded that He placed it there.
I have had a strong determination to be sure I remind persons I care about that I love them, to not leave unsaid anything I might want them to know if I never have the chance to say it again or do it again. It has never been about fear, but truly as the most logical of choices to me. The truth is that at some point, it will be true and I want my last words, my last actions they recall to be of my love for them.
Isn’t that what Jesus modeled for us?
A recent example is especially poignant today.
A few months ago as I sat at an intersection a friend of mine that I had not seen in some time passed in front of me. I was near the workplace we had both shared before I retired. As I looked at the time I knew he was heading to the office. I smiled as I thought of him as he rushed by and the traffic light was about to change, the nudge was there to turn rather than go straight and catch the person in the parking lot to say “hello”. I did.
I caught up with him for only a brief few moments, but the words exchanged between us about seemingly unimportant details echo in my heart. Later that day he called me to tell me how much he valued my choice to reach out and swing around to see him. It had encouraged his heart. He also told me in our brief phone conversation that he wanted me to know he loved me. My split second of silence resulted in him responding, “Do you hear me? I said I love you.” Yes, I had heard and responded that I loved him as well. We had said such things in passing at other times at work, but it seemed like he (and the Lord) didn’t want me to miss it this time. We caught up on a few more details of our lives and then the conversation ended.
A few weeks later I heard he was ill and in the hospital and that a biopsy was going to be taken. I found out from his son when the day and time was scheduled and called his wife’s cell phone that morning and asked if I could pray with them over the phone before the procedure. They both agreed. It was a precious few moments in time and they both thanked me. Just before I hung up, he said, “I love you, lady.”
The biopsy would confirm he had end stage cancer. Those words on the phone expressing his love for me would be the last time I would hear his voice. That day I responded to the nudge and talked with him in the parking lot would be the last time I would see him alive this side of heaven. Those words on the phone before the biopsy would be the last we would share before we are both home with the Lord.
Yesterday my husband and I attended his funeral just two months after our last meeting and our last words. Both are gifts to me that I will cherish.
The value of following a nudge could not be clearer. When I respond, it is a gift to the other person, but it is also a gift to the Lord. He also passes it along to me just because that is who He is, always has been, and will be.
It is priceless!