“Chatter” or “Who’s in control?”

I was walking back from the Business Office earlier today in the frigid air that has swallowed our region. My teeth chattered a bit in the cold. Then I enaged a train of thought, as we all know I love to do. Teeth chatter is something I’d thought about before, but hadn’t looked at in the light I did today.

So…as I said, my teeth chattered a bit in the cold. Pretty typical stuff. But it wasn’t as if I couldn’t stop them from chattering, because I could. In my mind, I decided to stop my jaw from chattering…and it did. I then gave myself back over to the chatter, and it picked up right where it left off. Chat-chat-chat-chat-chat…chat-chat…chat-chat-chat…ch-ch-chat.

That chatter was clearly real. It’s not like I was doing it out of habit or anything. I don’t know the biology behind chattering teeth…but we all know it can happen in cold air. All the more evidence: try to reproduce the chattering at typical room temperture; it doesn’t work. I just tried and didn’t suceed. So, it is 1) induced by something, 2) can’t be reproduced at will and 3) can be controlled by us.

As I was turning my chattering off and on while walking back to the office, I applied the line of thinking to movements of God. Is spiritual ‘chattering’ something we tend to control to the point that it doesn’t exist in our lives? Could we experience God supernaturally a bit more were we to back off the control throttle?

After leaving Westwinds, I started attending church where it’s not uncommon for people to be prayed for and fall to the floor under the power of God. Happened tonight as a matter of fact. But it’s only happened to me…1 1/2 times…once when I was being prayed for and once when another was.

I wonder how much of my experience of God is possibly being shut down by my mind, just like I could shut the chatter down. As I said: the chatter was clearly real; I wasn’t making myself do it. There was something going on with my body in response to the elements. But I could turn it off if I wanted to.

Do you think it’s possible we do that to God sometimes? Do we turn him off with our minds, blocking movements he wants to do in and through us…"chattering" he wants to well up from within us or perhaps rain down upon us? Maybe we don’t do it as deliberately as I did today walking back from the Business Office, where I set out to stop it and then yield to it, stop it and yield to it again and again.

I think that ‘yield’ is a key word. I think it is quite possible that the Spirit of God is flowing in and around us all the time, and the minute a person yields to it: BOOM! "Chattering" commenses. Maybe they speak in tongues (gasp!) or maybe they fall to the ground or maybe they sing and shout for joy or maybe they dance and do a flip. Maybe they become dead silent. Who knows?

But for the most part, we walk around with our minds set to not chatter. Or maybe even more likely…we don’t even expose ourselves to elements that bring about chattering.

The funny thing is that in general we accept our reaction to physical elements, but not spiritual ones. We say it’s ok for a person’s teeth to chatter and body shiver in the cold. Gotta keep warm, right? But if a person were to shake in response to the Holy Spirit–a FAR more powerful force that your 20 degree winter air and stiff 30 MPH wind–we’d think they were weird or emotional or possibly possessed by a demon.

What about staying spiritually warm?

I’m not about to suggest that people’s spirituality can be measured by how many times they’ve hit the ground by having hands layed on them…or how expressive they are in their worship. That’s not my point. God interacts with people in all sorts of ways. But my point actually isn’t that far away. I say a person’s connection to God CAN be measured in how much that person is yielding to Him.

I wouldn’t dare speculate how much another person is yielding to God; that is judging. If a person is prayed for and doesn’t fall, that doesn’t mean that person isn’t fully yielding to God. Maybe He just didn’t have plans to overwhelm the person.

But the yielding question is very much an inner one. It’s something we need to be asking ourselves. Because the cool, chatter-inducing air of the Holy Spirit is around us all the time. And if we aren’t affected by it, maybe we’ve just deciding not to be, much like I did today on the way back from the Business Office.

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

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