Have you ever had one of those times where you were certain God was trying to speak to you but you didn’t have a clue as to what He was saying? One of those times where you wanted to shout the popular kid phrase, “I can see your mouth moving (God) but I’ll I hear is blah-de, blah-de, blah.”
I had one of those times recently when my family and I headed for the mountains for a quite retreat. We had been planning our private getaway from the demands of work, school, meetings, errands, church, ministry, chores and non-stop noise for months. A weekend together in the perfect haven of peace, at a small campground nestled in the highlands of Sonora.
We arrived in the late afternoon and the campgrounds were still. Stepping out of the stuffy car and into the crisp mountain air, a sense of tranquility came over me. Peace and quiet at last. We strolled through the grounds in search of our cabin; a one-room cottage with wooden shingles, a mound of pine needles scattered on the porch, a rocking chair, a stove and no TV. It was perfect.
Nightfall came quickly as we settled into to our cabin and enjoyed a wonderful time of reconnecting with one another. In the morning, I took pleasure in watching the sunrise over the enormous pine trees. As I quietly read my bible on the porch, I thought to myself, this is he kind of place, where I can really hear God speak. Then the day began.
Moments later, a youth pastor summoning his youth group through a blaring megaphone interrupted my thoughts. What seemed to be a zillion kids, suddenly ran through my haven of peace, screaming with excitement, toward the sound of the megaphone. Oh that’s right, we’re not alone.
I had almost forgotten that our church youth group had planned what they called “Survivor Camp” on the same weekend as our getaway. Determined that I could still hear God in our peaceful abode, regardless of the zillion kids, I quickly closed my bible, grabbed my family, and headed toward the center of camp. When we got there, the youth were everywhere! They looked like army ants frantically invading a picnic. I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony-So much for peace and quiet.
We passed through the familiar faces and headed toward a secluded area. And just when we though we were in the clear, a man walking passed us, stopped and pointed his finger at me and said, “Hey, don’t I know you?” No, it’s impossible. We’re on our family getaway from people, places and things, was my first thought, then I recognized who he was. He was a member of the church we had attended eight years prior before moving to Manteca. The church where I first learned about having a real relationship with God. The church that took me forever to get over leaving. As it turned out, the pastor, along with the men of that church were on a retreat as well. Why was everyone trying to getaway on our weekend?
We relished the next fifteen minutes catching up with our old pastor, and then it was time to part. Our old church went on one side of the campground to fellowship, while our new church was on the other side doing the same. And here we were, right smack in the middle of it all. And at that moment as I looked back and forth between my past and present, I thought, “It’s like I can see your mouth moving (God) but I’ll I hear is blah-de, blah-de, blah.”
I had no idea what God was trying to say to me at that precise moment but as I observed both groups; a strong conflict of emotion began to arise. I longed for my old church, the church that was apart of my culture, my home, my family and comfort. Though my present church is wonderful and the pastors outstanding, I ached for the familiarity of the past.
My family and I stayed to ourselves for the rest of the weekend and had a wonderful time; still the conflicting emotion remained. It wasn’t until two weeks later when I read Hebrews 11:15 that I understood my feelings from that day. “If they had been thinking with homesick remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have constant opportunity to return to it.”
Though it had been eight years, I still had soul ties to my old church. That intense bonding of the soul to someone or something that you just can’t let go of—Even when God says, it’s time to let go. Certainly I have grown a great deal spiritually over the years, but I understand now, that there have been times that my soul ties kept me longing for what I knew, instead of fully going forward.
I thought back to that morning when I had said to myself, this the kind of place, where I can really hear God speak. Only to be unable to hear a word He was saying when confronted with a soul tie. The truth was, I didn’t want to hear what God was saying. I didn’t want to know that I still held on to something I was supposed to let go off, long ago.
Soul ties are not easy to break. It’s only in acknowledging that they existence and then seeking God for direction that we are able to let go of the familiar and embrace the unfamiliar. If you find that you have soul ties and they are hindering you from hearing God, bring your soul and your ties to God and ask Him to help you release the ties that bind.