About the Author

Shannan Martin is the author of Falling Free: Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted, wife of a jail chaplain, and mom to four kiddos. She's a big believer in community and salsa, and blogs at ShannanMartinWrites.com.

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  1. Shannan,
    Just this week, I got a very direct and specific request from God – His Holy Spirit urging within me. I, too, am so used to the generalities that when something very specific comes to me I question it. What do I need? A burning bush perhaps. I did listen, however, and in the process I learned that God wanted me to bless someone else and in the process I was blessed. Once again I was convicted about listening to His voice when He speaks. Your post is yet further reassurance that God does truly care about the specifics in our lives.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Oh, Bev. Wouldn’t a burning bush be wonderful??
      🙂
      Thank you so much for sharing with us here.

  2. I love how very specific and personal God is with each of us. He knows what we need, and how we need to hear it. I love that one God can speak to us as individuals, guiding each of our journeys in the direction of His leading. I find great comfort in the ways God chooses to speak to me, in ways that differ from how He speaks to my husband or my children and friends. Thanks for sharing this Shannan, you’re right, grace feels dicier, it always makes me think–

    Grateful for these words. Grateful for you.

    • That’s the thing, this stuff isn’t always as black and white as we’d like to think. God speaks to each of us, as unique humans. I love that! (Also, sometimes I don’t super love it.) 🙂

  3. I’ve had the same thing occur when God was allowing me to be sifted like wheat last year. I went through a hard time but when I got through it, my eyes were opened to things I was passively allowing, not realizing how damaging they were to my soul! Magazine subscriptions were cancelled and shows deleted from my DVR…and God has filled that time with His presence! I don’t even miss all that stuff and wish I would have done it sooner!

    • I’ve been through a similar process. For years I read things that I could dismiss as “fluff” or “harmless fun” or I watched shows because they were popular. However, in recent years God has really worked in my heart to make me consider carefully what I bring into our home. There was a time when I would have felt deprived of fun, but looking back, I realize that my life is much fuller and happier for having drawn closer to God.

      • This is where it gets interesting for me, because I still watch shows and read books some would disapprove with. I think that’s why it was such a shock to hear from God so specifically about this one show. I don’t always think things are super black and white, which is why we desperately need the Holy Spirit. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation! Love how God uses us to sharpen one another.

  4. “I like to think of God shaping me as a potter shapes a lump of clay.”

    This is such a great analogy! That process of shaping, of sanctification, can be difficult but God blesses us through it. That moment of realizing that by God’s grace, we are forgiven is beautiful. However, I think it takes longer for it to sink in that following Christ is a process of obedience and of being refined and shaped. I think we’re about the same age, and even now that I’m out of my fire-filled early 20s, I am still constantly amazed at how God cares for each of our individual souls.

    • God’s grace! It’s such a revelation to me, and it never stops surprising me. I missed out on this for so long and hope I make up for lost time forever. 🙂
      Thanks for your comment!

  5. Can I just say again, “ME TOO!” I do love knowing I’m not alone! A couple of years ago we “pulled the plug” on a very popular show because we found ourselves rooting for the “dark side”. For us, it was wrong, but the struggle to let it go was real! BUT…what relief and peace!

    • Amen, sister. We still have media standards some might consider loose, but with this one example it was so clear. (As much as I wanted to pretend I didn’t hear.) A line was crossed and I knew it was different – I couldn’t go back. So important for us to stay in our own lane and listen for God’s voice TO US. He speaks to us as individuals. How cool is that??! Love you, Sister.

  6. I was struck by His directness to me just yesterday- He showed me that there is an activity engaged in by a family member that I had unwittingly been condoning simply by my blind encouragement of it, all in the name of wanting to seem interested and supportive. He showed me that this person’s actions, while not sinful, were part of a bigger picture that has the potential to cause others to stumble and certainly isn’t leading anyone to Him. While I realized I cannot change this adult’s choices or behavior, I can choose to remain silent regarding their activity so as not to encourage it. I had to confess my own blindness to this whole situation, gain some of my own conviction, and choose a different path that will not be hurtful to this family member, but will also not be encouraging something that is not God-honoring in any way.

    I am so thankful that He showed me my specific error in this situation, heard my confession of choosing to look away when I knew in my heart of hearts it was wrong, and gave me a new mindset for moving forward that is more in line with being His child. God will have to deal with this person in His own timing, and that’s now my prayer.

  7. So what did you do?
    I remember very distinctly when I had to say no to a very strong temptation, to die to a very real desire. “If I’m not going to get my needs met in a God approved way, then I’m not going to get them met.” I had to say. It was very hard. But after I said no to sin that day, the God approved way opened up, and it was good. So I realized that sin looks really good beforehand but stinks after, and right is hard while sin looks good but is glorious after choosing to do right.

    • Ha! I guess I didn’t make that super clear, did I?
      Well, I haven’t gone back. But I’ll be honest, I’ve been curious about how the storyline developed. (Ack.) Life is so refining if we let it be! God uses the wildest things to get my attention sometime!
      Thanks for asking, lady. 🙂

  8. Wow! I felt this was God speaking to me today. I think for a long time now, He has been telling me to stop eating sugar and to avoid a certain person who is a temptation for me. I am a young widow. I lost my husband last summer. I have no children and no family. Please pray that I can give up sugar and avoid this certain person. Please pray God will bless me with a wonderful Christian man. Thank you.

    • Therese,
      I am deeply sorry for the loss of your husband! I pray God will help you on this journey of life! Prayers also that you can follow God and give up sugar & this person! A huge prayer that God will bring friends and perhaps a good Christian man.
      Blessings 🙂

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Grateful that God is continuing to guide you specifically in this hard place and believing He has such a beautiful plan for your future.

  9. HA! Had the same exact thing happen… a tv show in my que… i liked the story of the people in it… but the rest of the show… ugh… i really, really wanted to find out what happened to the people… took me a few times to decide to follow… but yes… so glad i did! thanks for your honesty!

  10. Last week, God also spoke to me about a certain show I was nearly obsessed with on Netflix. But I brushed it off as just me and my Christian upbringing shaming me into doing what’s “acceptable.” But then in the middle of studying Breaking Free by Beth Moore it hit me like a 2×4 to the head; that show had become a stronghold. I was thinking about it more than Him. Praise God that he shines a light in all our dark places in his timing.

  11. This was me last night. The last week or so I started watching a new to me show on netflix. I quickly got wrapped up in the story, but felt God saying “Why are you watching this?” I excuse it away because there are worse things I could watch and I like the characters, etc. I tried reading instead, but ended the night with two episodes. And it felt like when you eat too much of something that isn’t good for you. Agh. I need to listen more to what God wants me to do rather than what I want to do or what other people or doing.

  12. I have been there before! I appreciate your openess. You asked a question, “Will God cast me out for this?” The answer is no. Once you have asked God to save you, you cannot lose that salvation. There is nothing you can do to separate yourself from Him.

  13. This is good Shannan and I can relate!! I was just convicted yesterday while reading Eph. chapter 5:3-4 (But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.) Whew, how I have gotten sloppy in the area of letting things in my life with impurity, cursing and even laughing at some jokes. :/ It really is about holiness and how as God’s children and His representatives we shouldn’t even “have a hint” of these in our lives. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit speaking to me personally and if I ignore Him then I will certainly “grieve” Him. I think you and I had an “Utmost for His Highest” moment….you know, God brings us to a crossroads and we either go toward a more lazy Christian life or more on fire for Him giving Him our utmost for His highest!! 🙂

  14. I have just recently deleted a Netflix series that I enjoyed up until this season, then was kind of disappointed in myself for even continuing on with it. I feel like it was the right thing for me and I’m glad that it isn’t in our house any longer. I have been a Christian so long that sometimes I feel that I take it for granted and don’t “participate” on a daily basis as I used to. It used to feel fresher to me though I am still a strong believer. Your blog and posts like this make me feel that we all have our struggles and that there is no perfect in our human world.

  15. Shannan,
    A few years ago I heard God distinctly tell me to send someone an I’m praying for you card. I didn’t want to because I hardly knew the person. She worked in my clinic one day a week. He kept at it till I sent the card. Turned out to be a good thing and we became good friends after that. I know to always listen to the promptings of God. He has our best interest at heart!
    Blessings:)

  16. In this day and age you can’t always control the first look, but you can the second. I tell my kids garbage in then garbage out. I think all Christians know what God wants us to watch and what He doesn’t want us to watch, and read. These days it isn’t easy and I watch a whole lot of old westerns.

    Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good
    for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those
    who hear. Ephesians 4:29

    Sammy

  17. Ooh, I love this discussion. Not about shows, but about obedience and grace. What good news that the Holy Spirit is working in us and for us and through us. And that God cares enough about you to say, “this, specifically, is not good for you.” So personal! Thanks for sharing.

    • Girl, thank you for totally understanding that this is not about TV. 🙂
      Yes, God is so personal. What a miracle, right??!

  18. Seems if the spirit is telling you plainly not to do something, to continue doing it is a sin. Our preacher taught on sin tonight. To continue in a sin when you know it’s a sin and you are a Christian makes it much worse for you than the person who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus. I struggle with my will all the time, but it is Jesus’ will that must mold us.

    • I certainly agree! Disobedience is sin. Plain and simple. My questions are more of the “now what” variety, since I seem incapable of not sinning. 🙂

      • I am encouraged by Romans 7 where Paul describes this very challenge. The chapter ends with the rhetorical question “Who can deliver me from this body of death? ” answered by “I thank my God through Jesus Christ.” Then Romans 8 tells us there is no condemnation.
        I read once that the “body of death ” was a Roman manner of execution where a corpse was tied fast to a living person till its corruption caused death. A pretty good picture of our reborn spirit in a natural body,yes?
        But we have the promise that if we look to Him we will be radiant. Looking to Him is the key because we become what we choose to look at.
        Love and Blessings.

  19. Flannel-board Jesus, and this: “May our ears remain pressed against His heart. May we never forget the power of His voice.” YESSSS!

  20. Shannan, I clicked on over via Tresta Payne’s ‘Simple List’ link up.
    At any rate, these lines ring SO true!
    You nailed the perfect combo–our abiding in Him and his unending love. Wonderful words.