When Goosebumps Don’t Come

Written by on March 27, 2016

Long Hollow Ranch #1
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your strength and with all your mind”
(Luke 10:27).

Do you sometimes spend extended time with Jesus, but there are no goose bumps?

That’s what happened with me a couple of weeks ago in Sisters, Oregon at Long Hollow Ranch—580 acres, an empty cottage, and six blank calendar pages to myself.

  • To my chagrin, the first day, my laptop fell onto the brick floor that flanked the wood stove in the cottage. I spent the next day in town getting the hard drive replaced. Looking for a silver lining, I realized later that the new one was stronger and much faster than the original. I got an unexpected upgrade in the process.Long Hollow Ranch #3
  • I expected blue skies and long hikes with Jesus. What I got instead were gray skies, whirling winds, and snow. When I didn’t get the weather I asked for, I shifted into the kid room in my head. Snooooow! 
  • I went on hikes. But wet and muddy trails cut them short. I determined to thank Elohim, our Creator, for the quiet, open expanse that lay clear ahead, even though I wanted to hustle inside out of the cold.
  • Long Hollow Ranch #4I hung out with Co-Co (Comforter and Counselor) one-on-one, reflected, journaled, painted, drew, worshiped, and took pictures of the horses. But I’m going to come clean: I didn’t gets goose bumps or have a saccharine-sweet time. In fact, I felt guilty that my head wanted to lead out. My spirit came short of soaring. But with hindsight, I see the images, journal entries, and songs I created as moments when I worshiped God with all my mind. Even though I wasn’t feeling on the upswing in my emotions, God met  me there.
  • I worked on my first book, a manuscript on self-forgiveness. Spending the week without distraction allowed me to hear my own thoughts, and those the Holy Spirit quietly spoke, and to write them down.
  • While there, I felt God tell me to step back from one ministry, to make room for two others calling me deeper into their intercessory communities. With hindsight, I felt that time for introspection, and decision to step back from that ministry, blankified much-needed real estate in my planner. By simplifying, once I returned to my regular routine, I was able to hit my stride and accomplish more.

How do you shift into your spirit when your mind wants to take the lead? What benefits come from those times?

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  1. Allan F Wilson   On   March 28, 2016 at 6:33 am

    I walk each morning–it’s a heart thing, but Papa God has turned it into a “mutter-unto-the Lord-thing.” I can never think of anything to say, so He says “just say my name, how many you can think of, and thank me for whatever pops into your head.”
    It started when I felt Him say, “Pray for the people in that house.” I said, “I don’t know them. He said, “I do, pray! Use the language I gave you, then
    eventually you will know in your heart My heart for them–you will never run out of things to lift up to me!” So I do, each day as I walk–it’s a heart thing!

    • Lynn Hare   On   March 28, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Allan, I love that! It warms my heart that the Holy Spirit knows how to pray . . . and we follow Him. And I love that we never run out of things to lift up to Him! Yay!

  2. Charles   On   March 28, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Very encouraging post. Thank you! It reminds me of a psalm of David.

    O God, You are my God;
    Early will I seek You;
    My soul thirsts for You;
    My flesh longs for You
    In a dry and thirsty land
    Where there is no water (Psalm 63:1 NKJV) – and sometimes no good bumps

    • Lynn Hare   On   March 28, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Charles, I LOVE that psalm. We seek, thirst, and long for Him in the desert. The ranch had a large irrigation system. A typically dry and thirsty land, apparently. I’m glad God pours out His presence even there, in our blank expanses of dry times.

  3. Julia Steuart   On   March 28, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I love Psalm 63, Charles!! I love your Goose bumps story! You inspire me today!! God bless you for sharing your quiet time experiences Lynn!!!! I can relate to your first dry episode when you accidentally dropped your laptop and needing to have to get that fixed right away before you could continue to start the goal for which you had originally planned for which you had gotten away for 6 days!! Delays seem so counter productive, don’t they? I bet you were pleasantly surprised with this obvious inconvenient mishap created an opportunity of blessing for you that morning and others!! Right? An unexpected God moment!! Thank you, Lynn for sharing!!

    • Lynn Hare   On   March 28, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you, Julia. I hate delays! Yikes! And talk about counter-productive, that’s exactly how it felt!
      I have a confession to make: I was tempted to lie and say it was a super-spiritual experience. Come on, I’m a passionate disciple of Christ. What was I doing in my HEAD, for heaven’s sake? But the Lord told me to share this, and that it’s a common experience and to validate others who were doing the same on their journeys.

  4. Rob Oberto   On   March 28, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Your desire to set this special time aside to be with God is precious in His sight!

    My expectations for vacations coincide with personal retreats. They are always too high to be realized by any sensible human. Aware of this I try not to over expect, but during the planning and the waiting I create an unmeetable expectation. Then the big day arrives that will take me far away to a place of my heart’s desire. But I discover that I’m still the same person when I arrive at the airport. I’m just as annoyed by little things. I’m just as frustrated by delays.

    I once went on a seven day fast hoping it would be the spiritual experience of a lifetime. It was a critical junction in my life and I desperately needed specific direction from the Lord. Surely the Lord would honor, and be impressed by, my heartfelt devotion to prayer. Unfortunately, the only discernible accomplishments from my effort were extreme hunger and the lesson that you never end a seven day fast with a pepperoni pizza. Your retreat was more fruitful than that one.

    Yet, I can be walking down the street or momentarily staring at a wall, and the Lord will bless me in an extraordinary way. I guess we’re on His timing, not ours. Our hearts just have to be open to His all the time.

    • Lynn Hare   On   April 4, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Rob, that’s true. I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one who set the bar so high for a trip like that. I loved that you did a 7-day fast to get direction from the Lord. Sounds like there weren’t a lot of downloads that week. Like you, I didn’t get a ton of momentum from mine. And, yes, I often get a revelation in simple moments throughout a regular day like you. I guess those aha moments happen in kairos timing, when the Holy Spirit prompts them. Go figure.

  5. Lyneta   On   March 28, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I loved reading this, Lynn. I have had many retreats when I expected God to show up with goose bumps and a spiritual high, but learned other lessons instead. Thanks for your example of leaning into the presence of God, even when the warm fuzzies don’t show up. No matter how we feel, He is there and He loves us more than we can think or imagine.

    • Lynn Hare   On   April 4, 2016 at 12:25 am

      Thank you, Lyneta. I like what you said about other lessons learned. It’s a good thing grace is at the core of this thing we call faith!

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