The word “selah” gets thrown around since it was popularized by a musical group who used it as their main identifying theme. What we do know of selah is that it is found in the Bible seventy-four times, seventy-one in Psalms and three in Habakkuk’s third chapter. It is most definitely some sort of musical notation, but its exact meaning is unknown. What we do know of it, however, can be explained in the following as either one or all of the following explanations:
As a musical note, to indicate that musical forte should be used and overall sound should be louder.
To joint two different ideas together, or to link two thoughts.
As a division, to divide thoughts
As a way to take the command that has been given, which one should pay attention to and think about.
In the Amplified Bible, the word selah is amplified as “pause and calmly think about that.”
The past week, the Lord has spoken the word “selah” to me. When it has come to me, no other words accompany it; just “selah.” Given the different understandings of the word, which I believe can all apply in one form or another, I believe it is a word that God is speaking to me as is relevant to the season I am in that is now coming to a close.
A little over a year ago, I thought the season I was in was truly over. I was at a new phase of things. We were moving into a building and we were starting Sanctuary here in Raleigh. I wasn’t starting a new company, but was working on a new partnership that I hoped would better income, as income was a major issue. All the words that people gave me pointed to the fact that this was a new season, I was even given word from one individual that I was walking into a “new season,” it was a new time, and I should have faith and trust that the support would be there and the people would come.
I won’t lie; I had my doubts. I was hesitant to enter into a contract for a building when I was not sure we would be able to pay for it for the duration. I believed that if I didn’t have all twelve months upfront to pay for the property, I couldn’t afford it. That was branded as a lack of faith by several people and the word I was given encouraged me to move forward despite my doubts. It was supposed to be a new time, a season to stretch my faith and watch God show up and show out in ways I could never have imagined.
Discernment is a funny thing. I did discern that moving into the building and doing the work that I was to do was God-directed, but I had serious doubts about the long-term outcome. We hadn’t been in the building two weeks and God was already telling me that we weren’t going to finish out the lease. The one thing He did tell me was that we wouldn’t be evicted for non-payment, which did reassure me that He was in this, even though I wasn’t sure how it would all make sense. I thought we were into something new, it was time to be over with the past, and that the reason I was sent to this area in the first place was finally starting to manifest. I expected good, different things to happen.
So imagine my surprise when the season didn’t end and it was filled with the same issues of the past season: attacks from people I covered and devoted time and attention to assisting. People leaving the ministry with hard feelings when I did nothing to prompt those hard feelings. Attacks from people outside of the ministry, nonstop, that I didn’t even know that well but seemed to have plenty of opinions. Money wasn’t an issue immediately, but about five months in, it became such a focal point, the lease became the only reason we continued in the property. We noticed mold at one point that turned into an infestation, eventually causing the lease to terminate early (as was God’s word). By that point, it was a relief. Those who were attending the church stopped coming after the woman training to be pastor got angry that someone else under the ministry was getting ordained and the whole situation just turned into one problem after another. The issues did not end there, and included other people who refused to be accountable under the ministry, step up and do their job, and just left me in a position to be both high and dry, out of money, and plain tired.
What God showed me earlier this year is that I misjudged the season. I didn’t misjudge it by myself; I had help in that. I assumed the season was over because I was starting something new and it seemed like a new beginning. What really happened is that I was wrapping things up from the current season, making sure that those who didn’t need to be involved in the future stayed wherever they were and I was able to move forward without them. I needed to know things to move forward, both about others and the process of ministry growth involved. More than anything, I needed to see that I have been carrying people for a long time who need to be dropped somewhere. Instead of expecting them to grow, I have tried to work with them where they are, and in the process, I have tolerated a lot of things I shouldn’t have. That’s what happens when we misjudge seasons: we try to make things fit that just don’t and foster things that don’t work in the name of moving forward. In reality, we do nothing but stand still and spin, frustrating ourselves and feeling a lot of animosity and hard feelings.
Yes, there are people who care about us, but who just don’t have enough interest, motivation, or desire to do what needs to be done and to be there when you need them. This goes for those who are covered as well as those who might mentor or cover, and the truth is that sometimes it’s just burdensome. It’s difficult to be in seasons and situations where you don’t really feel like anyone is there to care for you or to take your issues into their prayer closet because everyone is so focused on their own. It’s a lot harder to live it, and to stand around and realize that if you want change to come, you have to change most of the people who are around you.
The problem with misjudging the season is, obviously, the results. Everything pointed to a new beginning. I consulted what was supposed to be “wise counsel” and when things did not seem new to me, I couldn’t get anyone who had made statements of visions, promises, and moving forward to say anything useful to me. In fact, nobody I consulted who gave such word were even willing to take the time and answer me when I reached out to them. It was the same story, the same scenario all over again, where people push us into a decision that they won’t have to answer for or be accountable for and then you are left holding the bag. Then when accountability and responsibility come calling, nobody takes responsibility for the fact that they missed God and spoke word that encouraged something inaccurate.
I believe that people were accurate in telling me God was in my actions, but I believe that they misjudged the results. Instead of telling me that I was at the end of something and that this was a project that was a part of a cyclical completion, the push for new and the promise that it would all work out in such a way that would be different from before was very misleading. I would have so been blessed if someone would have said to me, “This is something you have to do, but don’t expect the results to be different, because you’re not done yet.” It would have brought clarity and while it might have hurt and I might not have readily accepted it, it would have been words that would have hallowed in my ears when things started to change.
I’ve said many times I wish that someone would have been honest about not hearing from God, but I know that won’t happen. They won’t admit they didn’t hear God fully and misjudged the word themselves. They will do what so many do and try to cleverly contort what was said, making me out to misunderstand or accusing me of going into it with wrong faith or motive. Instead of saying they are sorry and standing up for the difficulties of the season, I am supposed to cheerlead now for whatever it is they want to do and pretend their season is new…when it’s exactly the same.
This season is coming to a close. I know the official sign that will mark its end, and I am looking forward to a new season. To get to it, however, I need to be different. I need a “selah” moment, one by which my praise is louder, my thoughts are divided and new ones are joined together, to hear God’s command above those who want to speak for God, but are not hearing from Him, and to pause and think about whatever is said. It’s God’s decisions who leaves, who stays, who moves forward, who will change and who will not, because sometimes we need to accept that people can’t be what we need to do new things around us.
To get to where we want to be, we need to stop and consider where we are and what it will take to go to the next place. Sometimes, in those interims, we need to stop looking for a word, stop relying on those who are around us, and stop and think about God. If we don’t want to make the mistakes of the past, we must pause, stop jumping around with the thrill of the words “It’s a new season!” reiterated every time we get in church, and learn to tell the true from the false in a deeper sense. We need to know God, we need to know times and seasons for ourselves, and I really feel we need to listen to and embrace true teachers. Just because a leader tells you all the stereotypical churchy things about family, abortion, gay marriage, voting Republican, and the traditions you’ve grown accustom to embrace doesn’t mean they are teaching you the things you need to know to embrace God for yourself and to recognize where He has you and for what reason.
When our standards increase and we expect more of those around us as well as ourselves, our seasons will shift. Only when we stop and pause to think about important things will we realize where God desires us to be. More than where we are going, we will realize what we need to gain from the season we are currently in. God doesn’t shift every week, every day, every time someone gets on Facebook and wants to speak a word over us. It’s not over, we aren’t coming out, it’s not already done, and we are not always harvesting. These things might encourage us, but they don’t encourage us to do right and stand back as we have our selah moments. In God, we will stay right where we are until we are ready to move forward. God knows when that will be, and that means the time for our shift is in His hour…definitely not ours. We can dance, shout, scream, speak in tongues, go to a million conferences, get slain in the Spirit every time, and believe whatever we want, but to quote a famous phrase, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
Here’s to change. Here’s to new beginnings. Here’s to the growth God wants us to have. Here is to true word, true prophets, true five-fold leaders, and true people who hear from God and know Him from their own selves or their own rhetoric. Here’s to new seasons that are new, for real, when God knows we are ready. Here’s to leaving the past behind. Here’s to God: yesterday, today, and forever.