Too Much Holy Spirit

Today, I am suffering from Holy Spirit hangover. Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday and I guess I overdid it.

I dressed in red, which I rarely do. I subscribe to a more practical fashion color spectrum. I have lots of black, grey, blue, and an occasional coral when I get flashy. Red is a little exhausting for me. But the choir was encouraged to wear red for mass yesterday so I obliged.

As you recall from a couple blogs ago, we have been rehearsing the song, Surely the Presence, in choir to sing on Pentecost Sunday. Well, we sang it to an almost full church yesterday, which included my two sisters. I could barely get through it without crying every time we practiced, so I prayed that I wouldn’t get choked up for the real thing. The prayers worked, I didn’t cry, but instead my heart was pounding so hard I was convinced that surely the presence of the Lord was in this place and surely the presence of a paramedic would soon be in this place.

I don’t know, there is something about that song that reminds me, in such a powerful way, that the Lord is present.  For me, the Holy Spirit is the proof of that presence.

Of the three members of the Trinity, I feel bad for the Holy Spirit because it always seems to be in an identity crisis. We seem to have the need to define it. Is it a dove, a tongue of fire, or wind? It seems so absurd that we just give up and go our merry way.

What a powerful relationship we forfeit.

The identity of the Holy Spirit is not in its definition, it’s in its doings. We come to know the power that lies within each of us when we recognize the workings of the Holy Spirit and allow ourselves to believe it.

Our faith informs us about the Holy Spirit. Pentecost Sunday, the church focuses on when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles in the Upper Room and as a result they were transformed from frightened followers to fearless witnesses. Scripture describes the Holy Spirit as the breath of God, present at the birth of creation and again at the birth of the church. And many times, in between.

It helps me to learn through practical examples. I once heard that the Holy Spirit is like the electricity that flows through a cord that lights a lamp. We can’t see it, but we definitely can see and experience the effects of it. The power of it is undeniable.

I personally see and experienced the powerful effects of the Holy Spirit in my life when I allow myself to believe it. It began when I allowed myself to really believe that I have been given unique gifts that when powered by the Holy Spirit can bring such joy to my life, goodness to the world, and glory to God. This became crystal clear as the vision I had for Firstfruits came to fruition ten years ago.

I’ve also experienced and believed in the power of the Holy Spirit at work in my relationships. When I am able to overlook hurts and resentments. When I am able to put others needs ahead of mine. When I am able to exert self-control in conversations. All these challenges, when left to my own devices, would have much different outcomes, but in the hands of the Holy Spirit they leave goodness in their wake.

And lastly, I have experienced and believed in the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome fear, anxiety, loss, and grief. Humanities common conditions. I know that there is a power at work greater than anything I could muster that has brought me calm, sanity, comfort, and hope when I needed it most.

Is it a dove, is it a tornado, is it Superman? Who cares. It is all we need and it is ours for the asking.


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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