Listening in the Spaces
A few quick goodbyes, kisses & hugs as my daughter and sweet husband walk out the door to preschool. Hands shaking, I scurry over to the computer, flying thoughts ready to burst forth…and…nothing. I am not without thoughts. I am without words. What would you have me say, Lord? I want to share. I want to encourage. But, I have nothing.
A conversation with my son flashed before me…months prior, he stood at the kitchen table telling me a story about a seed. A seed, in order to grow, needs sunlight, water, wind, space, and adequate soil. In the same way, we need the Lord’s ‘light’ to see, water to prepare our thirsty hearts for His plowing, a sweet breeze of the Holy Spirit (wind) to move us, His presence to fill the empty ‘margins’ of our time (space), and a heart that is ready to receive (healthy soil).
That day, the Lord took my ‘nothing,’ and gave me something.
Like a fresh flower after a spring rain, a clear message sprang forth…this may or may not speak to your heart, but either way, I ask that you please listen, as the Lord has asked me to…
With all the confidence one person can possess, I can assure you, sweet mom that God does speak. Do you think He loved you enough to die for you, but not enough to speak to you? Of course not! Open your spiritual ears!
“As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut…After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 (NLT)
The question…how do we hear His voice? How do we listen effectively? I read a few stories this week. I want to share them with you…
“In the stillness of the morning, I begin my quiet time – to those moments I purposely set aside for Bible reading, prayer, meditation, listening – and I lean my elbows on heaven’s windowsill, eager to commune with the Lord. But first, to satisfy my curiosity, I check to see if I’ve gotten any new e-mails since last night.
When I finally come back, I’m a little more distracted, a little less focused and clearheaded. Suddenly, the phone rings. Caller ID beckons my eyes, and I feel compelled to pick up the receiver. The anticipation is too much. I answer it.
Oh, never mind…I’ll just have my quiet time tonight before I go to bed.
Ten p.m. The kids are finally in bed, dinner dishes washed, and the bills finally paid online. I’ve given preference to everything else over my quiet time all day long, one thing after another. Now I’m worn out and exhausted. I plop myself under the covers, my Bible on my lap. Within five minutes I’m asleep. My good intentions go out with my night-light.
The enemy smirks.”
Some of us are here. Coming to the Lord with little expectation. Little excitement. With an overcommitted heart to ‘other’ things. Obligations. With a sense of urgency. Feeling hurried. Listening…passively.
Read on, my friend…
“So the next morning, I’m at it again, intent on not letting another day start without spending time with God. What happened to me yesterday WILL NOT happen to me again. I wake up early enough, grab a cup of tea, and get going. I spend thirty whole minutes in the word-fifteen minutes scouring a few chapters of the Bible, and another fifteen going through a list of prayer needs I keep written in my notebook. When the time is over, I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. I pop up and get on with my day. I feel proud not having let the opportunity pass me by again.”
I’ve walked through both of these days…in these moments. I’ve tried, with honest intentions, on many occasions, over the course of my journey with the Lord, to commit to spending time with Him. And, with the utmost conviction, I can tell you for certain…in either instance, I did not leave a bit of space for the Lord to speak to me. I did not feel His presence, & I left little room for His Spirit’s conviction.
“In one case I was too busy to come to God at all. In the other I was too busy (even while I was with Him) for Him to come to me.” (Priscilla Shirer).
If you think listening to God is a chore, so do I. I really do. It takes time…and, although He can (if He desires) speak to us while we’re cutting coupons, feeding the baby, dusting furniture, or checking Twitter updates, we will not be acquainted with His voice in the ‘regular rhythms’ of life, if we do not, at some point, be still in His presence to learn the ‘sound’ of His voice.
As the Lord summoned me to the hidden, secret place of divine fellowship with Him this past week, here is what I feel He is telling me to share with you…Stop hurrying, Stop fidgeting, Close your eyes, Enter into worship with Me, Think about Me, Meditate on my word, Adjust your ‘listening posture’, & Wait.
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield – Psalm 33:20
Wherever you are in your spiritual walk, I believe the Lord will speak to you in a language, in a way that is personal to you…because He loves you, not because you are putting in extra effort or pressing the right button.
My prayer is that a new desire and expectancy for His voice will begin to stir. As He draws you near, may you feel the ‘undercurrent of His ongoing activity beneath the surface of your everyday happenings’ (Priscilla Shirer)…as you listen in the spaces of your time with Him.
In your growth & realization of how He speaks, ‘take into your heart all of His words which He will speak to you, and listen closely…’ (Ezekiel 3:10)…and, ‘let your words be few…’ (Ecc. 5:2)