Friday, February 21, 2014

Listening to God

The opposite of talking isn't listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.

Fran Lebowitz

I want to listen to God.  I would like to spend time reflecting and praying about the future.  I know what I want and I want to make sure that my head and heart are in the right place.  Honestly, I believe I’m on the right path, but I want to be sure.  I want to hear from God.
How does one hear from God? 
Is that a presumptuous idea? 
Why would God speak to me? 
What makes me so special?
In answer to the first question, God made me special.  He made all of us special.  That’s the first thing to remember.  Each of us is special.  Each of us has a destiny.  We may or may not fulfill it, but we are all capable of doing so.  I have a destiny and part of it is being fulfilled at this very moment as I write.  It’s being fulfilled in this chair in my apartment.  This is not grand or exciting, but it is powerful, nonetheless.  I am doing the thing I am supposed to be doing.  I am using my time wisely and well.  Yes, there are other things I need to do, but this is still the best use of my time.  Being in Purpose is always a good use of time.
(Now I understand even more clearly the message of Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy.   I need to get the mundane tasks done so I can enjoy being in Purpose and not be distracted.   Purpose is all that matters and I can’t let anything get in the way of that.)
In answer to the third question, why would God speak to me, I believe He wants to speak to all of us.  He speaks to us through the Bible, but He doesn’t stop there.    He speaks to me through music, nature, children, film, art of every kind, study, and calm.  He speaks through a favorite song that comes on suddenly.  He speaks through an unexpected greeting from a long-lost friend.  He speaks through the morning mist and the evening full moon.  He speaks through my breathing.  Why?  He loves me.  That’s the only reason there is and the only reason I need.
So, no, it’s not a presumptuous idea.   What’s presumptuous is thinking that God has forgotten me or that I am so flawed that he could not possibly love me or forgive me.  It’s presumptuous to think that I don’t need Him and it’s presumptuous to think that He won’t give me room for growth, or more accurately, mistakes.  It is there that I find His grace. 
So how does one hear from God?  Here’s the thing:  when God speaks to me, it has almost always been a surprise.  Sometimes it was when I was in the midst of a stressful situation.  Often, in fact, many times, He has spoken to be when I had hit bottom.  I was overwhelmed by fear or regret or loss and…BAM!...God is there, speaking to me.  As I said, He can speak in many ways and it always comforting, even when it involves a difficult choice.  However, when He speaks and guides me, the choice is no longer difficult because I am always at complete peace when I have His guidance. 
 When I was about 30, I left a church and a ministry that I had been involved with for years.  Getting to that decision was a year of pain and uncertainty.  It was a confusing time and I’m not sure how I could have done it differently.  I was seeking God and trying to do the right thing.  I’m not sure why the process took so long.  I think I knew what I was supposed to do, but I was afraid to do it.  It was time to leave, but I was afraid of hurting people and I didn’t know what was next.  
What came next was a time of some difficulty and great healing.  It was as if my whole life started over.  A lot of good came out of that time.  It wasn’t always easy, but my life started moving in a better trajectory. 
I have a friend who is going away to make some decisions about her life.  I think she already knows the answers, but she wants to be sure.  I think that is wise.  At the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t hear anything.  What she will need above all else is one of two things:
1.  Peace so she can hear from God; or
2.  God to speak to her so she can have peace.
My prayer for her and for all who seek God’s will is that they will have peace.
Sometimes His will is found in the seeking.  Once I went away for a few days by myself to get some direction.  It was another difficult time in which I felt lost and confused.  God spoke to me while I was reading and writing in a coffee shop near the beach.  Within four months a new phase of my life began.
Lately however he has been speaking to me through my writing.  He spoke to me in my first blog and He is still speaking here and in other places.  Neither the method nor the means are important.  All that matters is that He is faithful and I can trust Him to give me the right answer at the right time.  For now, the right answer is to Get Started and Keep Going…and listen.