Have you ever tried to locate a radio station when you're driving through unfamiliar territory? In this current age of CD players and iPods and other tech gadgets, we usually have preferred music of choice right at our fingertips.
However, I can recall various road trips and visits when I drove around the area, tinkering with the station dial in the hopes of finding something to listen to as I went on my way. I usually found that I had to move to a different location, often driving in and out of good reception when in motion. The station dial sometimes needed adjusting to get the most clear sound possible.
Listening to God's voice can be a similar concept for me. At times I move around too much, going so fast and being so focused on my own agenda that I have poor "reception." In other seasons of life, I talk to God with many requests and concerns, neglecting to simply listen. I've learned that I need to stay in a place that allows me to hear God. That place usually represents regular time of quiet with God's word, a journal, and a listening heart. It is also a place where, although I'm always a sinner in need of grace, I know that I am not caught and convicted in a sin pattern which needs attention. Just like the radio station, God is always there working His plan, but our relationship requires me to tune in to His voice.
If I look at Jesus' example, He often found time alone to commune with His Father. Sometimes it entailed early mornings, late nights, lonely places and gardens. But He faithfully tuned in to hear God's voice.
A friend gave me Jesus Calling by Sarah Young for a New Year's present. I love the author's practice of listening and recording what the Spirit encourages, instructs, and guides. I have been reading her devotional as well as reading my own passages, then recording what God lays on my heart.
I've made journaling a fairly regular activity over the years, but I've discovered that I tend to do it with some unbelief in my heart. Could God really be talking to me? There's no way that I'm getting this right. Past journal entries outline a searching heart, sometimes high and sometimes low, but a bit distant from truly trusting God. There's a reticence that belies my skepticism that God would truly lead and guide Kristen.
I have two words this year. One of them is LISTEN. I am listening, more specifically, listening with a heart that truly believes God is speaking and acting in my--yes, MY--life. This definition of listening is one that reveals an evolution of trust in process. When I listen with prayer and a request for God to teach me, I study the thoughts that come to me and test them against scripture. I'm believing that God does speak to me, yearning to be closer and to shape me into the woman He created me to be.
Oddly enough, the passage that has jumped out at me is one that I have read and/or heard a million times, found in Luke 10:41-42.
[Kristen] You are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary...
One thing. Listening to His voice with belief and sincerity. Listening with trust, rather than dismissing myself as not good enough or wise enough to be personally led by God. It feels a tad awkward right now, sort of like flexing a weak muscle or
leaning into a new balance pose. There's wobbling and shaking because
it's foreign, the main and supporting muscles still in need of much practice.
Listen...and imagine. Will be sharing about the second word soon!
Other books I'm reading to partner with Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:
Beyond Ourselves: A Woman's Pilgrimage in Faith by Catherine Marshall
God Calling edited by A.J. Russell
Escape from Reason, The God Who Is There, and He is There and He Is Not Silent by Francis Schaeffer