Monday, February 27, 2012

GraceLaced Monday: Relearning How to Listen to God

Over the past few months, it's occurred to me that I am not hearing God very much or very clearly. This is not good at a time when I'm (okay, wait, I know it's not good anytime) called upon countless times each day to be ready with wisdom, truth, and the fruit of the Spirit.

After realizing my backward motion in this area of Christ-following, I felt bewildered and discouraged at first. How did this happen? Why did this happen? What do I do?

The questions and their answers are important, but more crucial was taking some baby steps in the right direction. I began to get those answers as I made prayerful efforts at being still with Jesus and listening.

God helped me to start seeing some of the How. You know what it's like when you first start learning to drive? Your body is tense and your senses are alert and it's all you can do to remember how to coordinate feet and hands simultaneously, while at the same time keeping yourself and the car unharmed? At first, it was impossible to do anything other than focus on the road, the pedals, the steering wheel, and my dad's instructions. Conversation? No way. Notice what's going on outside the car? Not yet.

But before long, the driving becomes natural, second nature, and doesn't require so much of your senses and attention. Pretty soon, you're able to be more relaxed and quietly confident in the navigating, until eventually, you're able to drive safely while carrying on a conversation or successfully dealing with half a dozen or so distractions little ones in the car with you.

This is where I'm headed with the learning-to-drive analogy: a few years ago I learned for the first time what it means to listen to God, to have ears tuned to what the Spirit might be whispering to me throughout the day, hour by hour, and also in my devotional time. I began to recognize His Voice. Not audibly, and not constantly, but definitely really Him, guiding, teaching, correcting, encouraging.

I'm starting to view that experience as the equivalent of the very early days of driver education, when there are few to no distractions to the learning - you're in a parking lot, it's safe, your dad's quiet and calm while he tells you how to operate the car.

My life now relative to my life when God first instructed my heart in hearing Him? Drastically changed. Two more kids, several long stretches of sleep deprivation, survival mode, major family dynamics adjustments (and that very much still in progress) and so on. Thankfully, no tragedies, but still a long string of change and little stresses, new responsibilities.

So, hearing God right now is a bit like if your first time driving included loud, blaring music in the car, a yelling instructor, all the windows rolled down, oh, and that your first time behind the wheel occurred in the midst of a busy interstate during rush hour.

I was kind of relieved when I realized that this is at least partly an issue of relearning the listening under new circumstances. Life has changed dramatically. What's going on around me is far different than it was 5 years ago. Hearing God is going to require new, intentional, prayerful efforts on my part. And lots of grace from my God.

And just like our pastor taught recently, there are other reasons we don't hear God, including the need for repentance over sin, and most foundationally, a true relationship with Jesus Christ. I know I am His. That question has been settled. But I am, in my new baby-stepping efforts to listen to Him, asking the Spirit to show me sin, give me grace to repent and be transformed in those areas He reveals.

I am encouraged by what He is teaching me. I am glad that this growing thing is a process. I'm glad for His grace and for Christ's perfections.

Grace Laced Mondays

1192. chittering, happy birds - they know spring is coming

1193. tiny green leaves sprouting on trees

1194. swaths of lavender-colored weeds by the side of the road

1195. that glorious mockingbird with his make-you-happy song

1196. Psalm 90 - been camping out on it for days and days...can't seem to get enough of of it, and He keeps teaching me things from it!

1197. In reference to the first photo: a sweet baby who carries all the pencils she can find in one location and transfers them to the junk drawer. It was already junky, but oh my. The colors and her random, toddler-purposeful busy-ness make me smile (the other photo I included just for fun. tell me you have a lost-cause junk drawer or two in your house, also?)

1198. holding AH's hand on the way to school today while we all listened to the much-loved Mandy Mapes song, This Love, which is about adoption

1199. awesome lasagna (thanks for the pointers, Mrs. M)

1200. my amazing parents

1201. getting nearly 2 weeks of meals planned and purchased over the weekend (but alas, no laundry done - you can't have it all!)

1202. a peaceful Sabbath yesterday

1203. sitting outside at the girls' "restaurant" yesterday and being served dried grass salad, spaggety, pound cake and chocolate milk...sweet, and the sun was so nice, too

1204. getting some new maternity clothes!

1205. and how could I forget?! The tiny baby tap-dance going on inside of me. There's part of me that still cannot believe another baby is coming. But then in the past 10 days or so, he or she has been doing a little tappy dance in my belly, saying Hello? I'm heeeere! Better get ready! Exciting. :-)


  1. Oh to have focus enough to listen! I so want to grow in this area of my life.

  2. This, yes, this... so what I needed to read tonight. I wonder, will I ever be a good God-listener? I pray so.

    Baby taps... is there anything more delightful?!