Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pausing to Listen

Don't we all long to hear God and know that we are following where He leads?

I attended a wonderful workshop at the AACC conference recently on Learning to Hear God: You Can't Give Well What You Don't Do Well. Presenter Sharon Tilley, PhD, shared her hunger for God and how, with much study, prayer and practice, she has learned to better hear His voice. She says (and I wholeheartedly agree):
"I have found Him to be always speaking, and that I can hear what He is saying to me more and more as I am willing and able to tune in to what HE would like to say, following HIS lead rather than asking Him to follow mine." 
How wonderful it is that we have a God who seeks relationship with us and expresses His love each day in so many ways, if only we would see it. Taking time to still ourselves and look to Him is more important than anything else we could do with our day, but why is it we so often rush and cram all we can into a single day?

This point was illustrated to me so effectively, and in a humorous way. Several times as I was waiting in the long lines for the restroom at the conference, I would see women at the sink trying to get soap out of the automatic dispenser. I'd watch as one would swish her hand quickly under the dispenser and remove it before the dispenser had a chance to dispense. She'd move to the next sink and swish quickly -- and even the next sink -- and still no soap! Then she'd express her frustration at why these things never work for her. I was amused as I watched this happen again and again, each and every time I visited the restroom. 

When I had my turn at the sink, I'd hold my hand under the dispenser and deliberately pause -- longer than I may have wanted to. Sploosh! The soap would land in my hand. I smiled each time and thought how impatient of a culture we have become. We are conditioned to want immediate, instant and automatic!

Unfortunately, I think we often approach God the same way. If He doesn't answer instantly when we pray, we think He isn't answering. We may even rush on ahead of Him, picking the answer we think is best.

With this goofy illustration in mind, I have challenged myself to remember to carefully PAUSE at regular intervals and listen for God's voice throughout my day.

I would like to challenge you, too! Each time you wash your hands, may you remember that God speaks freely when we pause long enough to listen.

Lord, I love the way you lead me. Forgive my impatience and my sometimes hurried ways. Quiet me and still me so that I may receive your wisdom and direction throughout my day and for all my days. 

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