Feel sometimes like I’m being lazy.
Feel like I should be DOING MORE.
God has made it very clear to me that I
am doing life the way I am created to.
I am not created to act like………. (fill in the blanks with the name of the person you wish you could be like) dress like……………..eat like……………..play like………………..pray like……………worship like…………write like………….minister like………………Anything like………………….. God has told me on more than one occasion that I am operating as He wants me to.
When He asks me to do something, I do it, with very little fuss. (Not NO fuss, mind you, but very little) the reason, I am positive, is because I understand that He wants the best for me.
For the next three posts, I’ll delve into that just a bit deeper.
I’ve gotten out of the habit of hearing His voice.
I have some questions here;
First of all – Who is “He”?
Nehemiah 9:6 from the Holy Bible says this;
“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with
all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in
them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.
If that’s the case, and I believe it is, then
that is a voice I really want to hear!
Why do I want to hear His voice?
Beginning to hearing His voice, for me anyway, began with an intense longing inside of me to find out what more there could possibly be to my life.
You know, the life that goes through the same cycles of disbelief,
low self esteem, caring so much what others think, at my own expense.
Expensive, because the voices I was hearing were telling me just
how worthless I was. I had a longing to hear just one good thing about myself
that I could hang my hat on. Something I could believe and hold on to.
That longing wanted to know who I was; all the while knowing that
I could believe a lie, just as easily as I could believe the truth.
To avoid the lie, I had to find the right voice. There are cacophonies of voices out there just trying to be heard. Which one is the right one?
it’s the maker of heaven and earth!
How do you hear His voice in the first place?
In order to sort through that longing, there
has to be quiet.
Now MY quiet, will likely be different than
When I want to get to this place of hearing,
I require three things.
A pad of
paper and a writing utensil.
The absolute quiet is to get my mind off of everything that distracts. Even lovely music can be distracting. (I’m finding that now even while writing this)
I need my Bible. It has a great concordance (an
alphabetical list of the words present in a text, usually with citations of the
passages concerned.) in the back, so I can look up scripture by words or
topics. I can search out any topic that is on my heart.
Then I can meditate on this word.
This meditation is not the same as emptying
the space between my ears. Instead, it fills up all the empty space inside, by
telling me the truth; about me, about God, about my life; past, present and
The pad of paper? My brain is notorious for running me off in a different direction while I’m trying to concentrate on being quiet. Anything that pops into my head and interrupts gets written down.
It’s safe on that paper, I won’t forget. I’ll pick it up later.
It’s calming, when you know you won’t forget
every little nuance at it passes by your brain.
How do you continue to hear His voice?
I hear his voice by being quiet enough to let the words I’ve read roll around in my heart and mind.
I let them roll until they make sense. Until
they become real to me.
I really dislike the way the word meditation is
used in some forums. I’m speaking of the meditation on God’s word,
and what it means to me. Not meditation that is emptying my mind. That
is a whole different thing.
Instead, I prefer a meditation that asks; What
do these words say? What do they mean to me? How can I put them into practice?
Once you have hear His voice, you will recognize it when you hear it again. John 10:27 says clearly; My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Wow. He knows me – I want to know His voice!
How do you get back to it again after being away?
The dangerous part is in the drifting away. You release the habit for a day, and then a week, and then a month. No big, drastic changes.
You still hear His voice. But here’s the
catch; after a month, the voice gets quieter, and you realize (maybe) that you
have been going on memory, and that you haven’t “heard” anything new
for quite some time.
Memory, like muscles, can get flat after
periods of not being used.
Notice, the first thing I said was that it is a habit. It is most definitely a habit.
The first step to take is to get back to your
DAILY reading. It need not be chapter upon chapter. Just a
few paragraphs maybe.
We used to have a pastor who told us to
“Read till you burn.” That sounds funny coming from a pastor, whose
job is to insure that you don’t burn 🙂
But what he was trying to tell us, was that
we needed to read the word until something came alive in our heart; until our
heart caught that spark.
When that happens – You’re hearing God’s voice. He is speaking to you.
I’ve read the same thing several times over
my lifetime, and then one time I will read it, and it is like the words jumped
right off the page.
They bring something to life in me. They
spark a realization in me about _________________! Whatever it is I’m reading
When I begin to roll those verses around in my heart and mind, they become a part of me. My soul and my spirit; my insides; are renewed. I can see an action that needs to be taken, or a mind set that needs to be tweeked.
James 1:22-25 (ICB) says this; Do what God’s
teaching says; do not just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen,
you are fooling yourselves. A person who hears God’s teaching and does
nothing is like a man looking in a mirror. He sees
his face, then goes away and quickly forgets what he looked like. But the
truly happy person is the one who carefully studies God’s perfect law that makes
people free. He continues to study it. He listens to God’s teaching and does
not forget what he heard. Then he obeys what God’s teaching says. When he does
this, it makes him happy.
This quiet time, this hearing His voice; it
gives me peace, and it carries with me throughout my days.
It makes it so that even the harshest of circumstances can be faced with some sort of calm, peace and joy.
I travel a good bit these days, and spend a decent amount of time on airplanes. Over the years, people have become more and more comfortable listening to anything and everything to block out the noise of the airplane, announcements being made, or crying babies. Companies (BOSE, Beats, etc) have become better at creating headphones that can block out all noise around you so you only hear what you decide to listen to. And this doesn’t just apply to airplanes. People use these to focus at work or simply walk around outside.
People spend a lot of money on these headphones to accomplish one simple goal: block out distractions and noise. We want to have control over what we listen to or don’t listen to.
The Downside to Noise Cancelling
Airplanes: If you can’t hear anything that means you cant hear any important announcements (safety, or emergency notifications).
Jogging/Running: If you are completely blocked out from noise, a car could honk its horn at you, or someone could try and warn you about something around you, and you may not hear the warning signals.
Sometimes we decide that we know better than God does about what we should be listening to. God gives us warning signs or direction through many different mediums throughout our lives. If we don’t allow God to speak to us through a specific channel we are only hurting ourselves. Using an extreme example, if you decide to block yourself off from anyone who isn’t a Christian in an effort to protect yourself and not be tempted, you are not abiding by God’s greatest commandment to “Go out and made disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20) While we have protected ourselves from the “noise” around us, we have limited God’s ability to work through us.
I would encourage you to ask God to speak to you. Start to listen to His voice everywhere you go. God can speak through anyone or anything. Don’t block Him out.
The Positive About Noise Cancelling
With that said, there are times that silence is important and being able to cancel out distractions can be helpful.
Basketball Players: If you’ve ever watched a Duke basketball home game, the fans do everything in their power to distract the other team and make them mess up or miss a shot. Players on the floor have to find a way to block it out and perform to help their team.
Football Huddles: Or think about a football team in a huddle. The purpose of the huddle is to block out noise and allow everyone to understand the next play’s plan.
Airplanes: Sticking with this analogy from before, think about the pilots of the airplane. They can’t be distracted by the passengers. Their job with all the noise going on around them is to get everyone to the destination safely. They actually wear headphones to talk with each other and block out the actual noise around them.
Christianity is similar in that there are times you need to clearly hear God’s voice and not be distracted by the enemy who is doing everything in his power to knock you off track. I grew up with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) so I understood at a young age how the smallest of distractions could affect me. I had to learn how to block them out.
When I want to hear from God, I need silence or an environment where God is welcome (worship, church, etc). God doesn’t need complete silence to be able to speak to you, but sometimes you need complete silence to listen.
In those times, cancelling out your surrounding is a good idea. After getting alone away from distractions, though, we should come back to full awareness of our surroundings so we can see and hear God move. Ultimately, it’s about doing what’s needed to be able to hear from God. We block out the distractions but lean in to listen to Him however, whenever, and wherever He chooses to speak to us.
So noise cancelling can be both good and bad. In the end, don’t block out God or limit His ability to use you or speak to you by attempting to block out others.
I am very simply a follower of Christ. While here, I enjoy the passions that God has given me that include my family, friends, church, sports (specializing in golf), traveling and simply experiencing God’s creation to the fullest. I additionally have a passion for writing and sharing what God is speaking to me on a constant basis. I love the fact that our creator chooses to use the least of us to communicate His heart to others.
This week has been a breakthrough week in my mind.
Making a quality decision to not ignore quiet time, and to put that time to better use.
By putting it to better use in this instance means to to use that time to create my own thoughts, consider my own beliefs, understand what things I think and why.
I can always find time to read someone elses words. I’m not saying that that is wrong, certainly not, because it does help to create questions for further thinking in my mind. I’m only saying that I need to find out what I, myself think about things.
One of my favorite/best ways to get my thinking to get moving, is to read scripture. It creates many questions, and answers many as well.
The place I landed in my thinking was about space. Quiet space. Loud space. Crampy space. Spacious space.
I then looked up my favorite verses about space, and realized yet again, why I love living where I live.
I grew up in a larger city forty miles north of here. Houses. Streets. Voices. Traffic.
White houses out my window in rows. Utility poles breaking every small stretch of sky.
Someone elses noise always, always, always filling my head.
Some people, and their different personalities, thrive on just such environments. I however did not. I always wanted to be out. Some place green. Some place that I didn’t feel smothered.
My Grampas’ house was like that, but as a child, not very accessible.
Psalm 31:8b (ESV) You have set my feet in a broad place.
Then we moved here. My children called it Podunk. It isn’t really. Podunk, to me, would be much further than the few miles we travel from here to get to town.
Psalm 18:19 (ESV) He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
It is close enough to be close, and far enough to be far. Away from the hum of the city.
I knew I always wanted to be where I didn’t see only rows of white houses, and poles scratching at the sky. I just did not know how much. Nowadays, a trip to town quickly makes me want to return home.
It was very difficult to find quiet space back then, and it often involved a camping trip, or a car ride to a empty country road. Not impossible, but often difficult.
I am positive that living here, has saved my sanity. I have now spent almost exactly half of my life here; and I’m grateful. I am grateful for the overstuffed chair, that sits by the window, and looks out over a really broad space.
2 Corinthians 9:15(ESV) Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
Maybe to you this does not sound like a gift; Your personality prefers the hum of activity.
Psalms 139:13 -14a For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
(He knows how He made you – He will show you another way)
Maybe you are here just wondering when your gift will arrive; You’ve been waiting and praying.
Matthew 6:8…. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Questions to consider;
Does my quiet time require total silence, or maybe some music or other ambient noise?
Do I require quiet EVERY day? Every week? More than once a day?
Does my quiet time involve time together, alone, with someone else?
Does it contain devotions? Book reading? Bible reading? Audio reading? A quiet video? Or just staring out the window – at my street, or at my space?
Does my quiet time release me from the stress and pressure of the daily grind?
Please feel free to leave a response in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
As much as Time as I spend thinking about and talking about the value of quiet time, I have realized that recently, circumstances, or at least my view of them, have kept me from that much needed space of quiet.
Experience has shown me that if I stay away from practicing quietude for too long, it is increasingly difficult to get back into it. Only over time does the value of it begin to appear evident again.
Without quiet, and by that I mean quality quiet, there is just no space for new thoughts, or old thoughts, and sometimes for any thoughts. A classic over thinker, my husband is curious how one can go without thinking.
Not thinking, can be restful, but over time, it becomes a trap. Not thinking, muddles our minds over time. The trap is like serious brain fog for the thinking that we should be doing.
Last week I had to make a quality decision. That decision was not to ignore my quiet time for any reason; real or imagined. My mind, needs some serious un-muddling.
Until today, the thoughts have not been filing in very quickly. Today was a breakthrough day.
For my next post I’ll share some of those thoughts, but for this one, I’d like to ask you a question, or four, about yourself.
Over thinker or under thinker?
Do you know how much quiet time do YOU require?
Do you allow yourself that bit of quiet to sort things out?
What happens when you do/don’t?
I’d love to hear your reply. Please leave your answers in the comments.