Learning To Listen
Last Sunday I had the opportunity to go to church and hear my dad preach. It's been years since I've been able to sit and listen to him at the pulpit. The moment was even more dear to me because I was able to have my husband next to me and our daughter, Hailey Shaine there. I grew up listening to my father's sermons each Sunday, and having my family (including my daughter) along with me was nothing short of sacred to my heart.
I was so eager to treasure every moment and the sound of his voice, I recorded it on my phone. I know well in advance that on some distant day far into the future, I'm going to want to call my dad to hear his voice and he won't be there. I'll always have this precious recording. I value his voice because I value him.
Sometimes we forget that God doesn't change. He is the same today as He was in the days of the Bible, and both then and now, He has a lot to say if we'll learn to listen. These last several years I'm learning to listen better. Learning to listen is something every parent has to teach their child. The same is true of your journey of faith with God.
I find that God speaks to me a couple of different ways, but there's two trade marks that I count on every time. First, if my heart speeds up a bit (quickens) and I know it's Him. Second, everything needs a check and balance. My check and balance is that I need to be able to match what He's saying up to Scripture. If it checks, it's confirmation.
Learning to hear His voice takes time. When I first started dating my husband, he would call me on the phone and I'd have to listen carefully to discover who it was. As our conversations increased in frequency, so did my recognition of his voice. The same is true of your relationship with God.
Here's how I've learned to listen better: I keep a journal that I write in daily. If I hear Him during the time I'm reading in my Bible, or something clicks in my heart when someone speaks to me, I write it down using a red pen. If you were to open my journal up you'd see thoughts, ideas, business plans, all in black or blue ink. However scattered throughout the book are notes, sentences, all in red. Those are the words He has spoken to my heart.
In the same way that I recorded the voice of my father this last Sunday, it's important to me that I'm writing down everything God is telling me. I don't want to miss an important assignment or message He's sending my way.
I'm struggling with this note to you, because I wish we could sit down over coffee and I could show you specific situations and we could have a conversation about it. For now, let me just ask you that as we look for 2017 to be a game changer, that you ask Him to speak to you, and when you have a hint of something He might be saying, write it somewhere in red.
I promise, the more you listen, the better you'll come to recognize His voice.