There are all kinds of learners, all kinds of listeners. I am a poor listener.
It’s not that I don’t care about what you are saying to me – it’s that I am so easily distracted by anything and everything that I will commonly miss full sections of conversations and remain completely oblivious to the loss.
This seems to be true at all times except for the middle of the night.
The other night, I was minding my own business sleeping, peacefully . . . when I heard a door open. I have a 3 yr old, so of course, it was her going to the bathroom for the 900th time that night. I got her back in bed and then set back to the task of deep sleep.
Only, deep sleep wouldn’t come. Every time I almost fell asleep, I would be startled by a curious sound. The first sound led me downstairs where I discovered our slider was unlocked. Creepy. So, I locked it and checked all the closets for the boogieman and went back to bed.
This happened over and over again for 2 hours. Lay Down. Relax. Startle. Nothing Scary. Lay Down. Relax. Startle. Nothing Scary . . .
I really hate the middle of the night. I hate, even more, being the only one awake in the middle of the night. It just seems utterly lonely and quiet. Not my favorite combination. And, yet, my hearing is so acute in the quiet.
Most of my life, I’ve run from the quiet. I remember saying as a teenager and even in my early 20’s, “I don’t need alone time.” I’ve avoided being alone more than anything, up until very recently.
What’s interesting is that God has always spoken to me most clearly when I am alone.
Really, it’s been when I have allowed the quiet to exist in my heart, no matter my surroundings that God’s voice shows up in a way that I hear it.
Chances are, if God is anything like my husband . . . He has been saying what He is saying to me for weeks – maybe years – and I have simply not heard it.
Last week, I heard it.
A few times in my life, I have heard God say a complete thought to me. Just as we all listen differently, I believe God speaks to each of us in a way we will understand Him best. It could be through the beauty of nature or the words of our children. It could be reading books written by the wise or through coffee with a close friend. God speaks to me in many of those ways, but every once in a while, I hear Him speak directly to my heart – in a moment when my heart is quiet.
I was in a room full of at least a thousand people. It was a church thing. Everyone was singing to our Jesus and I realized I needed quiet. So, I sat down on my knees, which is sort of awkward when everyone else is standing, but I needed to be alone.
On my knees, I was quiet. I didn’t sing. I didn’t pray. I just sat with my hands open to the ceiling. As soon as I sat down and shut up, I heard it.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you just breathe out in understanding? Like you’d been holding your breath for God knows how long and you just realized it? When sudden knowledge brings peace and freedom in a way you forgot was possible?
Sitting on the floor far from home with tons of people making noise around me, I heard God’s voice. It wasn’t about my surroundings, it was about my focus. And, He kicked my butt a little.
It’s amazing to me that God’s correction creates such freedom. It’s as if His direction gives us a permission to obey that we previously did not accept.
Today, I accept that permission.
Today, I’m sitting down again. Quiet. Listening for the voice of God that I sometimes believe is absent . . . But mostly, I am just a poor listener.