My husband will laugh out loud when he reads this.
Primarily, because I am the absolute worst – I am the absolute worst listener.
The result is usually my small children saying, “mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom” approximately 900 times before I hear them. This isn’t my husband’s favorite truth about me, mostly because it often results in “mom, mom, mom” becoming “dad, dad, dad . . . ”
I can see how that would be less than enjoyable.
It’s not that I don’t love and value the people around me . . . it’s my thoughts – they are very, very loud. It’s easy for me to get lost in an internal conversation that drowns out every external one.
I was sitting outside at the end of a particularly hot day after the sun went down, because it was way cooler outside than it was inside. The kids were at grandma & grandpas, and my sweet husband prefers the inside.
I laid on a blanket and closed my eyes. It was so quiet – both in my head and outside of it. The quiet is strange to me, but I liked it.
First, I heard the fan from my bedroom.
Then I heard the owl. I looked to see if I could find the owl, but no luck.
Then I heard the traffic from the highway.
We live less than a mile from the highway, so hearing the zooming cars in the distance is a usual soundtrack around my home.
Why didn’t I hear the highway at first? And, why could I still hear the owl, even though it was much more quiet than the road?
Have you ever noticed that once you are aware of a sound, it’s hard to un-hear it?
Like when you hear the fly caught in your window, and then you can’t go to sleep until you release it from this life one way or another so the constant buzz buzz buzz will STOP! There may be nothing worse than a trapped fly . . .
Here’s what I have noticed about listening: It doesn’t seem to matter the volume or the distance of the sound – it matters my attention.
Until I noticed the fan, I didn’t hear it.
Until I noticed the owl, I didn’t hear it.
Until I noticed the road, I didn’t hear it.
Once I noticed, I could not unhear . . .
I wonder if that’s how it is with God’s voice?
Maybe God is always speaking, but I am always listening to other sounds in my heart. Maybe I’m distracted by conversations both internal and external, and my attention cannot be drawn away to hear what God may be saying.
Maybe it’s less about trying to find God in some grand way, and more about noticing what is already around us.
What if the most effective way to hear God’s voice is to make space to hear, no matter how loud we expect it to be . . .
God’s voice always seems to sound more quiet than I expect it to. I wonder if that’s on purpose – to help us become better listeners.
If I can become a better listener to God’s voice, maybe I can become a better listener to those his voice will lead me to.
Once you hear a sound, it’s hard to unhear it.
I’m praying we will all notice the voice of God when He speaks – so we cannot escape the sound.