Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Only Way I Can Listen

I feel compelled to follow up my last post with a few brief thoughts brought upon by a facebook conversation I had yesterday with my friend Auburn. We've been trying to set up a time to get together for literally months. When my schedule is open, hers is booked and vice versa. The last I'd heard from her was a weeks ago and her schedule was crazy so it looked like it was going to be another few months before we could make it work. But I happened to see her on facebook so I sent her a message to ask if things had slowed down at all. She said that, yes, indeed they had, and that she'd been saying no to more things -- doing less and yet being given bigger and better opportunities by God. Then out of nowhere she said, "Resting isn't bad. God wants us to rest. That's the only way we can hear His voice."

I'm quite sure she hadn't seen my blog post and didn't know that this is exactly the area I struggle with, but I know that she understands because we have a very similar wiring. Her words resonated so deeply within me because they are so true for my own life. Oftentimes, it's hard for me to be open to what God would say to me. Why? Because I have so many deadlines to meet that I already know what the next move has to be. I'm not in a place where I can ask, "Lord, is this what you have for me? Or is it something else?" because for the next six months to a year I already have a slew of commitments and lists of expectations and projects I must complete for each month of the year, both work and ministry-related. So much for taking it one day at a time.

Sometimes I feel so busy that it seems hard to have meaningful relationships. I mean, it's hard to sit down and really be with people when my mind is racing with everything that has to be accomplished. But life should be about relationship, not activity. I know that sometimes activity can lead to relationship, and many wonderful ministry opportunities are even built around this concept, but for someone like myself, more often than not, the activity or my need to carry it on to completion, detracts from it.

I feel like over the next year or so I'm going to be going through a stripping and narrowing process where I limit some of my areas of involvement. I think I need this so that I can give my best effort and energy to what I'm doing, but more so, so that I can hear God telling me what He wants me to be doing. I also hope this means that I'll have more time for relationship. To sit down and be with people. To invite my neighbor across the street over for coffee more (okay, for the first time). To play board games with my 93 year old grandma. To bake cookies for the single mom next door. To do this freely with the assurance that it's exactly what I'm supposed to be doing and not something that's keeping me from my "real" work.

That's what I'm hoping for. I don't know if that makes sense or if you can understand or relate, but I'm learning that just because you can manage a lot of activity, doesn't mean you should.

I like the way the Psalmist puts it in Psalm 46:10 -- "Be still and know I am God."
Yeah. Good idea. I'm working on it.

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