listening.

You know what’s hard for a talkative gal like myself? Listening. Shutting up. Not being so excited to share what my thoughts are on the topic and just listening. While I continue to work on this in my friendships (and thank God for friends with so much grace), I’ve been even more challenged with it lately in my relationship with God.

This time of year tends to be filled with lots of to-do lists and hustling. I try to make my daily quiet time more than just a check list item. I try to intentionally invest in quality time set apart from the craziness of what the day holds. But more often than I would care to admit, by the time I close out that time with prayer, this is what happens:

Dear God, thank you for this time together today. I am not sure next with (FILL IN A SEASON OF UNCERTAINTY). Make your path known to me. Please make the roads clear. Help me hear you. Amen

Then, I immediately jump up, tuck away my devotional items and move on to the next activity.

The other night I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep but it wasn’t happening. Typically in those moments I pray but for some reason that night I thought “Well, He already knows what’s in my mind and on my heart so I don’t really need to do that right now.”

Then this next thought popped into my head so fast that my eyes widened in deep conviction:

Yes daughter, but you didn’t know what I had to say in response to what’s on your heart, nor are you giving us a chance to grow the intimacy of our relationship. I want the chance to engage with you. Talk to me so that you can listen to me. And be cautious not to filter the answers I am giving you with the answers you want to hear.

Whoa.

I sat with those thoughts for a long time and have continued to think about them a lot over the last week. Can I process my takeaways with you today?

God doesn’t call us to have an unbalanced relationship with Him. Relationships aren’t meant to be one-sided conversations. If we aren’t spending time being quiet, how are we supposed to give Him a chance to reply? When He’s not whispering thoughts that aren’t mine into my head at midnight , I usually grab a pen and journal and just start to write the words that fill my head from Him. It’s not a big booming voice; it’s just my voice in my head with words and a tone that aren’t my own. And it usually only flows well when I am truly being quiet.

Secondly, we need to stop asking for answers while only looking for affirmations that are in line with what we want. Gulp. If I am going to tell Him I am open to whatever the future holds, I need to stop dismissing answers I don’t want to hear. And I need to stop funneling everything through my will instead of His.

The next day this image from Lysa Terkeurst popped up on social media. So good right?

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Today, I am passing along this challenge – will you join me in paying attention to Him? Join me in prioritizing time with Him that includes doing nothing but listening. Let’s calm our hearts, giving Him a chance to share His heart with us, a chance to engage back. Don’t get caught up in the excuse, as I did, that “He already knows so I don’t need to share it”; remember that relationships go both ways. Grab your Bible, read His Word, engage in a book or devotional that helps you connect with His truths, and journal out your prayers (if it helps you stay on track). Be curious about what a 2-way relationship looks like to Him.

Let’s walk into these busy weeks ahead with a softened heart willing to hear Him no matter what the reply is. Who’s with me???

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11 thoughts on “listening.

  1. mandaevey says:

    Whew, good post. I have struggled with praying about my infertility these last few weeks. I was feeling like I had prayed all that I could about it and didn’t know how else to pray. I have been journaling and that is good. Thanks for writing this!

    • chels819 says:

      I am glad you connected with it! I am SO guilty of praying and not listening. But as you said you didn’t know how else to pray, the reminder that the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don’t have the words (Romans 8) popped inot my head and I KNOW that to be the case too. Thank the Lord (literally) that we can provide on His Spirit when we simply struggle. Love you!

  2. Elisha says:

    So good!! In the last year I have been more intentional about waiting and listening after I pray. I write to Him my thoughts and prayers in my prayer journal and then wait…and listen…and then I write down what I hear. Usually once I start writing, the pen just starts to flow. And then it will suddenly stop. That’s when I go back and read and meditate on it. This process and waiting on Him has been so rewarding. Thank you for sharing this post.

    waitingforbabybird.com

    • chels819 says:

      Girl! You have been heavy on my mind lately and I have been AWFUL at keeping up. (Clearly, as I am replying weeks later). I do the same thing of listening and journaling. It is SO rewarding like you said! PS – despite my lack of response, I pray for you all the time and send my love. <3

  3. Tedi @ Running with Infertility says:

    Thanks Chelsea! I think I was being prompted the past few weeks, to help me be ready for this week (not being on social media for a week(not that hard if you wanted to know), and trying to not complain). This week has been the most stressful week for me, and it ended on a really low note tonight. I am really upset with myself. With that said, I have desperately needed that quiet time with God, to listen and to help heal and move on. It is so amazing at what advice or what we need to hear/feel when we take the time (and sometimes its longer than others) to really listen to Him. Thanks for the reminder. :)

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