Friday, June 8, 2012

Listening for God

Last Sunday we talked about some of the voices that serve to distract us from the voice of God.  We were reminded that the Holy Spirit assists in providing a filter or lens that helps us see or hear God in the midst of all of the other stimulation that comes our way.  God provides direction and a sense of purpose.  

Yet how do we know when we have our direction and purpose?  That "knowingness" is fleeting -- one moment it is there, the next it is not.

It seems that when we "see" clearly we feel inspired.  We are motivated and energized.  And then we begin to move.  And with that movement we may shift our glance to something other than God's direction.

I find direction.  I lose it...  here's how it works.

When I am praying for clarity and understanding, my focus rests clearly on the space of my mind or my heart that is most open to listening for God's guiding voice. When something becomes crystal clear, I experience an increased energy, a momentum that can move my words, hands, my feet, and most certainly my mind at a more rapid pace.

Then, all too soon, it seems, clarity begins to be less apparent. Perhaps I am focusing too much upon results,  or trying to measure my effectiveness -- or placing more emphasis upon the deed than upon the call which has motivated me to engage in the deed. Whenever that happens, I realize that I am running the risk of moving away from God's call to some self-determined call. It may be a nice thing to do, but the vigor and vitality that  underlies my actions when God is working through me is no longer there. I begin to pursue the task (the self-determined call) under my own steam, using my own power, so to speak.

And then I realize that I must stop!  I must return, to nestle in the arms or sit patiently at the feet of the one who not only knows me better than I know myself, but also knows all times and places where I can serve most effectively.

This return takes time and intentionality.  It may seem to interrupt the momentum I have.  But the truth is that this time spent with God, reviewing my plans in God's presence, often provides a perspective that clarifies my sense of what is possible or critical.  It also enables me to see aspects of relationships with the others involved in ministry that might otherwise be overlooked.

Take a look at where and with whom you are involved today.  Pause for a moment at the crossroad of options.

How do you see God included in your plans?  Are you running on your own steam, or are you allowing God to set the timing and the pace?  Are there people or possibilities you are tempted to ignore?  Perhaps those situations or relationships require a "second look."

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