Monday, September 14, 2009

The Definition of Me (Part 8/10)

This past week it has felt like God has been somewhat silent in my life. I have spent time wondering when He was planning to show up in a couple of areas of my life. Through some interesting conversations and a book I’m reading, I’ve been reminded about hearing the voice of God.

I’ve been reminded of 3 common reasons that I don’t hear God speaking to me:

The first reason is that I am stubborn and selfish. I want to do things my way. I have my own agenda and if God’s agenda doesn’t match mine then I get pouty and petulant. I’ll turn a deaf ear to Almighty God. Like a child who covers her ears to show she isn’t listening, so am I to the voice of God if He isn’t saying something I want to hear. It isn’t that God is not speaking. It is that I don’t want to hear what He has to say and so I choose not to listen.

At other times I’m unable to hear the voice of God because I’ve chosen to fill my mind and my life with the clattering and clanging of life at a frantic pace. I’m a single mom of 3 active kids. My house is rarely still. My house is rarely quiet. The voice of God is rarely loud and booming. In my life it typically comes as a soft whisper. If I’m not intentional about rising early to meet with God, or using my alone time to purposefully seek him (as I’m driving to work and home again, when the kids are outside playing while I cook supper, etc), then I’m probably not going to hear the still, small voice of God. So often, I’m guilty of choosing to sleep in a few extra minutes or of calling a friend in a quiet moments instead of choosing to spend those minutes with God. You see, it isn’t that God isn’t speaking. It is that I’m not choosing to spend time listening.

Perhaps most disturbing are the times that I choose to listen to the other voices around me. Sadly, sometimes I truly can’t discern the voice of God from the voices of the world. In fact, far too often, this is the way of it. I’m simply not familiar enough with my Saviour and His ways to be able to pick out the definitive voice of God.

When I was a kid, my parents made my siblings and me raise 4-H lambs. This is one of those things that I look back upon with much more fondness than I had for it as a child. I could tell many funny stories about raising 4-H sheep ... maybe someday I will write those stories down. But for today, I want to share one fact about sheep that I still find sort of fascinating.

My sister Brooke was the true animal lover in our family. She probably spent more time with our sheep than any of the rest of us. She would go into the pen and walk around among the sheep, stroking their wooly heads and talking to them. I have no clue what she said to them, but she spent a lot of time out there with them. Before long, Brooke could lead those sheep around anywhere just by talking to them. The lambs were quite willing to walk along next to Brooke as she talked softly. Sheep are followers and they followed the voice of the one they knew and trusted.

The Bible compares us to sheep. Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He is always there for us, ready to spend precious moments with us. The more time I choose to spend in HIs presence (reading my Bible, praying, singing worship songs, actively listening) the better I will recognize the voice of my Saviour as I’m living my daily life ... the life that comes at that frantic pace.

Interestingly enough, God’s voice hasn’t changed since the beginning of time ... He declares to us in His word that there is no shadow of turning in Him, so His messages won’t change to reflect the changing views of society and culture.

I have been guilty of thinking that God is the “strong, silent” type. Wrong. God speaks. He just never forces me or anyone else to listen. He wants us to want to listen and follow.

Quite often, I fail in this area. Either I don’t want to hear and so I shut out His voice, or I’m too busy to pause and spend time listening, or I’m unable to pick out God’s voice from all the messages being sent to me. In my life, I’m desiring to learn to listen to God, and to follow His voice wherever it may lead ... and that’s the eighth thing I know to be true about me.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. John 10:27

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