Do you listen up or listen down?
Hearing God clearly isn’t like turning on the light switch – suddenly everything is clear. Listening to where God is leading us often takes time, prayer, awareness, and hearing what others advise.
Whole books and semester long classes address discernment. Learning this skill is a task we will never complete in a lifetime, but is one that is constantly being refined and renewed.
When it comes to big life changing decisions – do I take this job? Should I marry this person? – I try to listen closely for God’s guidance. But when it comes to the everyday moment to moment living, I often go my own route only remembering God much later, often after I overcommitted myself. I give way too much power to my to-do list and not enough to paying attention to the Lord.
Reading my emails this week brought this into focus for me.
I receive an e-newsletter called the Prosperous Writer by Christina Katz . She has authored two books – The Writer Mama and Get Known Before the Book Deal so the writer inside of me has great respect for her words.
Christina has been listing provocative questions to ponder in each issue of her newsletter. For example this week’s questions were:
On a scale of one to ten, how’s your self-respect?
Can you say no?
Do you say yes to yield to social pressure and supposed-tos and then suffer for it?
Are you catering to too many other people’s needs but burning out in the process?
Do you listen to and trust your instincts about what is and isn’t the best way to proceed?
I have in the past struggled with saying no and Christina’s questions raised my awareness that once again this inability has taken over my ego. My self-image is rooted deeply in accomplishing, being super women and doing it all. I take care of what others need and then stay up half the night doing writing the material God has called me to write. This is crazy, imbalanced, and not the way to use the precious gift of time.
Her last question perhaps helped me focus the best. Do you listen to and trust your instincts about what is and isn’t the best way to proceed?
This implies pausing before deciding. Touching base with my heart – what is the best answer? Listening for the small quiet voice of God to provide much needed direction.
If I truly respect myself, I would say no more often to outside commitments and yes more often to my inside commitments – buried in my heart. By mistreating myself, I insult God.
So look out if you call me to do something. I won’t be giving you a quick answer and there is strong probability when I do reply, it will be no.
My slogan is now LISTEN UP!
Listen up – to hear God, not down to the world.
Prayer by Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471)
Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know,
To love what I ought to love,
To praise what delights thee most,
To value what is precious in thy sight,
To hate what is offensive to thee.
Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,
Nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men;
But to discern with a true judgment between things visible and spiritual,
And above all, always to inquire what is the good pleasure of thy will.