Re-Learning the Art of Listening… to God
I recently met a friend for coffee and realized the whole hour had gone by and I had been talking the whole time! I apologized to my friend and promised we would spend our entire next coffee date hearing about her life. This “motor-mouth” moment made me realize that the same thing often happens in my relationship with God. My prayer life is characterized by me talking, talking, talking, rather than listening. Listening. Listening.
Have I forgotten how to do it? Or forgotten the value of it? I don’t know, but perhaps this is a season of my life where I need to re-learn the art of listening to God. I used to be a serious basketball player and sometimes we would come to practice and my coach would say, “We’re going to spend our entire time today going back to the basics.” We would go over the things we had already learned a hundred times–dribbling, lay-ups, pivots, etc.–but needed to go over again and again because it was these very basic fundamentals that made the difference in us winning or losing a game.
Going back to the basics is a principle we can and need to apply to our spiritual lives as well. For me at the moment, that is re-learning how to listen to and hear from God. Some questions Joyce Huggett poses in her book, Listening to God, are burning in my heart all over again:
How does God communicate himself to me? How does he disclose who he is after I have revealed myself to him? Do I have to wait hours, days, weeks or even years to see what God will do with and about my openness to him? Or is there a more immediate and direct response?…Can God put a new idea directly and immediately into my mind? Can he give me a new perspective in which to view my life with its successes and failures, agonies and ecstasies? Can God put new desires into my heart, new strength into my will? Can he touch and calm my turbulent emotions? Can he actually whisper words to the listening ears of my soul through the inner faculty of imagination? Can God stimulate certain memories stored within the human brain at the time these memories are needed?
There was once a time when I was more sure of these questions. But today, I am content to sit with them afresh, pondering them as for the first time. I need to go back to the basics and learn how to listen all over again.
How about you? What is something that God is calling you to re-learn or re-learn the value of again?
I’ll be sharing my journey of re-learning how to listen to God in the next few weeks. I hope you’ll join in the conversation!