Listening is Hard

Recently, I shared about finally letting go and seeing a new way forward with my book project. I got some very encouraging words from several people about how great it was that I was so tuned in and quickly sensed the Holy Spirit’s guidance in this area. It was encouraging to hear that because most of the time, I don’t think I am a very good listener. I wish was, considering how so much of following your calling requires listening. Sometimes research just doesn’t translate into practice very fast! Listening is an incredibly difficult discipline and more often than not, I’m a better example of ignoring clear messages.

Consider how this whole project started. At the beginning of 2010, I began to get a strong sense that I should start a new “project” but I didn’t know what it should be. Did I take the time to sit and listen? To ask God what he thought?

Of course not, I got right down to brainstorming and trying to think it out for myself. I got restless, frustrated, made some attempts to start different things but nothing caught on. It took me until the end of February to suddenly realize why I wasn’t getting anywhere. Here’s my journal entry from February 23, 2010:

Dear God,

I feel discontent with life again. A feeling of why am I bored at work and wondering if I should be more proactive in initiating some of the changes that are so desperately needed. I feel like I’m all talk and no action. Help me to see why you have me there.

I’ve been trying so hard to brainstorm, plan, think and analyze new ideas for work, how to make John’s business work, how to live a more free life but I’m finding it nearly impossible to get anywhere. Are you sending me a message saying ‘Why aren’t you asking me first? How about spending a little time listening?’

If you are, then I think I’ve finally gotten the message.

If a journal entry can have a sheepish expression, this one sure does. The cool thing is that five days later this calling project was born! Pausing for God’s plan is hard when you’re an idea person and you just want to get going on something. But this project has been going for almost two years now (much longer than any of my personal projects) and maybe it will go a lot longer if I remember to be patient.

If you’re struggling with listening, you’re not alone. It’s hard to calm our whirling brains down enough to hear anything sometimes. Plus there’s no formula and no set method either! What is encouraging to me is that God is so patient. I didn’t miss my chance to participate in this project because I didn’t pay attention for two months. He still gave it to me when I finally showed up. I’m very grateful for that.

And speaking of being grateful, Happy American Thanksgiving on Thursday!


One thought on “Listening is Hard

  1. A book project! Congratulations! It’s so hard to stop and quiet and still sometimes. But the blessing that follows as we listen is something to treasure. So glad you’re feeling that now!

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