On a recent weekend afternoon, I interrupted my husband, deep in thought, focused on a project. As I spoke to him, he nodded giving an occasional “mhmm.” But, somewhere mid-sentence, I realized I recognized “that” look. You know “that” look when the person you are talking to isn’t hearing a word you are saying? I don’t see that look often, but I definitely recognized it.
“I’m talking to myself, aren’t’ I?” I said. Without missing a beat, my husband nodded and said “mhmm.” His response so automatic and unengaged actually made me laugh. I realized that he was truly mid-project, unaware of anything I had said. I decided I’d revisit the conversation later, turned and walked away.
I think we’ve all been there – unheard. In such a situation, it’s easy to be irritated, angry, or annoyed. Sure, I could have raised my voice, so he would really hear… or maybe given him the cold shoulder for not listening. Maybe on a different day one of those responses might have bubbled up. But for some reason on that day, I decided to wait with my thoughts and words. When I did, God spoke to my heart. “Can you hear me now?” echoed in my mind.
In that moment, God blessed me with insight. He showed me that my husband, busy engrossed in his work, had unintentionally closed off his ears. And then the lesson became personal. How many times have I been the one not listening and given God the same response I had just received? How many times in my life could God say, “Am I talking to myself?”
How many opportunities to hear Him speak have I ignored? Maybe busy with life, I didn’t notice. “mhmm God. Yup I’m listening,” I might think, but in reality, I hadn’t really listened. How many times have I been caught up in routines of daily life that I didn’t hear His quiet whisper or I’ve left my Bible on the shelf unopened? Sure, I know it is filled with His words, His wisdom for my life but how many times have I allowed my focus on life to keep from hearing or reading what He has to say to me? Am I the only one, have you been there too?
“Can you hear me now?” I felt God say to my heart. Matthew 4:4 says “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” God’s word is life giving. In His words, we find comfort, direction, reminders of His love and so much more. But to benefit from what His words have to offer, we need to be available. We need to listen. We need to have open ears and even more importantly an open heart.
Have you every caught yourself not listening? This week, make an effort to listen, really listen to the people in your life. And, make a special effort to listen to God with greater commitment. I’d love to hear how listening impacts you!
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