Monday, May 15, 2006
Speak Up and Listen!
Cat Stevens sings "From the time that I could talk I was ordered to listen." Mary Chapin Carpenter sings "Talk to me when I'm listening." Our world is made of communication failures, so it's not a big surprise that no one knows how to communicate with God. Add to the usual distractions of modern life the fact that you can't see God and you get great potential for feeling very silly.
How do you know that God hears? He's always listening, but how do you know? You have to listen for him, which means stilling the internal racket. It's no more than you'd do for anyone else... assuming that anyone in this world still remembers what it is to really listen to anyone. When was the last time you really held a conversation with someone? I mean, TV off, radio off, cell phone off, no book in your lap, no planning for the future going on in your head. Look at the other person, pay attention to their words and think about what they're saying instead of the usual uh, huh at times that, from the tone of voice, you know are appropriate. I mean a conversation that you actually remember after your friend has walked out the door.
How do you know God listens? Try asking him a question and then waiting for an answer. You don't have to be completely silent. God knows our weaknesses and spending years at intensive discipline so that your mind is empty isn't the real goal. Hearing God is the goal. Just as you can hear a bird's call over the wind and waterfalls in a forest, you can learn to hear God over the usual noises of life.
His voice is unique. He's the best conversational partner you'll ever have. He's honest. Always tells the truth. He is always kind. He will never force his way into someone who doesn't want to hear, so go ahead and speak up. Forget the traditional rituals of God-talk and be yourself.
And then hang on.
I'm blessed..my kids tell me one of the best things I do is turn off the TV, stop what I'm doing, or move away from the computer when they start talking to me.
I know that God does this the best. I think people talk to God without knowing it...that inner speak that we do in our heads...He hears it all, and answers...but we can only hear the answer if we listen.