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Archive for the tag “Art of Listening”

Rubber Meets the Road

For the last couple of years, I have been contemplating making a move. It’s on my radar once again, but this time I think I’m ready to go. It’s not an easy decision; one that I do not take lightly. I have been in this place for over seventeen years. It’s the longest time I have lived in one place. However, I have always said this was the house God gave me. When it’s time to transfer managers, I would wait on Him for the right time. So the decision is based on His direction.

The offer is on the table through a new start-up company who buys houses at a fair market value. It was so much more than I had anticipated that it has me a little startled. I don’t want to chase the money; but if this is God’s blessing, I don’t want to miss the chance either. This is where faith becomes an action plan. It’s where the rubber meets the road and becomes very real in moving out in faith.

It feels somewhat like an Abraham move. God told Abram (before the name change) to “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). I don’t think God is calling me to the mission field, but I am leaving my home of seventeen years. It’s a separation that is real. At this point, I don’t know if I am leaving my community and my church family too.

My small group is going through the Priscilla Shirer study about hearing God’s voice. So relevant for this time. The point that came across to me is about hearing God’s word through a sense of peace in the decision. I have heard God’s voice a few times in my life, but this one is different – as they all were. It’s a matter of discerning the right thing and the “almost” right thing; the good versus the best. That’s where it gets hard. No one knows the future but God.

A few years back, I knew God was asking me to sell my car. It was an almost “dream” car for me. I loved it, but it was costly to maintain. It was a struggle in my spirit to let go. It took me a month to finally put the car up for sell. Once I released it, I found the next car that was so much more economical and have had no expense except for maintenance. It was a complete blessing, especially in my financial lean time.

At Beth Moore’s conference last weekend, the first thing I wrote down in my notes was the faster we obey the easier it is the next time. Yes, I am struggling with the letting go process. However, the struggle isn’t much about letting go, but discerning if it’s God’s will to let go. Letting go is easier when we know God is on the move. I want to go where He is going. Don’t you?

In Priscilla’s video for the study this week, she talked about knowing what you’re called to do. She mentioned that we need to be on the front lines in God’s plan – we have to know our own “front line.” What is our individual assignment? Jesus had His own front line. He did everything His Father asked of Him and nothing else. We are to be single-minded as well. We are to work on our own “God-thing.” Do you know your God-thing? Is your time divided into things that are not yours to do?

My God-thing is to help people get healthy. I found my passion a few years ago; however, I am still working through what that really looks like when the rubber meets the road. How do I walk it out consistently? Right now, I work for a natural healthcare doctor. When I went to school to get a certification in health coaching, the instructor said to “find your voice” and use it to help others. Finding my voice was the key to writing. At the time, I had no idea that was the next thing God wanted to do through me to help others. Here I am years later, still typing away.

I don’t know what the next thing will be when I finally make the decision to move. I don’t know what’s in store for the next few months or years either. But so far, peace has settled over me. A couple of weeks ago, God whispered “trust me” and I am. God always knows when we have had enough. He will never keep us longer in a place than we need to be. The time is always right when His hand is moving us.

The last thing I wrote down in my notes from Priscilla’s message was obedience brings freedom. The Scripture associated with her last point was directed at Galatians 5 about self-discipline. As I looked that over, I noticed in verse 25 “since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Wherever He leads, I’ll go. Will you?

“I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-10

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The Battle Zone

For the last week or so, I have been in a constant battle over emotional issues. At first, I was missing my Mom. Mother’s Day is just hard. My birthday is also coming up which brings a greater awareness of her absence – she always made me feel special on my day. No one can take her place – it’s just her place in my heart, and there will always be a void there. The places in our hearts that are not filled properly causes emotional turmoil. Loneliness waits for the opportunity to take its place in that emotional void. Sometimes it’s just hard being single. And even when friends or family are around, loneliness can still find its way into that void. It’s a battle that keeps recurring no matter how much I lean on Jesus to be my Lord of everything. We are told in Scripture that God is always with us – He never leaves us or forsakes us. We are made for companionship between Him and us and each other. We are not meant to live life alone. How do we fill up emotionally so that we don’t experience those lonely times?

I took the test of love languages for singles this past week in the midst of my battle of loneliness. My strongest language turned out to be quality time with the second and third closely tied in words of affirmation and gifts. I don’t know if these love languages come from the relationships we have early in life or they are ingrained in our DNA. But my parents do play a major role in how I feel love. My Mom was a gift giver. I believe my Dad’s love language is quality time. Not sure where the words of affirmation comes into play, since I really don’t remember having someone really encouraging me early on. These days my family time hasn’t been the greatest. And I leave with my emotional tank less than full. I know I am loved by my family, but the emotional level isn’t met. Feelings are just fickle. They want what they want!

My family loves television. It’s a constant battle to have a decent conversation without the television going on in the background (or in the foreground as the case maybe). One Sunday after spending time with family, I left feeling quite unsatisfied. I was eager to talk to someone about some problems that I needed to work through. Communication is hard when competing with game shows or golf matches! I think we have a listening problem in this world today. Nobody wants to listen to anybody; but we all want to be heard though. Interruptions are just a way of life with phones ringing or text messages that have everyone’s attention. Recently, I noticed a group of women with their eyes glued to their phones reading messages and not one word was shared between the women sitting next to one another.

We long to be heard but nobody is paying attention. The battle is raging on every front. And we are missing the opportunities to encourage one another to stand strong. No wonder some of us are feeling lonely even when we are in the midst of a crowd. I also have noticed that when talking with someone, if I am not getting my thoughts out quick enough, the subject will be changed or someone will hijack the conversation. Is it just me or does everyone have this problem? But how do I rate my own ability to listen or to express love to my loved ones? Am I meeting their needs? If I understand God’s commands to love one another, then I need to pay attention to who is in front of me and how to meet their emotional needs. Women are emotional creatures, and we need those emotional bonds strengthened at times. It is a battle that we each fight day in and day out. And our enemy loves to get into the mix and cause those emotions to swirl out of control.

We have to be intentional about our times together. We have to be intentional about relationships. An intentional relationship with Jesus is top priority. When I am experiencing loneliness, then I am not spending quality time with my Lord. He is not meeting my needs because I am not giving Him the time to express Himself in love and comfort to me. I tend to rush through my quiet time. I check the box that I have done what I am supposed to do – but that’s not developing a good relationship, that’s only filling a religious ritual. My enemy wins the battle when I focus on my pity party instead of my Comforter. The battle is raging, but we don’t have to let the enemy win. Jesus is enough to meet our every need.

My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish. Psalm 25:15-17

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