Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013: A year to listen...

The calendar turns and I turn towards Christ, leaning in and asking what this year holds.  I don't expect specific answers, though that is always a relief, but rather I've been looking for the call He has on my year, if anything.  We, my sweet man and I, have prayed daily for God to lead and guide us.  And the answer still seems to be that we take things one. day. at. a. time.  I'm terrible at this.  I love to sprint ahead and figure it all out myself, to find the answers and apply them in my own strength.  But of course, you know this is not the way our Lord operates.  Quite the contrary!  Doing this separates me from my dear Savior, and leaves me flailing, as I struggle to clean up the messes I have inadvertently made.  [Not that I can speak from experience on this.... :) ]

But as I walked around the neighborhood this morning, enjoying the last few days of my break before school starts again, my emotions were swirling, and I beat down anger and disappointment with myself and life. Author David Seamands says emotions are an indicator of what is happening underneath the surface, and I believe it.  For me, when my emotions are soaring, or in the dumps, I have to listen to my God, my husband, my current lifestyle choices, and adjust accordingly.

LISTEN.  There's that word that most of us want to master, but often don't know how.  Or perhaps I speak for myself?  Before I got married, I prided myself in being an excellent listener.  But I quickly realized how much I needed to grow in this area!  Hashing over the same issues together, day in and day out, can be rewarding when a solution is found, but the process can be difficult... More than just listening to my husband, and my friends, there's a deeper goal I feel the Lord has put on my heart this year:  listening to Him.  This can sometimes be a controversial topic, when considering the charismatic church's viewpoints versus the more reformed thinkers.  But the common ground is found, of course, in meditating on the Word, and listening to God speak in that way.  This is my foundational source for listening to God, as I ask, seek and knock, and go about all my daily tasks and responsibilities.  Prayer and fellowship are absolutely crucial as well, a life-source for me every day.

But author Jan Meyers, in her book, Listening to Love, entices the reader with many more ways that we can 'listen' to God....perhaps subjective, in the minds of some, but I gain great wisdom from her discourse on the subject.  It's no surprise to you then, that I would pick this book up just a week ago, and then today have God lay the call to LISTEN on my heart.  Some of the topics in the book include: Listening to sorrow, our need, each other, reality, exhaustion, and beauty, among others.  I've read this book before, but am always drawn to it again when I need to gain new vision and direction on my life.  I'd encourage you to pick it up, in hopes that it would do the same for you.

Here's an excerpt, which will help you understand some of the main theme of the book:  "If your heart is even remotely like mine, you can trace the movements it goes through on the way to this confident expectation [following the Voice of Love to joy beyond our dreams]. We begin in a posture of uncertainty--Is it Jesus I hear, and even if it is, do I want to open the door? Here the question of our hearts sounds like this: Is it really you, Jesus?  When we have tentatively turned the knob to lean in or hear what he has to say, we move into the second posture.  Here we recognize that it is indeed Jesus on the other side of the door, but we also recognize that he can do whatever he wants with our life.  Oh no, it is you, Jesus.  And then, over time and tender experience, our hearts move into a posture of peaceful gratitude, knowing that something so much bigger than our understanding is unfolding, something for our good as well as for God's.  Finally our hearts relax with the unexpected, Oh good, it is you, Jesus."

I'm looking forward to hearing and watching God move in my life, and in my marriage this year, whatever that may look like.  And though I don't know what that will mean exactly, I feel ready to really listen, lay down my pride, and let it all unfold.  I've man (woman?)-handled my path too many times, and submitting to God's will is the best place to be.

Will you listen to His call this year?  What is your one word call for the year?

Blessings on you,