Tag Archives: communication

Listening to God

I have asked many pastors how we know when we hear the voice of God. We are encouraged to seek him and desire him and to follow his will for our lives. Most of those who profess to be Christians want to follow his will.
Maybe I am alone in this, but often I find it difficult to differentiate between what I think may be the pulling of the Holy Spirit, and the weird food and hot sauce I just ate. Or simple mood swings. Sometimes I am told that I am just not close enough to God and that I will ‘know’.
There are times when I will admit I have felt the move of God. The actions I was lead to do and the “crazy-random-happenstance” that ensued that was more than just coincidence was evidence. I don’t discount that. However, the very next day I have moments where I am just not sure and I will never know. It could just be a gut feeling.
Generally we are encouraged as evangelicals to spend more time on our knees in prayer until we have a solid answer. To pray and listen until God moves. Usually the implication is you will just ‘know’, it sounds rather mystical to me.
I posit that God works in much more mysterious and wonderful ways than just providing a feeling.  He talked to Adam and Abraham face to face, to his kinds through prophets, to his prophets… well not sure how, to Moses through a burning bush, and to Balam through an ass.
Our God is creative. He can communicate a direction or a message through a friend, a book, a thought, a prayer, or even a prophetic message. Perhaps we should expand our faith, and importantly, our view of God’s communication and creativity to include, however he wants to communicate. When you seek to hear God, remember to look for him in whatever way he chooses to show up. The Israelite’s were expecting a warrior, and he showed up humble lowly.


Free

I recently took a trip to the store. It was really weird. I left my phone at home. It was really nice.

There was no concern of a friend calling me needing help. There was no, “pressure” to stay connected. There was no nervous checking of my phone for updates or notifications. I was actually present and attentive to my immediate surroundings. The breeze was slight, the sun was setting. I noted the smell of the asphalt and trash in the parking lot.

I highly recommend taking the time to spend time away from electronics. Enjoy the actual physical world in front of you. Not just the representation of it in pixels, or the physical plastic, metal and glass object we call our phones. They seriously aren’t that interesting.


Listening Part 2

I love hanging out with people who are blunt and simply call things out the way they are. I have several close friends that happily inform me, at the moment of observation regardless of whether it fits the current context or not, that, “your balding,” “you swim slow,” “you laugh really loud,” or, “you talk too much.”

Although some may find this offensive, I find this rather comforting. I always know where I stand with them. There is no guess or wondering if I am doing something right or something horribly wrong. Unfortunately this stems more from a lack of desire to listen closely to those who are not so forward.

I have many friends that are rather quite. They will inform you of everything you need to know, they just are not forward, firm, or loud about it. If I am tired, distracted, or not really paying that close of attention I usually always miss what they are communicating. This usually leads to friction, mis understandings and the need for scheduled conversations.

When it comes to listening, I feel that it is my job to listen in the language that the other communications, just as much as it is their job to realize the times when I may need them to spell it out in a bright neon sign instead of quite whispers.

The only issue, is that for those that are more quite or imply, I can also have the opposite tendency to pick up on things that they never intended. The whole picture needs to be in view. How do we learn? Only through experience.

Do you have any insights or stories of listening well to those who are more reserved?


Thankfulness

In my last post, I talked about my lack of faith, and calling upon God to help me, not in some transcendental psychic communication sort of way, but by whatever means he chooses.

Long ago I shared a post with the video that is at the bottom of this one. The basic summary of the video is that we can choose our attitude. If we write down at the end of each day three things we are thankful for and describe two positive experiences we had that day, we can change the way we see the world.

I tried this for a little while. But then gave up. I wanted so badly for so long to get back to the person that I used to be. I used to be so happy all of the time. Thankful to just be alive. Constantly asking myself how I can love the next person. Then life happened, I didn’t respond well, and a few sad events later and my internal monologue now has a really bad attitude.

Furthermore is the issue of who to be thankful to. As a Christian, I should be thankful to God. But what if I can’t see God’s hand in what I am thankful for? Yes, everything that exists is because of God, but does that mean we should ascribe thanks for the fact that the toaster didn’t catch on fire this morning? Is that an act of God? It seems trite to thank him for things that he may really not have that much care in (in future posts I will talk about the little things and God’s hand).

But, as I mentioned in my last post. If God is communicating with us in any way he chooses, then should we not be thankful for each good event that happens to us? In some way shape or form, Gods hand was in that. If someone smiled, I believe that the other person is in the image of God and I can be to God for their image. Give him worship. At the very least, I can be thankful that God is helping me to be thankful for things! Or allowing me to notice.

In short, I don’t have a complicated treaties of how I know that God is in everything, and I still don’t believe he is involved in everything. But as a child can be thankful to a parent for creating the environment that he can play in, even if he bought the toys with his own money, so I can thank God for my life that I am living. Especially when that life includes answers to my prayers.


Boundaries of Information

                 In order to know what was going in other people’s lives you used to have to write them, call them or see them in person. Or hear about them from mutual friends. Information or the details of a person and their lives could only be gleaned through intentional activity. This also cuts off a lot of people. Everyone only has a limited number of hours in the week, and have to choose (or not choose) who to keep up with.

                Now because of social media you can keep up with as many people as you want with no effort and no contact. You can read Tweets and status updates about friends from all over without ever having to actually contact them. You can absorb information about others without actually knowing them.

                I find that this trains people to build more shallow relationships, as well as losing focus on how we do need to spend more time with some people than others. There are some people that do need more of our time and attention. We also must keep in mind that knowing things about others is not the same as relating with them. So my challenge to you, is call five people you know you normally wouldn’t this week, and say hi.