One of the skills I learned when I was becoming a registered nurse was the art of listening to my patients. It took intention, concentration and a set of skills such as making eye contact, being still, focusing on what the person was sharing. I learned to see beneath the surface, to read emotions and body language… to hear what wasn’t being said. It took practice. But over the years, it became second nature to listen that way.
We’ve been hearing about connecting with God. About removing the barriers of our preconceived ideas. When I became serious about connecting with God, when I really felt ready to try to discern His leading, I started experimenting with my own awareness of His presence. It felt much the same as the experience I had when I became a mother. When I brought that newborn home, my hearing acuity went up 1000%! When he moved in the bassinet or made a whimpering sound, I was on my feet from a dead sleep in seconds!
With that understanding in mind, I started to try increasing my awareness of God’s nearness. I really wanted to “hear” his leading. So, I started setting my alarm to go off every hour. When it went off, I simply focused on His nearness and asked Him to help me somehow know His will for me that day. Then I went about my day. After a few days, I noticed that I was thinking about Him without the alarm, I was noticing things I really hadn’t seen or heard before. My spiritual “hearing acuity” had really changed.
I saw the sadness in the eyes and the pain underneath the angry remark. I felt compelled to share more honestly, to give my money more freely, to push myself into uncomfortable situations. And when I responded to those situations in this new way, I didn’t feel proud or self-righteous or more religious. I felt genuinely happy, fulfilled and deeply content.
I’d love to tell you that from then on, I’ve lived this consistent life of listening to and responding to God’s call every day. But it has been like every other relationship in my life – sometimes I’m my best loving and giving self and sometimes I’m my own worst enemy. But practicing this way of living has changed me into a better version of myself. It’s brought out God’s best in me. I would challenge you to find your own way of experiencing the reality of God’s investment in your life – your everyday, ordinary life.
Psalm 52 in Psalms Now says:
” …the child of God is like a green tree that spreads its boughs to shield the weary traveler or holds out its fruit to the hungry stranger, he quietly and perpetually carries out God’s purposes in a barren land.”
And that folks, is a well lived and happy life.
Karen Frutchey-Snyder & Leanna Schulz