Friday, May 23, 2008

Listening...



One of the great things about our trip to the mountains was the ability to have some long periods of quiet.


A couple days before the trip a dear friend called me up and asked me to pray about a ministry project we might work on together.

I told her that I would pray about it. 

I began to pray about it that first Sunday morning while at the ranch.  

I always start my morning time with writing. I have a journal and I write while I wait for the coffee to kick in.  Normally I write my prayers for my family and close friends. Then I read my devotional (you can see the one I am currently reading in the side bar), and then, if I still have some time, I will read some more.

Nothing is more fantastic for me than the opportunity to start my morning with coffee, the bible and being outside.  There is something so very, well, natural, about being outdoors.

So, that early Sunday morning  I sat out on the deck (it was a little bit cold), with the hummingbirds buzzing about and I began to write about this idea my friend had suggested. I prayed that God would speak to me; that He would give me direction; that He would prepare me for whatever he might have me do. I prayed for direction in this situation (or any other that might be around the bend.)  I closed my journaling time with this last paragraph:

Oh! The birds are so happy this morning, talking and flying, and making such a ruckus! The sun is fully up now, and it feels so very good. Thank you. Lord, open your word to me this morning. Direct me to what I need to know, or study, or to live. Help me to hear and see. I desire to know you more.
I closed my journal and opened my devotional, which told me to go to Matthew 3:16-17. 

However, with my early morning not-quite-caffeinated brain, I found myself in Matthew 13: 16- 17:
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it
Suddenly I was very, very, awake!  Having just asked to "hear and see" I thought these verses might be worth looking at again. 

I knew that I needed to figure out why in the world I would find myself in these verses, when I had just asked for answers to prayer.

Ca-winky-dink? 

Maybe.

But I don't think so.

I think if we take these verses in context with what's happening in the chapter we see Christ talking in parables. He is wanting to those around Him to be teachable, to think

The verses in Matt 13:16-17 aren't so much saying, "Can you hear me?", as much as they are saying, "Will you listen? Will you be teachable? Will you really open your eyes to me? Will you put your spiritual hearing aides in and really hear what I want you to know."

I think this verse is saying that spiritual desire is highly sought, but even prophets and righteous men can fall victims to hardened hearts; to loosing sight; to hearing loss.

I felt the Lord whisper to me: If I start you on this project Kellie, will you be teachable?

At this point I decided to look up verses in scripture that had to do with being teachable. Many of them had to do with the apostles as they were being taught by Christ. To be teachable (in the few verses I read) looked like this: to actively and consistently seek the Lord; to ask Him questions; to be quiet, so as to hear the answers; and then to do what He says. 

That is being teachable.

I know I am bouncing all over the place, but stick with me here...

I started to think about what keeps me from being teachable. It's not that I don't want to learn. It's not that I don't want to know the Lord more.  It's not even that I don't actively seek Him. 

It's that I am distracted.  It's because I often allow pride to keep me from being teachable. It's because taking time to listen doesn't take priority.

Then, suddenly, while sitting under the new morning sun, I remembered a story about my grandmother.

Grandma Maude just turned 90. About 5 years ago my mother took her to the audiologist because she knew that Grandma Maude was losing her hearing. However, Grandma Maude wasn't going to admit that she couldn't hear because "only old people wear hearing aides".

The audiologist told my Mom and Grandma Maude that the funny thing about losing your hearing is that the brain will forget the meaning, or even the existence, of words if they are not actively heard.  If you do not hear, you forget; you decline. As a result it was imperative that Grandma Maude wear her hearing aides.

I don't know if it was pride about aging or how they would look, or if she really didn't think she had a problem, but Grandma Maude couldn't bring her self to wear them.  No matter how much my parents cajoled, or nagged, or asked, or yelled (as in talking loudly in conversation to be heard) she refused to wear the aides. Still does.

Unfortunately, without hearing, the mind slowly deteriorates. When the mind begins to decline, the body soon follows.  What the audiologist told her was true. We've watched it happen with Grandma Maude. Her later years may have been a lot brighter if only she wouldn't have gotten in the way of herself.  

If only she would've been teachable; had made the choice to hear...

And this is what I think the Lord was asking me to do on that cool Sunday morning: To make the decision to wear my spiritual hearing aides. So that I will not forget.

This world is a noisy place. I blog and text, ring and buzz. There are movies and Tivo's and nights on the town. There's groceries to buy and projects to do. There are magazines, and books and podcasts. I could go on and on. It's incredibly fun and fufilling, but the noises in my day lure me to a place where I can no longer hear the One Thing I desire the most.

Without taking the time to be quiet and listen, it isn't long before my vision starts to fade. I begin to see "things" as more lovely than He who gave me vision. I begin to see myself, my time, my way as more important than the things I am called to do. 

Today is the first day of summer vacation. I have deliberately set a light schedule for the kids and I, so that I might have time to do some writing, some thinking (yes, definitely some playing!), but more importantly some listening.  

~Proverbs 19:27~
If you quit listening, dear child, 
and strike off on your own, 
   you'll soon be out of your depth.

6 comments:

Megan said...

Wow, Kellie. Thanks for sharing this. The analogy about the hearing aides was fascinating. It's amazing how God gives us those true-to-life comparisons. I needed to hear this today.

meh said...

I really appreciate your taking the time to work through and write out what God has laid on your heart.

Michelle@Life with Three said...

Thanks for taking the time to share how God is speaking to you. It's always neat to read how He is working in someone else's life, as it makes you more sensitive to the ways He might be working in your own. (The hearing aide analogy was great, btw!)

Janel said...

Kellie, that was an awesome post!
Great story and fantastic teaching on that scripture.

You blessed me with this!

mer said...

Yes! I loved this post. Just yesterday I was outside weeding my flowerbeds and asking something of the Lord...something specific to me that I've been asking Him for awhile now.

Later yesterday afternoon, I realized that He answered me. But it took being still and "listening" not only with my ears, but with my eyes and heart as well, to really hear His response to my question.

Ahhh...summer! I think making time everyday to listen sounds like a wonderful idea!

spaghettipie said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing your insight. Oddly enough, I just had a similar conversation regarding hearing aids with my MIL. Her mother recently went to get her hearing aids "tuned up" and the audiologist shared the same thing about the effects of hearing loss.