Monday, June 23, 2014

Listening & Hearing & Paying Attention

In the middle of this huge and sudden move that I am making, I had a conversation with my roommate. We were discussing how we need to learn to trust God when we are trying to make important decisions.

My roommate said that she is trying to learn to hear God's voice in her life. She feels that it's hard to hear Him. I could only share what I have learned about listening for, hearing, and paying attention to God's voice. For me, they are three different scenarios.

Often times, when I am faced with a situation in my life, I will pray until I realize I don't want the right answer. What I usually want is the easy answer. In other words, I want what I want instead of what God wants for me. The right answers usually require my obedience in ways that I want to avoid.

When I got sick, I prayed for God's healing and guidance. Of course, part of my healing included taking the prescribed medicines and giving up some of my bad habits. I was like the You Tube character, Sweet Brown: "I ain't trying to hear that!"

Of course, I did finally listen and really hear what God was telling me. I paid attention and took the medicine that fought my sarcoidosis (but made me fat and sad); changed my diet (from fast and fried to greener and more nutritious); started getting more exercise (even though I had to join a gym to get through the winter months); and quit smoking a cigarettes (that I craved and would risk going into debt to buy).

It took months for the healing to began and, though I'm not out of the woods yet, I'm better than anyone expected so far.

In every single situation where I've followed my own voice, I've only found trouble - in relationships, finances and life in general. It's taken me years to figure out what I had been doing wrong: trying to build my own bridges and doorways.

In the past few years, I've gotten better at walking in faith. I no longer look at most problems without praying about them. And, when I pray, I try to listen for the right answers over the easiest ones.

While my roommate and I were having this conversation, I didn't have to heart to point out to her the most recent evidence of God making a way for me. Two Bible verses immediately came to mind:

First -
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11
And then -
 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
See, I would never be moving and getting an opportunity for a healthier and more affordable lifestyle if it wasn't for my roommate's temper. She got upset one day and said some things that were hurtful and caused us to end our co-living arrangement.

The thing that bothered me most was that I had been unhappy with our living situation for months, but didn't want to move out and leave her in a financial bind. I had put up with what looked like an ambush to my healthy changes; a lack of cleanliness and concern about the appearance of the home; and a few things I won't mention. I basically ended up paying half the rent to live in my bedroom.  Then, when we had our spat, she didn't consider the position she was putting me into with no warning. Or maybe she did. She's not a mean person at heart, so I think it was more of a temper tantrum/take my ball and go home thing. At any rate, it added a lot of anxiety at a time when I had so many other things to worry about. I was already sick and the stress made things worse.

Once again, God took something meant for harm and turned it into a blessing. I'm glad that I am learning to listen to His voice.

(This is a song I'm listening to today. I hope you enjoy it):

"I Call Him Love" by Kathy Troccoli
(Today, I call Him "Answers")