Hi everyone. Rob here.
Yesterday was a great day. The sun shone. I got out the bike and enjoyed a nice ride down to the river where I walked among beautiful bush and birdsong by the river’s edge. I found a quiet spot for lunch and invited God to speak into my mind and heart. I asked questions and Christ in me answered them in a way that spoke to my heart and gave me peace. I let myself linger in the afternoon sun, enjoyed more walking and riding, until a puncture ended my revelry. I then took myself to my office and tried to journal all that God had spoken to me. It was really hard to do and I realised that God’s words were already fading from my fickle mind. It took a real effort to not only recall the words I heard, but also recapture the thrill of hearing them.
I managed to remember but it really sunk in as I repeated the story of the day to my wife, Kiley. The act of re-telling God’s words confirmed the reality and truth of what I had heard. I’ve noticed this before. You can have a special time with God, but until you tell someone you trust about it, doubts can linger. It can feel afterwards like you made it up, even though, in the moment, it was very real. Do you have someone you can talk to about your life with God? Is there a person you can ring to share your experiences with on the same day they happen? Are you that kind of person for someone?
These acts of speaking and listening are where we come together on holy ground. The experienced spiritual director will have follow up questions like, “what happened to your heart when you heard that,” or, “did you feel something shift when God spoke those words,” or, “was there something else you wanted to ask God.” But the first gift we give is a listening ear and a validation of that person’s connection with the God of heaven and earth.
Not everything I heard yesterday was crystal clear, but a couple of things were. Most of what I heard was encouragement and validation. They were words for my heart, not to create a 5 step plan for my life. There was a course correction, but not a 3-D map. The need for discernment comes when people think they now have the blueprint for their lives. God rarely gives that to us. It doesn’t help our addiction to control and certainty. At the same time God will often give us the next step. He’ll often target the motives behind our actions, not the actions themselves. And it all becomes clearer when you talk with a trusted friend.
But how do we find them? I’m blessed because Kiley is on the same path and gets it. Not everyone’s spouse is on the same path though. We need to ask God to show us who our trusted friends should be. If you’re really stuck then find a spiritual director. In fact, these trained and trusted people teach us how to do this and are a great starting point if you’re new to this life of listening to God.
So, a few lessons from one sunny day. Get out in the wilderness and enjoy life and God. Intentionally enter into conversation with him. He lives in you and is right there. Have your journal on you if at all possible, so after the conversation is finished (you’ll know!), you can write what you’ve heard. Seek out a friend and share with them also. Then, make the changes to your life that are needed to align yourself with God’s purposes for you. May God’s Spirit lead it all.
Grace and peace everyone.