originally written in 2009 for All Saints Church
Express Yourself + _________________ = Communication
Last week’s Healing Thoughts was all about Express Yourself. We talked about being a “Tattle Tale,” by running to Jesus with all of our feelings, good and bad. He created us to be in communication with Him. He desires to have us talk to Him about everything!
Let’s move on to the second half of the Communication Equation. Fr. Al Durrance often tells of an activity that is done at Camp Farthest Out (CFO) Retreats. The participants are asked to write a letter to God telling Him what is on their minds. Then they are asked to turn the sheet of paper over and listen to God’s response, writing down what He says to them.
To listen is the second half of the equation. Some definitions for listen are: To give close attention with the purpose of hearing. To pay attention. To make an effort to hear something. When the CFO participants were asked to turn the sheet of paper over and listen to God, they were really being asked to pay attention and make an effort to hear what God wanted to say to them. As Fr. Al said this I felt a nudge in my heart, telling me that too often I miss God’s voice because I’m not really listening for/to Him.
This reminded me of one of my friends who always says, “I hear you, Kirsten.” For some reason his statement bugs me. It’s like he hears the stream of noise coming out of my mouth, but he isn’t really making the effort to listen to the meaning of the words interwoven into the noise. He hears me, but he isn’t listening. How often do I do that with the Lord?
About 80 % of my job is listening to people every day. It is one of the true joys in my life. I could sit all day long listening to people talk about every aspect of their lives. Yet, I often struggle to sit still to listen to what the Lord wants to tell me. “Still” and “I” are a dichotomy. God knows this about me, so He speaks succinctly when letting me know what He wants me to do. However, I know that I need to practice being a more attentive listener to all that He would say to me each day. One of my wise friends once asked me, “Kirsten, when is the last time that you took time to sit quietly before the Lord, not saying a word?” I couldn’t recall. “Then it’s time for us to take a silent retreat,” my friend informed.
The result: I had no idea how much the Lord had been wanting to tell me! He’d simply been waiting for me to listen.
We live in a “fast food” society. We bark out orders, barely hearing other people’s responses. Our kids are so addicted to multitasking that they have literally learned to hear the minimum amount of words to understand a sentence. Listening is a skill that is falling by the wayside. If we don’t know how to listen we are missing out on half of the Communication Equation.
I encourage you to take the time in the next week to practice expressing yourself and listening to the Lord. Communicate with Him. You might even want to write a letter to God. Then turn the letter over to listen and write down His response to you.
Communication is why you were created. What greater gift could we be given from our Creator than the ability to be in constant communication (communion) with Him?
Express Yourself + Listen = Communication
Until next time blessings and healing