One of the questions I get asked most often is whether my brother and I are twins. I mean, I guess I can understand it. We look alike. We work together, and we usually think along the same lines. However, the other day there was trouble in paradise and our usual "know-what-the-other-person-is-thinking" communication was completely out of sync. For instance, we both walked into a store— him to get a haircut and me to go pick something up. The agreement was that when we were done we would meet in the car. Only when I finished my shopping quickly and went out to the car, both he and the car we’re gone! (Shocking, I know!).
Apparently, they couldn’t cut his hair, and when I didn’t answer my phone he decided to leave me there and go someplace that could cut his hair! Honestly, I never heard the phone ring. Then when I tried to call him to see when he was coming back (and of course, yell at him for leaving me there) his phone wasn’t working and he never picked up. Trust me, it was not a pleasant conversation as we drove to the next spot. A few hours later he dropped me off at another spot for a quick run in and pick up. As I left the store I heard this annoying honking sound filling the parking lot. All I could think was “Who is being so rude to keep honking their horn in a public place?” Well, it wasn’t long before I realized it wasn’t just random honking. It was actually Jamie honking the horn at me to keep me from getting into another person‘s car.
Unfortunately I didn’t realize this until I was actually trying to get into the other car. That’s what I realize the honking wasn’t rude it was actually trying to keep me from making a fool of myself. (P.S. it didn’t work.) Instead, we provided the entertainment for everyone in the parking lot who is watching the ordeal of the obnoxious honking man and the crazy lady who got into the wrong car. Later on that night as I was reliving the events of the day (as any good INFJ personality would) I started thinking about how much this incident is a lot like what occurs in our spiritual lives. Think about it: How often do we determine what course we’re going to take? We get our eyes on where we want to go and how we can get there.
Meanwhile God is throwing distractions and signs and signals and thoughts our way saying “Don’t do this— it is the wrong thing to do."
Yet, instead of heeding the signals, we get annoyed with them and wonder why they are frustrating our plans. All along God isn’t trying to frustrate us, He’s actually trying to keep us from doing the wrong thing and get us back on the right path. Maybe you’re a better person than me, but I have to admit this is happened to me far too many times. And it is never God’s fault. It’s not that He isn’t trying to communicate— it’s that I’m simply not taking the time to listen. But oh, how much heartache could we save ourselves if we would just take the time to stop and listen. If only we would delay reacting in frustration when God tries to change our path but rather respond with humility and ask “What are you trying to tell me?” How much better our lives would be! So I guess this weeks challenge simple: The next time you feel your plans are being frustrated, you’re receiving advice contrary to what you want to hear, or you just feel that nudging of the Holy Spirit saying “Maybe this isn’t right”—-rather than becoming annoyed and plowing through to get your own way, take a moment to listen.
Find your personal prayer closet and ask God if He is trying to speak to you. Take a few quiet moments and just listen to what He has to say. They say communication is the most important part of any relationship. This is true even if I relationship with God. It’s so important that we take the time to ask, to listen, to be quiet and hear what God has to say to us. Whether He be speaking in a still small voice or trying to stop us like an obnoxious honking horn saying “Don’t go this way”, our job is to be in tune with Him and listen as He leads our paths. Just something I’m learning.
If you would like to learn tips for how to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, read Finding Healing.