Sunday, January 9, 2011

How to Hear God Speaking to You

My church has a women’s program called “The Well”. It is a quarterly dinner with a program of some type of spiritual focus. I went as a new member guest several months ago. It was OK, but a little too rah-rah cheerleader type meeting – that’s not my personal style. This time the speaker was our associate pastor, a woman who I admire for her humor, grounding in reality and wisdom about spiritual concepts. I knew from listening to her preach and reading her free lance columns in the local newspaper that I could trust her program to be inspiring so I decided to go & invite a few friends. I just threw out an email invitation and was surprised that so many said yes. I brought 2 tables of people and prayed that I would not regret dragging them with me. Actually they all came with enthusiasm while I was the one who was skeptical. This is the scripture that I found to send to Cindy, our pastor, in my thank you note to her. Philemon 1:7 "...the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you." Not meaning that I consider my friends and myself to be saints - you understand.

One thing that really stuck with me from her “talk” was her explanation of how you discern God speaking to you - repetition of a theme. Oh, so that's it! I'm a fairly smart person and I try to listen to God but I never thought of myself as a slow learner who needs a lot of repetition for understanding to sink in...I started to think about observation, awareness and here's my short story. I had recently read a book, Speaking the Truth in Love, and was superficially impressed with a chapter about showing appreciation. Then in the next few days, the principal of my school sent out an email about a change in the school schedule one day to teach a lesson to middle schoolers about gratitude. Well, I was not thrilled to have that unexpected responsibility thrown at me - can't I just teach them about math like I was hired to do? And then when the copies of little gratitude feathers showed up in my mailroom box and they looked like little penises I knew I really could not in good faith hand those out to 8th graders. I am balking at this noble idea! Then I came to The Well and heard the singer presenting this concept of gratitude - enough already? Then Cindy told the story about her Mamaw holding her face and telling her that she that she was “rich,rich,rich” in love from her family, friends and God’s blessings. I went home to find my husband asleep in his chair with a football game going on in background of his dreams. Since he was not in the mood for a conversation, I opened my computer to email & Facebook. He had sent me an email while I was gone with a clip from the old Dean Martin TV show. Guess what I saw - John Wayne saying that what he wanted for his daughter was for her to be grateful, to learn The Lord's Prayer and the Psalms. Ok, God, it took awhile, but I do now get your message. I need to show gratitude. BTW, when I left school yesterday, I stopped by my principal's office to share this story & guess what she was doing? Changing the little penis designs to cutouts that really looked like feathers and stewing over how to gracefully do a penis recall on Monday without offending the original designer. I was so appreciative!

Also my friends who came were all touched in specific, personal ways - you wouldn't believe the wisdom they were posting & sharing on Facebook! One is only 29 yrs. old & when the topic of Cindy’s message turned to Aging, I turned to her and said to be patient & bear with us older ones - she said that this was the exact topic she needed because of her upcoming 30th birthday and her worries of what she is expected to do with her life. Another told me about her worries about her changing relationship with her aging mother. And so on, and so on. We all agreed that we had received an "emotional massage" at the Thurs. meeting. I was glad to share those hours with a few good friends and a whole room of other women receiving words of truth and encouragement.

So if you’re ever wondering how to know what God is personally saying to you, be observant; make yourself aware of repetitive themes that keep coming up in your every day life – sooner or later you will get it!

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