Identity Found in God
The Shepherd and the Sheep
~ The Shepherd
~ The Sheep
~ The Voice of the Shepherd
~ The Art of Listening
~ The Lost Sheep
~ The Path
~ Living as His Sheep
The Art of Listening
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27
I can remember when our three older children were all in that toddler stage – around 1, 2 and 4 years old. Much of this season is a bit of a blur, but there are moments that stand out clearly. Generally speaking, our house was – ok IS – full of…well...let’s just say, full of sweet noise. There were times, in the midst of the loud toys, sibling squabbles, pretend play and giggles, when I wanted them to hear something I had to say. I would try my best to speak in a way that would break through the chaos. When that failed, my next strategy was to clear my throat, and throw out the command, “Listen to me…”Sometimes that would work, and, well, sometimes not. Now at this point, a parent has a choice – to get louder, or to get closer. Apparently, the tactic of getting closer had been observed by my precious impressionable little ones. How did I know? It was evident when in the midst of some chaos, plus getting dinner ready and laundry done, I felt two pudgy little hands on my cheeks. My attention was won over and I looked straight into those big brown toddler eyes as I heard, “Mommy, wook at me…wisten to me…” A step in discovering the art of listening!
Have you ever been talking to someone and you can just tell they are not listening to a word you were saying? How frustrating. There is definitely an art to true listening.
As I consider the concept of how a sheep listens to the shepherd, how we should listen to God, I find a challenge. If we have a difficult time being still enough, focused enough to listen to someone we can see and touch, someone sitting right beside us, how do we do at listening to God? By definition, listening is give attention to the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; or to take notice of and act on what was said…or make an effort to hear something; be alert and ready to hear something.
Listening is an active activity. As sheep, how do we position ourselves to listen, or hear our shepherd’s voice, and how do we listen and act on what we heard? I don’t know about you, but it’s difficult to listen when other noise is going on. I get distracted. My mind wanders. How do we listen to the voice of God? In the midst of chaos, busyness, the noises of life, what can we do to give attention closely for the purpose of hearing His voice? I almost think we need to carry with us an imaginary remote, and push mute. Finding a way, a time in the day to step away and focus on God’s voice.
I picture Jesus and His disciples. I imagine there were times when Jesus was convinced they weren’t listening to a word He was saying. And then there was the Transfiguration. Peter, James and John and Jesus – oh – and Elijah and Moses…All of a sudden the Father intervenes, “a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him” God’s way of placing His hands on their cheeks and getting their attention! How is God attempting to get your attention? Take some time to sit with your shepherd and listen. Make an effort. Take action. Be ready to hear what He has to say to you.
Listen for Him by tuning your ear toward Him. Listen for Him in a song. Listen for Him in your prayers and quiet time. Listen for Him through a conversation with someone. Listen for Him as you soak up the nature around you. Listen for Him in the midst of your joy. Listen for Him in the stormy winds. Lean in and listen for Him as you turn a corner, seeking direction ….SShhhh…Listen….Feel His hands on your precious cheeks as He gazes into your eyes….Be still and know….He is God.
Spend time listening. Write down what you hear your Shepherd saying to you.