Sunday, July 26, 2015

Learning to Listen

Last week at this time, I was packed into a jeep with my husband and our good friends, along with a car load filled-to-the-brim with anything and everything we might possibly need on our  camping trip in the U.P. I can't help but smile as I think back. Life stood still for a few days, and it was glorious, but all good things must come to an end. This week, life resumed as normal and the everyday has brought new challenges, victories, defeats, joys, and lessons. 

So many things. 

I am convinced that the Lord had the placement of our trip planned out in His time. He knew what I would come home to, He knew what my heart needed in order to prepare for the days ahead. 

He always knows. Always. 

Our time away was brilliant. I can remember having to stop myself several times, to give thanks and praise for the good. At moments I would be so filled with joy I thought I might just explode into a million joy-filled pieces. I don't know how else to describe it to you other than there are no words to explain just how life-giving our time away was. 

As we made our way home, lamenting that our vacation would in fact be over by the time our wheels hit the edge of the driveway, I had a few quiet moments to really reflect on What I felt the Lord doing in my heart. You see, whenever nature is involved I seem to inherit extra amounts of "take aways" and perspective. So, as I looked out the car window into the fields, I whispered to my mind to make like my heart and quiet down completely, and then I began to listen

Soon I would discover that the very act of  listening would be the thing I was looking to savor. 

As I traveled back through my memories of the trip, I rested on this one afternoon in particular. I was sitting outside and I remember shutting down all of my swirling thoughts so that I could hear the sounds of nature. It began slowly at first and then, as if I had entered a world of another kind, I began to pick up and take notice of all the many distinct noises around me. The happy tunes of some birds and the cries of others, the waves crashing onto shore, the foot steps of fellow campers, the hums of the bugs, the laughter of my friends, and the leaves of the trees rustling in the wind. 

I was in awe. 

Many of these sounds surround me on any given day, and yet I hustle right by them, to rushed to take notice, to listen.  

There is something sacred that happens when we listen, earnestly and genuinely. We learn things about our surroundings and the surroundings of others. When we take our listening ear with us, our days become filled with the joys, hurts, longings, and brokenness of the people we do life with. The strangers we encounter and the child who is seeking. 

I desire to be a listener. The reality is that all too often I am content to be a hearer only. When I choose to just  hear, life's noises lose their sacredness; they become annoying and tiresome to me. But when I choose to listen, oh what a beautiful thing it can be. I can see into the hearts around me, and act out of compassion instead of frustration. The kind of compassion that only comes from above. I am so thankful that God doesn't merely hear me, instead he listens out of the depths of love. 

Time away is good. It is necessary. I am grateful for the laughter and the fun, so grateful; but especially for the lesson in listening. I think we all desire to be heard and known. Who needs your listening ear today? You might just be surprised at what you hear, if you tune your ears to station of listen. 

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