In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey wrote,
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
We are so quick to interrupt our own lives. Add to the lists, pile on more work, more jobs, more stuff, more things to do…
And what do we want to hear from God? We even put that in a box and frame his answers, give him a timeline and a set of expectations. We don’t listen to God with the intent to understand, be taught and lead, surprised and challenged. We want answers, bullet points, miracles, directions.
And in the background, in the silence, in his presence, God is speaking.
Much of the time we walk through life as if we have earplugs in. What you hear doesn’t correlate with where you are or what you’re seeing or what you’re feeling. This opens up a dissonance between experience and intuition, our ‘sixth sense’. We know that there is something more going on, but we’re not able to put our finger on it. Life is busy, there are things to do, places to go, stuff to work out… So we turn up the music, change the song, and search for the frequency of that distant rumble we think we can hear… or, we try to forget the ‘sense of more’ and we turn the music up.
We need to take the earplugs out. Not change the song. Not adjust the volume. But switch it off completely and tune into our lives.
“Taking your children to school and kissing your wife goodbye. Eating lunch with a friend. Trying to do a decent day’s work. Hearing the rain patter against the window. There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not to recognize him, but all the more fascinatingly because of that, all the more compellingly and hauntingly. . . If I were called upon to state in a few words the essence of everything I was trying to say both as a novelist and as a preacher, it would be something like this: Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
God is speaking to you smack bang, right in the middle of your own life.
When you hear that voice, the sound you can feel, even just a little, through the muck and mess and glory of life, turn aside and pay attention.