Hearing from God

12:23 PMHeather

Tis the season.  Decking the halls.  Mailing the cards.  Shopping for gifts.  Making your lists.  Filling your calendar with Christmas activities.  Bells ringing.  Carolers singing.  Busy, busy, busy.  The hustle and bustle of Christmas.  

Christmas.  Unfortunately, like many of you, it's become synonamous with a flurry of expectations and tasks and frenzy.

Christmas.  How we all lose sight of that fact that what it's really about is when God Came NearEmmanuel.  God with us.  It's a celebration of when the heavens parted and God dared to walk among us, wrapped in fragile flesh, with a mission no one could fathom.  God's love poured out in sacrifice.  But, first, there had to come the baby.

This advent season, I've chosen to read through Max Lucado's book God Came Near.   On the second day, I found this nugget of truth that convicted me to the core.

Their night watch had been interrupted 
by an explosion of light from heaven and
a symphony of angels.  GOD GOES TO
THOSE WHO HAVE TIME TO
HEAR HIM--so on this cloudless night
he went to simple shepherds.

Oh, many of us want to hear from God.  We want an audible voice and a symphony of angels to tell us which job to apply for, which college to choose, how to parent our children, which path to take, where to find help.  We want that explosion of light from heaven--we are jealous of these shepherds who heard so clearly from God.

But, how often do we sit in the quiet and wait?  How often do we allow ourselves to be still?  How trained are we in the discipline of stillness?  How long do we allow for our day to be free of distractions?  

Be still and know that I 
am God.
Psalm 46:10

It's an often quoted verse.  And, oh yes, we sit for our twenty minute devotional a few times a week or for an hour on Sundays and we nod pleasantly and pat ourselves on the back on how we met God.

But, personally, I'm coming to realize it's not enough.  Especially in this season of excess, I lose sight all too easily of soaking in the real purpose for the season.  I am realizing just how much I need to learn to have time to hear Him.  Not boxed into a little square on my day planner.  But, a life with enough margins and enough discipline to be ready at all times to set the worries of this world aside and quiet myself for however long it takes.  To set the smart phone aside.  Abandon Pinterest and Facebook and busy schedules and perfect the discipline of sitting quietly.  Stilling my mind.  Emptying my agenda so that I might really hear from God.   Awaking early--even if I'm not a morning person.  Simply because that unrushed time with the Lord is more paramount to my natural bents.  Turning off the radio in the car in order to pray aloud when I'm alone.  Even if the person in the car next to me thinks I'm crazy.  Leaving the television off in favor of diving into the Word and praying for a hunger and thirst for simply more of Him, above all else.  

Glimpse of GRACEWe can live this life for Him, a faithful follower, and never push beyond the good-enough quick devotional and regular church attendance.  And many, both inside and outside our faith, would applaud our devotion.  But, is it enough?  Are there depths of His love and His grace and His character that we've left undiscovered because we never pushed for more?  Is there a deeper soul connection and life changing encounters of intimacy with our God that we've missed because we boxed ourselves in to the time we could "afford" to grant to Him daily?  Oh, how I long for more.  How I pray for Him to help my unbelief that I might press and push and fight for more and realize how unsatisfied I am.  That I would hunger for deepest depths of encountering Him, that I would perfect the discipline of stilling myself and chucking off the world's distractions so that I could be like Mary, simply sitting at the feet of Jesus, drinking in His presence.  That I would learn to quit being Martha, busy with tasks in the kitchen, and all the while my Savior waits nearby simply to connect with me.  

May we all learn to have time to hear from Him.  And be changed by His presence when he ushers in fresh insight and intimacy to meet with us there, undistracted and unhurried.  May we all carve out the time to be still this Christmas season and in awe, worship the God who is with us.

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