Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Listen!


Jeremiah 30:2
"This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:  'Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.'"

I'm also convinced that listening to God is not unlike writing:  if I were to wait to write until inspiration struck, I would write practically nothing.  But if I chain myself to my desk every morning at 8:00 a. m. and start typing something - anything - inspiration has a way of unexpectedly pulling up a chair.  ~Adam S. McHugh, The Listening Life

I am fortunate to be a part of an online book club hosted by friend and fellow blogger, Linda Stoll.  Our latest read, The Listening Life, by Adam S. McHugh, has proved to be nothing less than sensational; it has given me an entirely new perspective about how I'm listening, or shamefully, not listening to those around me.  It's not your typical okay-I've-read-this-let's-move-on inspirational book.  No!  It's one I'll return to time and time again to review and assess the ways in which I'm practicing the art of listening well, not only to people, but to God Himself.

While I've highlighted many memorable passages in The Listening Life, the one quoted above grabs my attention faster than flashing blue lights in my rear view mirror.  It reflects the countless hours when God's Holy Spirit pulls up a chair next to me as I write my novels.  Am I instantly aware of His presence?  No, not at first, but as the days and weeks roll by, and the stories begin to unfold, I find myself rereading the words penned, and wondering, not without a profound sense of awe:  "Where did that come from?"

It is then, in a lightning strike of revelation, I know.  Beyond any doubt, beyond any dismissal, I know!  I am simultaneously humbled and elated; so breathlessly excited that I look forward to the next round of writing with ecstatic anticipation.  The minute I "chain" myself to the computer, I offer this invitation:  "Lord, what would you have me write today?"  And God never lets me down.

And I realize, in reading McHugh's work, that what I am engaged with in my writing is a profound submission to God's will.  I'm listening to Him on the deepest possible level without even being conscious of it.  I am surrendering my gifts to Him that He might use them to further His kingdom and His glory.  What could be better than that?

NOTHING!

And friends, all of you reading this have God-given gifts.  Maybe you are blessed to know what they are, or perhaps, you're still waiting to discover them.  I have one word of advice:  Listen!

Sit quietly with the Lord.  Let Him speak to your heart.  Allow Him to reveal Himself to you with an intimacy unlike any other.  Humble yourself.  Submit.

Become one with Him.

Listen!

Amen!


28 comments:

  1. It's been a life-changing read, hasn't it ... I'm so glad you're sharing what we've been chatting about with your friends and fans, Martha!

    And it's not too late to join the party!

    ;-)

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    1. Yes, Linda, this has been a life-changing read, that's for sure! So happy to share the fun here. Who knows? Maybe we will drum up some more takers.
      Love and blessings!

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    1. And again, I say, "Amen!"
      Love and blessings, Mary!

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  3. I used to run courses in listening. Listening is difficult, because it requires concentration, hearing, analysing what is said, thinking how to react and reply, watching for body language, emotions, seating position and so many other signs from the one speaking.

    Listening to God is even more difficult; because He does not often speak in plain English so you could understand.

    As for writing ... yes, I often re-read what I wrote weeks previously and ask "Did I really write this?" Especially when it is a Christian post, article or book.

    You know, that's probably how the early prophets of the Old Testament felt. They didn't wake up one morning and say, "I know ... I'll write about God!" Someone up there, their Creator, inspired them on what to write and say.

    Sorry to go on for so long, Martha.

    God bless.

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    1. Victor, I had no idea you once taught courses in listening. You probably could have written this book!
      And no, you certainly didn't go on too long - what you've shared here is priceless. I'm so glad to know I'm not alone in asking, "Did I really write this?" We know the Source, that's for sure.
      Love and blessings!

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    2. When I was in management I designed, and ran, various courses on listening, writing skills, other managerial skills, computing and health and safety and risk assessments controls. I had to give many talks on such subjects.

      You're not alone, Martha. God inspires people to write about Him. It is our mission in life.

      God bless.

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    3. Amen, Victor! It is our mission, as writers, to write for Him no matter what. By the way, I'm currently enjoying To Love a Priest so very much. Will be sure to give it a review on Amazon, too!

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  4. Martha, I think we can all benefit from becoming better listeners. Thank you for this book recommendation.

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    1. You are so welcome, Beckie! Before reading this, I thought I was a pretty good listener, but learned I have quite a way to go.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. I love this message today...yes, this is often what I do when I sit down at my computer to write...I pray and ask the Lord to direct my thoughts and words and to speak through me, because in myself I am not able to speak what needs to be said to those who are out there hurting and waiting to hear from the Lord. You are a blessed and gifted writer, and I feel very privileged to be here listening to the Lord through your message. God bless you dear friend, and please keep listening!! Because we are listening too!!

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    1. Oh, Pamela, I am overwhelmed by the kindness and love in your words here! My prayer is that God will continue to use both of us to spread the Good News of His kingdom through our writing, and touch the hearts of those who need to know Jesus. I know you always bless me with your posts. And it is the best thing you could ever do before beginning to write, to simply pray. The Lord is listening; may we always listen to Him.
      Love and blessings!

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  6. YES! Communication is not a one-sided activity. Listening is so important and I believe most of us would benefit from reading the book you highlighted here. Thank you.

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    1. Terri, I've found this to be one of the best resources concerning the art of listening I've ever read. So often, we think we are listening when all we're doing is waiting to get the next word out. I know I was convicted more than once as I read McHugh's words.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Beautifully written and much needed. I teach a prayer course and this is one thing that I stress regularly. Learning to listen is key to answered prayer.

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    1. Thank you so much, Carol, for your kind words! And you are so right - listening IS the key to answered prayer.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. I plan to read this one soon. Listening well is a great gift!
    Blessings, My Friend!

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    1. Listening is the gift that keeps on giving, Lulu. It's power can never be underestimated.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Martha, the book you've mentioned sounds most interesting. Listening is such an important skill in many areas of life: teaching, counseling, music, and more. Most important is slowing down and taking the time to listen to God speak.

    Learning to listen and listen well takes time and practice--we practiced listening skills in the counseling classes I've taken and talk about LISTENING in ear training and sight singing! :)

    No matter what area of life, we need to quiet our entire beings to be able to listen well, fully attentive to what we're hearing.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Yes, Kim, it's all in the quieting within, quelling that "need" to speak first, be first, etc. Just sit back, relax, and let our ears do the talking.
      Love and blessings!

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  10. It's so amazing to know that our Father's spirit is with all of us who strive to serve Him in our creative process. That's gift enough in and of itself, but then He grants the gratification from endeavoring through the process.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful gift of words and encouragement!

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    1. You are so welcome, Floyd! Yes, our Father is the Creator of All, and since we are made in His image, it makes perfect sense that we would connect most deeply with Him during the creative process. May God keep on blessing your writing, my friend!
      Love and blessings!

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  11. My word of the year one year was listen. I'm at a place in my life right now where I see that I need to put this word front and center again. Thanks for the reminder. And that sounds like a great book.

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    1. Yes, I think you would love this book, Galen, and I do hope you'll decide to read it. You won't be disappointed! Ooh! Maybe my word for next year should be "listen."
      Love and blessings!

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  12. Sounds like a book I need to read. I felt just today God opening a surprise door for me. Need to discern if this is truth or my ego - and listening is exactly what I need to do. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Jean, it can sometimes be a precarious place when we sit between our egos and God's will for our lives. This book did, and will continue to do, lift so many listening roadblocks from my life. As I've said in previous comments and in the post itself, it's one of the most important and valuable reads I've ever encountered.
      Love and blessings!

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