Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. ~Deuteronomy 13:4 NLT
Has God ever taken your plan and said no when yes was hoped for or yes when no was expected? After planning this Holiday Wellness Plan post, God showed me a new plan. Maybe you saw my devotion published by Proverbs 31 Ministries this week. In it, I shared how I began listening more intently to God during a difficult season of my life. The lessons I learned then I’m still learning today.
That devotion was all God. The opportunity came not only from me but others listening to God. The writing, while emotional, came by listening to God. I gained so much perspective looking back at how God moved in my life and then writing about it. Being published this week, the anniversary week of Mom’s passing and amid new family losses was no accident either. Then, I read comments on how the words God gave me to write helped others and again was amazed at His plan.
Originally, I had another word planned for the L in our HOLIDAY acronym this week. But God had a different plan and clearly the word for this week is listen. L is for Listen.
We all make holiday plans. We plan parties, menus, gifts, cookies, crafts, travel, concerts-the list is endless. You name it; we plan it for the holidays. But where in all of this is the true meaning-the ‘reason for the season’? Often it gets lost amid the glitter, gold and gifts. In order to truly Give Thanks and honor our Redeemer’s Birth this holiday season, we must first listen TO Him.
God speaks to us daily and in each season; we just need to listen. Listen to what He’s saying in the Bible, our lives, our body, mind and what He’s speaking to our heart and soul.
When we sense God speaking, even if it flies against what we want, we need to listen. When seasons of life change and what we’ve always done isn’t possible or healthy, we need to listen. When bad habits keep recycling, we need to listen. When loved ones point out our stress or we feel it ourselves, we need to listen. And when we don’t have enough time to do, be or say what matters most, we need to listen.
But how? Listening to God may involve stepping out of our comfort zone. It may mean letting go of something we want to hold close, or grabbing onto something new and unknown.
- Open up the Bible and read. Search for what He’s trying to say to just you. God says if we seek Him we will find Him. But we must first seek by reading the Bible.
- Pray and listen to His reply. God always answers our prayers; we just may not like the answer. Sometimes it’s yes or no but sometimes it’s wait. I think wait is the hardest answer. It’s living in limbo. We know He has a good plan for us we just don’t know when or how or maybe even what yet. That’s when faith comes in.
- Walk in the faith He gives. We rest in the knowledge His plan for us is greater than we can ever come up with. Faith is listening by showing up, reading, worshipping, and praying.
- Listen to trusted voices-Christian leaders, family or caring friends. I’m most often around kids and older adults both of whom are sometimes more blunt in their assessments and comments. This breathes fresh insight into my sometimes stale thoughts. They can see what I cannot. It’s often helpful and how God speaks to me at times.
- Listen to our bodies and learn. If we are having aches and pains, gaining or losing weight without trying, can’t sleep, remember or are negative in word or action with others or ourselves, it may be God speaking. Listening to the physical clues He provides can lend valuable insight into habits, triggers or physical issues God is telling us to address.
The holiday season is bearing down like an oncoming train. It’s increasingly difficult to hear His still small voice over holiday hoopla. But we need to find time and quiet to hear Him. Seeking, listening and following His voice from small things to those that seem impossible has led me to the most meaningful people, things, experiences and moments in my life. Try it.
Be still, know and listen for His voice and His plan for your holidays and beyond.
Linking up with Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragement, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart, Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus, Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth and Crystal Twaddell at #FreshMarketFriday