Listening for God’s Voice – Trust is Foundational

     The past couple posts have been about listening on a spiritual level, what I’ve entitled A Magnificent Obsession: Listening for God’s Voice.


     When I became committed to learning to listen for God’s voice, I realized two beliefs must be foundational:

  1. I must believe God loves me—really truly loves me.
  2. I must believe in the pit of my soul that God is trustworthy.

     A recent incident between our youngest grandchild and my husband illustrates.

     The other day we needed to make a quick stop at our daughter’s home. Immediately, our 2-year-old grandson wanted Grandpa Ron to read him a book. Before Reeve selected the ‘just-right’ book from his rather extensive toddler library, Ron left to chat with our son-in-law, who was working in the garage.

     When Reeve realized his grandpa was no longer in the room, he pointed the chosen book toward the garage, crying pitifully, Paaa-pa, Paaa-pa.

     “Here, Honey, Grandma will read the book to you,” I offered. But, Reeve was insistent.

     “NO!”

     “PA PA!”

     I opened the door leading to the garage and told Ron I thought he needed to come back and read to his grandson before we left for our next stop. My husband re-entered the house, gathered the little red-haired toddler onto his lap, and for several minutes the two bonded while reading all about cars, trucks, boats and airplanes.

     This sweet moment wasn’t monumental, but I believe it may have been an incident in which trust was built between a loving grandfather and his miniature grandson.

     I thought about little Reeve and Ron this morning when I was getting ready for my day and couldn’t find one of my favorite earrings. The small pearl studs, a gift from Ron a few years ago, are my go-to favorites whenever I pull my hair into a ponytail—like when I go to the gym—or need to run a quick errand on my day off.

     I’m quite fond of those earrings and felt upset because I couldn’t locate one of them even after moving almost everything off the bathroom counter; shaking the throw rug in front of the counter; and checking my jewelry box.

     Still, no earring!

     That’s when I stopped and prayed—this grandmother’s version of crying pitifully, Paaa-pa.

God, I know one little pearl earring isn’t very important. But, I really like those earrings. Would you please help me find the one that’s missing?

     After my prayer, I returned to the bathroom, moved slightly the handle of a brush—apparently, one of the items I hadn’t moved earlier—and there it was—my little pearl stud earring!

     Considering the natural disasters, worldwide hunger, poverty, violence, destruction and heartache going on in this world, my grown-up logical mind could easily reason God wouldn’t possibly care about my one puny, unimportant earring.

     I’ve learned through many years of asking and seeking, though, that God does care. God doesn’t care because there’s anything unique or special about me. God cares because that’s who God is. Caring is woven into God’s very character.

     I know my understanding of God’s ways is about as great as Reeve understanding why it was important for his grandfather to cease an interesting adult conversation to read him a toddler’s board book.

     Here’s something of which I am quite certain. Every time a child like our grandson is shown he or she matters to a significant adult, the child’s trust in that adult grows.

     And, every time I come as a little child to God with a small request and receive an answer, my trust in a God who’s good, who cares and who listens grows.

     Once again, I invite you to pass along your stories of how you’ve learned to listen for God’s voice in your journey of faith.

Blessings on our journey of listening…

Sue Reeve

Reeve and big sister Emmi having fun at the park with Grandpa Ron. I love that Reeve’s one little uncovered ear illustrates his Grandma’s ‘listening-themed’ post!

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Spiritual Listening: What Does it Look Like?

     Today’s Listening on YOUR Journey -post is a continuation of an earlier discussion of what I called A Magnificent Obsession: Listening for God’s Voice.

     One of my litmus tests for spiritual listening is: Does the voice I believe I heard line up with truth I know from scripture? The experience I’m sharing with you today illustrates how God spoke to me in a most practical—as well as corrective—way through a familiar Bible verse.

     I’m a visual learner, and probably many of you reading this post fall into that same category since it’s estimated approximately 65 percent of the population are visual learners.[1]

     My primary learning style often surfaces as I read the Bible. A frequent prayer goes something like this: “Okay, God, I believe this is true, but would you please show me, what does this look like in my everyday life?”

     The Tuesday before Thanksgiving this year, I did some last-minute Costco shopping. The place was crazy busy, and I had to park at the far end of the lot. Rain poured from dark clouds as I walked into the superstore, which was packed with other last-minute holiday shoppers—a spattering of whom seemed quite grumpy.

     While walking into the store from the car, I recalled a time when I asked God the what does that look like… practical prayer question years earlier after reading a familiar verse found in Luke 6:31. Jesus said:

Do unto others as you would like them to do to you.

     The same day I asked God the question concerning Luke 6:31, I’d also made a trip to Costco. While shopping that particular day, I picked up a product, which later I determined wasn’t necessary. When I realized my error—naturally, on the far side of the store—I started to act as I’d been accustomed. Rather than returning the unwanted item to where I’d found it originally, I set it down on the nearest shelf.

Do unto others as you’d like them to do to you.

     The gentle prodding in my spirit was unmistakable. For the first time an awareness dawned that my action meant some employee would need to pick up my mistake. I realized if I were that employee, I would appreciate a considerate customer who accepted responsibility for dealing with her own wrong decision.

     So…I wheeled my cart to the other side of the store and delivered the unwanted product to its proper home.

     When it was time to take my cart of goods to my car, again I was reminded of another careless practice—not returning my empty cart to the designated location.

Do unto others as you’d like them to do to you.

     This time I thought about young employees who brave all types of weather to gather up empty shopping carts. This reminded me of my own children and some of the entry-level positions in which they’d worked.

     So…I returned my cart to the empty-shopping-cart corral, realizing, That’s the kind of consideration I’d like shown to my kids.

     Good grocery store etiquette may not be a spiritual discipline, but for me, returning an unwanted item to the right spot or returning an empty cart to the proper location became an act of spiritual obedience.

     The listening lesson I learned from this experience is that obedience to the voice of the Spirit in a small act—like returning an unwanted item or my empty cart at the grocery store—makes it easier to discern future spiritual listening experiences.

     A second realization is that this was a lesson God custom designed for me to learn. Because I feel this is right behavior God desires from me—applicable even on a rainy day in late November 2017—God may not be speaking in the same way to one of my fellow faith sojourners. My role as a spiritual listener is to listen to the divine voice spoken to me, obey and not to judge others.

     What about you? Has God spoken to you in a unique way? I’d love to hear about it!

Blessings on your Listening journey…

Sue Reeve

  1. visualteachingalliance.com/

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A Magnificent Obsession: Listening for God’s Voice…

     I found the book, Magnificent Obsession, a novel written in the late 1920’s by Lloyd C. Douglas, at a yard sale more than 20 years ago. The story is about a wealthy playboy whose near-death experience lead him to re-evaluate his personal priorities. As a result, the trajectory of his life journey was altered dramatically. It was a great read about the power of redemption.

     What fascinated me more than the story, however, was the title of the book, Magnificent Obsession.

    Magnificent: making a splendid appearance or show; extraordinarily fine; superb:

     Obsession: the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc. [1]
     For over 10 years, my personal ‘magnificent obsession’ has been to hear the voice of The Spirit speak into my profoundly ordinary human spirit. I’m not certain when nor why the gnawing desire to hear God’s voice in personal, authentic, unmistakable ways began, but I do know it’s a desire that only intensifies with time.

     The name of my blog, Listening on the Journey… was birthed from this ‘obsession.’ If you’ve been reading my posts for any length of time, you probably recognize a frequent ‘listening’ theme keeps popping up. Learning how to hear and discern more clearly God’s voice is the primary reason I was motivated recently to begin working with a Spiritual Director.

     I find this journey of listening to the voice of the Divine fascinating!

     My intelligence quotient probably falls within the normal range. While I’m not overly intelligent, I am extraordinarily curious, and I love learning (what I LOVE to learn, which is not math, most science and nearly all computer technology!).

     At this stage of my life journey, what I desire most to learn is that which will cause me—as well as those whose lives intersect with mine—to look for God in our ‘moments,’ and to become better acquainted with God’s character and ways.

     Every cell in me believes God is good and desires good for me—and for you. Even though my belief is strong, I won’t deny the journey of faith is often mystifying. God’s ways seem to be filled with much perplexing paradox. As I’ve admitted before, most of the time, I have more God-questions than God-answers.

     Because of my normal intellect coupled with what may be an ‘abnormal’ curiosity, I love to seek out the perspective of people I believe are smarter and further along in their faith journey than I, which is the reason I recently purchased—and just last night began reading—Mark Batterson’s latest book, Whisper…How to Hear the Voice of God. I’ve always found Batterson’s books are readable and relevant. I appreciated what he says in the Prologue: “Let me make a bold statement…Learning how to hear the voice of God is the solution to a thousand problems! It’s also the key to discovering our destiny and fulfilling our potential.[2]

     Solutions to my life problems?

          Discovering my destiny?

               Fulfilling my potential?

                  This all sounds pretty good to me!

     If you, like me, desire to learn to be a better listener to the voice of God, you might want to get a copy of this book. And, I hope you’ll take time to read several upcoming blog posts about my own adventure of learning to listen to the voice of the Divine. Until then…

Even though we’re a few days beyond Thanksgiving, I’d like to say again how thankful I am for you…

Sue Reeve

  1. http://www.dictionary.com
  2. Batterson, Mark, Whisper, How to Hear the Voice of God, (Multnoma, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York), 2

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