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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