Who Are You Going to Listen To?

be stillI received some interesting responses to my blog post from last week. Seems like there are many people who want to discover their ‘salt and light’ and use them for the betterment of society. Let’s face it, we all want to make a difference in the world.

But there’s another piece of this puzzle. Not only is it important for us to recognize the gifts we’ve been given, but we also need to know where to use them. Sometimes this question is even more important.We’ve all heard stories of now-famous actors who started out in their careers in some questionable roles where all they were trying to do was to pay for their next meal or get that big break. Inevitably, these choices almost always came back to haunt them.

What did they do wrong? Why did they struggle to find that perfect role where their acting abilities could be appreciated and land them a regular paycheck? Here’s my theory. Instead of being patient and trusting that they’d be presented with this opportunity in due time, they acted out of fear or desperation resulting in some really bad decisions. They were led by their head and not their heart.

Ho Ho Ho. It’s the Green Giant!

Ahh – the ego. Or shall I say EGO? It’s the subject in all the newsfeeds these days as we watch those in our government over exercise this muscle on a regular basis. In some respects you can’t blame them. Over-inflated egos have resulted in much of the chaos in our world today as we all strive to be better than everyone else or keep up with the Joneses. And guess what? We are teaching our kids to do the same thing.Our kids are kept so busy with activities that they never have a moment’s rest to pay attention to anything other than that Jolly Green Giant voice in their heads. What would serve them better is to be still and listen for another voice.

Now, I am not saying we need to throw logic and reason out the window when we make big (or small) decisions. God gave us an intellect for a purpose. He wanted us to use it to discern right from wrong. He wanted us to use it in conjunction with that inner voice where He speaks to us. Head and heart together – a partnership, much like the one He desires to have with us and no different than the one you want to have with your children.

That Still Small Voice

In the past few years, I’ve learned to recognize this partnership as my life-blood in getting through the days as a single mom. This has been a gradual change from my former habits. When I first started on this journey some fourteen years ago, my sole purpose was to become Supermom and so I rejected any offer of assistance I received – much to my detriment.

jolly green giant

After that behavior started to wear me out, I realized that I did need help and began to slowly ask for it. It amazed me how generous some people were whether it was offers to carpool my kids or just give me a much-needed night out. I began to feel the pressures and stress of single parenthood subside slightly.

Then, I took it a step further and began to include God in my requests for help. (I’m a late bloomer!) Almost immediately, the overwhelm and frustration of daily life were lifted and I soon realized that starting my day without time with God was akin to insanity.

Today I strive to keep God front and center in my life throughout the day. From starting out with my morning prayers to setting reminders on my phone to reading uplifting books that keep me centered and open to His voice.

My children know this about me. They know of my faith and my spiritual practices and while they may think their mom is slightly wack-a-doodle at times, my actions are slowly making a difference in their lives. Not long ago, my son asked me how he could hear from God. “How do you know it’s Him talking and not your own voice?”

Ahh – the question of the century! I struggled with this myself for a while until I made this very simple request of God. I shared this with my son.

“God, I want to hear from you. I want to know that it’s Your voice not mine. Please make it so distinctive that I have no choice but to know it’s You.”

And then I waited. Here’s what I heard. “Be still and know that I am God.”

Uh – it doesn’t get clearer than that! That one phrase brought me more peace than I can ever explain in a blog post. When my manuscript is published, you will see how this message changed my life in more ways than I can count.

Knowing that God speaks to me on a regular basis is how I discern good decisions from bad. Having peace in my heart about my choices is another marker I rely on. I also check in with Mr. Ego. If he’s having a fit and trying to make me anxious or fearful or desperate, I know I need to go back to the drawing board because I want my decisions to be good ones.

So when you’re thinking about where to shake your salt or shine your light, silence that Jolly Green Giant booming voice of fear and instead listen for that still small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to you.

Then, let your light shine!

Jen’s Gem: Don’t fall for the Jolly Green Giant voice. Listen for that still small voice inside.

“Speak, God. I’m ready to listen. (1 Samuel: 3)

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