Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Making Space to Listen

I had a pretty rare opportunity yesterday: I just got to sit (and ski) in silence for about 2 hours. I spent a few hours skiing by myself, which is always a bit awkward at first but totally enjoyable in the end. It’s shocking how little time I spend with no access to my phone, computer, or human conversation. I just don’t spend much time alone, in silence.

A dozen chairlift rides in silence and solitude is good for the soul.

It was really nice to be able to just sit in peace, reflect on life and ministry, listen for God’s voice, and pray for a whole slew of people and needs that came to mind. It’s insane how easily-distracted I can get. So many people, responsibilities, and devices clamor for our attention, robbing our focus. So many issues are urgent, so many fires need extinguished, and so many calls need answered. The amount of needless distractions that bombard our senses each minute are simply too much to handle.

No wonder I don’t hear God’s voice enough…I’m not actively listening.

I’ve created a system where I can too easily be interrupted by unnecessary and unhelpful distractions, failing to guard my time and energy, and allowing my focus and clarity to be intruded upon. I have habits that steal my attention and distract me from what’s most crucial. And I’m guessing a lot of you are no different.

So, what if we vowed to not let our days, hours, and minutes be cluttered by the unimportant? What if we didn’t pull our phone from our pocket or purse at every free moment? What if we were more intentional about when and how we unplug and disengage from technology? Or what if we were more intentional about when it might be helpful and peaceful to mindlessly and peacefully disassociate? What if there was a time in our schedule that we were simply unreachable? What if we scheduled time into each day (or hour) to unplug, be silent, sit in peace, and be open to hearing the voice of God?

--> I know I need better rhythms around silence, solitude, and active listening. I know I need better boundaries for my time and technology. I know I need moments where I’m not a slave to the urgent. So let’s commit to being people who live life differently when it comes to our time, energy, technology, stress, and work. Let’s make space to actually sit in silence, enjoy solitude, listen for God’s voice, and spend time in prayer. That sounds like a good and peaceful way to live.

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