Early in the morning, I sat along the shore of the lake. The sun was glistening off of the top of the water. A gentle breeze refreshed the air with the aroma of Autumn. I set out to practice “intentional listening.”
Faint voices reflected across the water. A fish jumped. A flock of geese flew overhead. A dog barked, and another one responded from across the lake. For a short time, they howled back and forth, communicating in an unknown language. A cell phone rang from a boat where two boys and a father fished. The intermittent “kerplunk” of a fishing lure hit the water, and a quieter “click, click click” of the reel followed. Laughter danced. Two children argued (regrettably, mine). The faint drone of a motorcycle ascended then descended, as the bike drove down a distant road. A bee buzzed. Doors slammed.
At ten o’clock, though, all changed. The motor boats with their loud gregarious engines started up and all else was drowned out. Although certainly still present, I could no longer hear the sounds of life through the noise.
“Intentional listening.” So many distractions keep us from listening. We hear all sorts of things, but we seldom listen. I’ve been thinking about the difference. Hearing is a physical action, but listening finds its source in the heart. It is the picture of a mother leaning close to her child, gently, sincerely, lovingly paying attention to what they are saying and trying to understand the heart and soul of the child.
The skill of listening, dear reader; is it not precious and essential? With the Lord, we may think we hear what He is saying, but do we genuinely, regularly listen with the ears of our hearts? “… if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …” the writer of Hebrews exhorts us (Hebrews 3:7). Do we neglect His voice and walk in our own ways, hardening our minds and our love for Him by seeking our own voice or the voices of others?
Listen for the voice of Truth, today, and chose to let it permeate your soul and make a difference in your life. Listen for His voice in the difficult circumstances of your life and listen for His voice in the small happenings of your day. Do not let the noise of the world and all of its temptations and lies drown out the voice of Truth. Lean in close to God, in a quiet spot in your home, in your work, in your school day, or in your comings and goings, and seek His voice, the voice of Life, with your heart.