Hearing God, Even If You Can't "Be Still"
“I don’t have to still my body in order to connect with God.”
I recently read these words in Tricia Goyer’s book, “Blue Like Playdough.” And for days I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them.
Because this phrase goes against traditional Christian instruction. It doesn’t play well next to “get up early in the morning for a minimum of an hour” to read your bible and pray.
There is a belief that unless you are surrounded by “quiet” you are unable to have a “quiet time.” Yet often I am unable to find that literal place. Because, as a mom, it rarely happens.
For example this morning: just as my coffee had finished brewing and I was settled in for some much-needed “quiet time” on the couch… I heard the first set of pitter-pattering feet. Then, after daughter #1 was situated next to me under a blanket with a book, along came kid #2. I listened to about 30 seconds of their hunger complaints and then realized… my quiet time was over, breakfast needed to be made.
I know I’m not alone in wanting to “start my day with Jesus” like all of those Christian leaders tell you to do. I know it’s the “right way” to start my day. But honestly, I’m only willing to get up SO early to have a “quiet time.“ (4am is still night-time in my vocabulary.)
To be honest, I am guilty of becoming task-driven. And very quickly, I am spiraling down the legalism road, berating myself for “failing” to spend enough time with Jesus. But really, does it matter to God? Do you think He’s going to give you the silent treatment if you feed your children breakfast before you crack open your bible?
And so, like many other areas, I’ve learned to relax a little over the years. Especially since bringing home kids! Because I know there will be a day (I pray it’s sooner than later) that my kids will sleep past 6am. There will again be quiet(er) mornings when I can slip my hands around a hot coffee (not forgotten and lukewarm) and enjoy quiet moments with my bible, journal and Jesus. However, this is not one of those seasons.
So, I’ve learned to do life differently:
I’ve decided to bring God into my whole day, rather than creating a “quiet space” for Him to fill.”
And do you know what’s interesting? I hear Him MORE now than ever before.
I feel His presence when we listen to music at home and in the car. I hear his voice in the stories we read, and the conversations I have. And I think God likes to whisper in my ear most often when I’m doing the mundane tasks of the day. Like when I’m standing elbow-deep in soap suds at the kitchen sink.
Quite often His words are said to the tune of whatever Veggie Tale lesson my kids are learning. When my kids recite “God made you special and He loves you very much” I feel His arms engulf me and take away the burdens, the worries and the stresses that I feel.
And surprisingly, the time of day when I hear God’s voice the most clearly, is when I’m disciplining my children. Usually it’s an echo of what I’m speaking to them: “why don’t you listen the first time?”“how many times do I have to tell you…” “I love you, even when you’re having a bad attitude.”
It’s later in the day that I journal my apologies through tears. And though sometimes His words are hard to hear, and the discipline doesn’t feel good (like when you need to go back and apologize to your kid and ask for forgiveness) ... I enjoy knowing that He is near. He is speaking.
I am encouraged to know that God isn’t waiting for my day to get quiet, or my life to be still before He can be present and speak to me. And I am confident that “being still” is a posture of expectant listening.
The room doesn’t have to be silent. I don’t need to be listening to “Oceans” to connect with God. Because He is present. He is speaking. And it’s my heart that needs to be ready to hear what He has to say.
Think creatively about your “quiet time.” However it looks for you, be ready and listening. Because He is near. And He wants to speak to you.