October 10, 2016
Slow Down and Listen
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10 (NLT)
The words “Be still” will now forever remind me of my mom.
“We’re home and fine,” I quickly called to tell her one day. I was always rushing. She simply wanted confirmation we had arrived home safely, but it felt unnecessary to call her.
Slow down; be patient, whispered a small voice in my mind. I pushed it aside, hung up the phone and rushed my toddlers to bed.
“Just one more thing?” Mom asked as I was leaving her hospital room, a few months later.
Pay attention; listen, whispered the still small voice.
I understood and returned to her bedside as she shared important information with me. She wanted to ensure I knew this before her procedure the next day, in case something went wrong.
“Everything will be fine, Mom,” I reassured her while wondering if it would be. It wasn’t. Over the next few days, complications of a rare disease and a series of small strokes stole Mom’s short-term memory.
“Where are you going?” Mom asked me about a year later, as I sat down next to her bed to give us both manicures. She couldn’t remember a necessary work party I was attending later, even though I’d already told her a few times. My heart still broke when she couldn’t remember things, but it didn’t really matter anymore. I wanted her nails to look nice for her upcoming funeral, but it was honestly just an excuse to be with her.
Be still; be present, whispered the still small voice.
Mom also couldn’t remember she was dying, which was a blessing. So we chatted about the party as I filed, buffed and polished. It was to be our last conversation.
A week later, peering down at those lovingly manicured nails in her casket, I whispered to the still small voice, Now what?
“Be still and know,” came the reply. I knew God’s presence. He carried me through the year of Mom’s whirlwind illness and death. He would continue to carry me through the next year of grief and searching. But being still was difficult.
I move quickly and always have. I rush to be on time, get things done and hurry to the next agenda item. This rushing often serves me well but also causes missed moments. I see this now.
God gently used my hardest days to teach me this lesson.
Slow down. Be patient. Pay attention. Listen. Be still. Be present.
His whispers to me then are what I teach others now. God directed me to a new path when I was quiet and still enough to listen. He’s continually teaching me.
Me? The girl who rushes? God asked me to help people with memory issues. Me? The one who’s always gone fast? I must now slow down and be patient. Me. The one who finds it difficult to stop moving … is learning to be still.
God is all around us. He speaks in His creation, a child’s laughter, a friend’s comfort or a hushed whisper. I always knew His presence but wasn’t always listening. God allows people, situations and things in our lives for reasons we may never understand. But He never leaves us; He is always present.
Understanding His presence and being still enough to sense it are two different things. I needed to slow down and quiet myself long enough to fully hear Him.
He’s been speaking my whole life. His inaudible whispers to my soul, the sense of what to do, say or not say — these were always present. But in my haste, I often failed to see or hear them. Making time, slowing down and putting God first has helped me hear His voice more clearly. I now know Him more and encourage others to as well. Hearing His whispers has led me to new adventures I could never have known on my own. But first, I needed to be still.
Do you sense His presence and still small voice? Pay attention. Slow down. Be still and know.
Dear Lord, we know Your presence is ever present with us. Equip our hearts and minds to be still and know this in the depths of our soul. Help us to hear and follow Your voice alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
>John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NLT)
Hebrews 12:25, “Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven!” (NLT)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one way to adjust your day to ensure you hear God speaking to you?
What would change in your life if you were to slow down, be still and listen to God today?
© 2016 by Jill Hoven. All rights reserved.