“…for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
“Slow down, Sparrow,” God said as I scurried out the door. “You’re so busy that you can’t hear the dream I’ve put inside of you.”
“I’m sorry. I’ve been feeling really pressured lately. I’ll slow down and listen for the dream. I promise I’ll chase after it with all I’ve got.”
“It doesn’t need chasing. It needs coaxing and encouragement. It needs to trust that you will take good care of it,” God explained.
I slowed my pace, then I stopped. “I think I’ve been hearing the dream for a while now, but I’ve been ignoring it.”
God rested His hand on my shoulder. “Listen deeply. It’s all there, inside of you. Trust it. Tend to it. Your life will unfold in ways you can’t even begin to imagine if you do.”
I nodded, then slowly went on with my day, stopping from time to time to listen to and encourage the little whisp of a dream that God had neatly tucked inside of my heart.
“All is known in the sacredness of silence.”
Whenever I’m confused or afraid, I remember these words: “Be still and know that I am God.” To be still means more than stopping our actions, it means to stop our minds, our internal voices, as well. For it is only when we are still, wrapped in the spaciousness of silence, that we can hear the answers we need. For it is only there that we can truly hear God. In the silence, we hear eternal wisdom rising above the incessant chatter of our worries and woes. In the silence, we are given the gift of God’s fullness.
It takes practice, this listening to silence. Our minds fight against the emptiness of thoughts and ideas, beliefs and ideals we cling to. But we can be kind and gentle with ourselves as we learn to venture deeper and deeper into silence, knowing that it takes time to learn this new way of being. It also may take time to be comfortable with the results of being silent, for when we are silent, we are changed. New paths, new ideas, new ways of thinking emerge. Our tight grip on the demands of our egos loosen and our hands and hearts open to all the goodness and abundance in God’s great universe.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
My dog Shakespeare balked at jumping into the back seat of the car. I thought it odd, as he is usually excited to go places. Eventually, I convinced him to get in. Once we ran our errands and got home, he balked at walking up the stairs. Quickly, I connected the dots. He had hurt his back and was in pain. It’s happened before. I gently picked him up and carried him inside and put him in his dog bed.
I had major back surgery when I was 21. Most of my back is fused together. I can empathize with sweet Shakespeare’s pain, because years ago, I had pain too. It is easy to recognize someone’s pain if we’ve experienced something similar, but not so easy if we haven’t.
I’m learning to ask others, “What does that feel like?” when they tell me things I haven’t experienced, and I don’t have a reference point. We don’t have to fully understand someone’s pain to be helpful. All we have to do is to listen and to give someone our time and attention. Lending someone our ears, and our arms for a comforting hug is often the best medicine on the planet. In Shakespeare’s case, it’s a trip to the vet, rest, and lot’s of my attention—and some dog treats!
“Be still, and know that I am God…”
“Where are you today, God?” I asked as I ran out the door to yet another business meeting. My heart ached for Him.
“I told you where I am, Sparrow,” God answered me. “You’ve been choosing to ignore my words.”
“Yes. You choose to hurry about your day, fretting over things you can’t control. You schedule one thing after the other. When you do have down time, you check your phone for messages, emails or social media posts. You can’t connect with me because you don’t slow down, stop, and be still. I’m in the stillness,” God said ever so gently.
I thought about God’s words for a moment. He was right. The more I do, the more I feel disconnected from Him.
“Do you know why silence is so important?” God asked me. “The answers are in the silence. Silence and stillness, Sparrow. Come and find me there.”
When I got home later in the day, I found a quiet place in my garden. I did my best to sit in the stillness and the silence and ignore my chattering mind. And you know what? God was there in the silence. In the stillness. In me. I felt His presence. I heard His answers. My heart no longer ached.