“These were supposed to be amazing seats.” I grumbled to myself. We bought them as soon as they went on sale over a year ago. We even decided to spend the extra money to get really good seats near the stage. Yet after a year of anticipation I sat several feet from the stage with a perfect view of…. the back of the production. Yup, the musicians, the speakers, all of the excitement was fully facing the other direction! “Seriously! I can’t believe this,” I huffed. This was supposed to be a relaxing weekend, a respite to be refilled, encouragement, worship, and hopefully clarity to God’s direction for me. Sitting there feeling annoyed, I could tell by the active venting of those around me, I wasn’t alone.

That’s when it happened. In the middle of my personal pity party, a message welled from deep within me, a message I needed to hear….

“You don’t need to see them to hear me.”

Ouch! I came wanting to “hear” God but I wasn’t expecting what I’d hear first.

“You don’t need to see them to hear me.”

I was about to let the opportunity before me simply slip away because I was preoccupied with the stage setup. That’s when it hit me… this was about more than that moment. It was a valuable reminder that we can allow our circumstances to cause us to miss the opportunity to hear God.

How? Here are just a few ways:

  • Distraction. For me it was the fact that the speakers were facing the other direction. I was distracted by the backs of their chairs as if not seeing their faces could prevent God from giving me wisdom or would prevent me from hearing His whisper. In everyday life it can be our own busy schedule. We’re focused on getting the kids to soccer or dinner on the table. Our minds are filled with all the things that consume us and can prevent us from pausing to hear His voice. The reality is we don’t need to be in a special place facing a gifted speaker to hear Him. We simply need to quite our world and listen with our hearts.
  • Self-Chatter. Often our distraction is internal. If the world around us isn’t swirling, we’re going a million miles a minute in our own world. Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God.” We need to allow ourselves to have down time, quite time when our minds can be still. It’s in those quiet moments we can yield our own racing thoughts for His wisdom.
  • Not entering the conversation. The other day a friend asked if I had received direction for a situation. “No” I said quickly. But, as soon as I spoke the work I knew why. I hadn’t asked for direction. I wanted God to show up and tell me what I should do but I hadn’t taken the time to pray. James 4:2b says “You do not have because you do not ask God.” If we want to hear God, we need to enter the conversation!

As I pondered this week’s post and the variety of topics I have brewing, I felt compelled to post this one. Someone reading these words needed this message today. God’s wanting to give you answers, direction, hope… but you’re falling into the trap I was. Let go of distraction and self-chatter!

So how did the event I attended work out?

On the second day, the speakers freely moved about speaking to all sections of the audience. As for me, I walked away with fresh encouragement, and clearer vision for the path in front of me. I have to admit while I wasn’t thrilled with the setup the first day of the event, the perspective it gave me on hearing God’s voice was actually worth it.

As always, I’d love to hear what you think. How did this week’s post resonate with you? Be sure to comment below. And… see you back here next Tuesday.