So, I do what most people do. I make lists. I try to plan out a strategy. I ask people's advice. I do internet searches. I fill out applications; I try not to spend money on frivolous things. Oh, and I pray.
I've been keeping a journal since the beginning of the year (well, longer than that, but this one with renewed consistency). And so many entries revolve around the question of where my life is going. I keep crying out to God: Show me! Tell me! Speak to me! Reveal Your plan!
I don't have any answers. It's not that God has been silent. I've heard His voice on other, smaller matters. ie, Should I go to Branson? Yes.
And then, I've heard him speak to me in another way. Through the wisdom and insight of others. There's been a theme in my life lately. An idea, that God has been shaping. I talked in my last post about hearing God's song and being in tune with Him--but that presupposes that I AM listening.
Last weekend was Jubilee, a conference hosted by CCO, an organization my dad and friend Wendy work for. I went a few years back and blogged about it. This year I went again--but just to the (free) Sunday session. And perhaps because it was Sunday, the theme of the day seemed to be about Sabbath. returned to Jubilee (the last time she spoke here was when I was there before and kind of made an idiot of myself to her!) and talked about the Jewish rhythms and purposes of keeping the Sabbath.
And it occurred to me that not only do I not keep a Sabbath day, the time I use to "relax" isn't really a kind of Sabbath rest, either. Because when I get home, I like to chill. You know? Grab some dinner, watch TV, mess around online. And I'm not saying all of those activities are always purposeless. But though I have spent days (even recent days, due to being sick) doing relatively little, I still don't know what it is like to take a Sabbath. To set aside a day in which I do not work, or create anything, and I do not fill the the silence.
Yesterday I was listening to a couple of Ransomed Heart podcasts, and was (appropriately!) talking about hearing God. And he stressed the idea that if you are caught up in the urgency of the moment, of needing an immediate answer from God, then you will most likely not be able to hear Him. I think you can see where I'm going with this. So Eldredge says the attitude needs to be one of openness, humility. Yielding.
Which is kind of the opposite of what I've been doing.
I mean, I try to have the posture of one who understands how dependent she is on God for all the good things in her life. But somehow, urgency begins to crowd all of that out. Daily--sometimes hourly--I have to readjust my attitude. Lately, I've found Jon Foreman's song "Your Love is Strong" to be helpful. Because panic sets in all too quickly, till all I can see and hear is chaos and confusion. And then JF sings,
"So why should I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need,
You know what I need.
Your love is,
Your love is,
Your love is, Strong."
Actually, I've been listening to all four of Jon Foreman's Eps a lot lately, and found them to be very healing. If you don't know, he's the lead singer of (currently my favorite band) and he put out four short cds, one for each season: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. (He also collaborated on a project called Fiction Family with Nickel Creek's Sean Watkins, and I've been digging that cd, too. Wendy & E & I saw them in concert at Grove City College a couple weeks back, but that's another story.) He's just incredibly honest and yet hopeful at the same time, and the songs have been speaking to me.
Well, God has. If I just take the time to listen. If I quiet my heart and the desperate questions clamoring to be answered.
If I yield.