…by Randy Parish
The theory behind the Listen series was a good one. Putting it into actual practice has been a lot more difficult for me, but it did help me see a weak area that I need to work on. I mean, sitting down for just 10 minutes a day and being quiet, how hard can that be? Unless I am alone in this, it’s pretty difficult to do. I am a morning person, so my rhythm for personal study and quiet time is in the morning. I would just carve out the 10 minutes there to just be still. I found that when you intentionally try to clear your mind, it just gets busier thinking about the day and your to-do list and the hundred other things you probably wouldn’t think about unless you were trying not to think about them.
It is sometimes a lot like our prayer life. We do all the talking and tell God, you do all the listening. That’s not the best way to develop a relationship.
We heard in the series that we sometimes develop our relationships based on Pain we have experienced in the past, Fear of experiencing pain from our relationships or Control so we don’t experience pain or fear. It becomes a cycle.
Our relationship with God should be built on:
Love – not by just following a bunch of rules. John 14:23 says “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.” It doesn’t say, it you follow all the rules, you can love me or I will love you.
Openness – God doesn’t want a Sunday morning relationship where we show up as a consumer and move on with the other 6 ½ days of the week. We can’t block out areas of our life and experience that openness only when we decide to let Him in. I loved the scripture from Romans 12:
1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. (The Message)
Trust – so how strong does our pray life get when we want something from God? Is that the only time we talk to God, just when it fits our needs?
Grace – If I just do enough good things, then I will have a good relationship. It would be a very shallow relationship if it was just based on good deeds. If the only thing you ever did for your spouse was good deeds, the relationship wouldn’t be very deep. What would it look like if you suddenly stopped?
A time of stillness is the perfect time to reflect on our relationship with God.
As we all were taught, it’s not a “one and done” kind of thing. You don’t do it for a week and stop. Listening is a discipline. We have to develop it. And we can’t develop it, unless we practice it.