Friday, July 23, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Listen

Listen to God 
A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”
– Romans 8:14 (NIV)

As Christ-followers, we strive to fulfill our purpose. To do so, we must take the necessary steps to get us exactly where we should be. We know the destination, but we don’t know how to get there. As many of us have learned, we listen to God to use Him as our GPS. We know His instructions ultimately guide us to the ordained steps specifically created for each individual.

Sometimes on this path, the steps ahead seem obvious. It is a straight path and God’s directions are clear. But sometimes we find ourselves at a crossroad, and suddenly we can’t hear His voice anymore. The path is no longer obvious, and the GPS seems out of range. At this crossroad, a decision must be made. We fear making a choice without direction as it could put us on the wrong path which would ultimately keep us from reaching the destination of fulfilling a purposed-filled life.

Have you ever found yourself in this pickle?

On a ‘spur-of-the-moment’ grocery trip, I realized I needed pickles. I made a beeline to get them first so I wouldn’t forget. I grabbed a jar but felt compelled to get two. I wrestled with rationalizing two jars of pickles. Why? Do I need two? What’s the purpose of getting two jars?

Here I was, standing in the middle of the aisle having an internal dialogue…about two jars of pickles. I convinced myself that I didn’t need two jars and walked away.

When I reached the end of my grocery list, I felt like I needed to go back for a second jar of pickles. At this point, it was comical that this second jar of pickles was so significant. I went back, grabbed the second jar, and headed to checkout.

My arms were so full of groceries, I had to put them down so I could begin checking out. After placing the groceries down, the only thing left in my arm (which would be the first thing I would scan) was the first thing I grabbed when I walked in. Pickles. I went to scan the jar but couldn’t find the barcode. I stood there entirely too long looking for the barcode, and eventually had to ask for assistance. The cashier was just as perplexed as I was about why the jar didn’t have a barcode on the label, but quickly reminded me that I had a second jar of pickles.

For the next twenty minutes, I focused on this ‘wrestle about pickles’ I just experienced. At that point I was conflicted by feeling like I was in a season where I wasn’t hearing Him like I did before, but in this moment, He wanted to take the time to talk to me about pickles. It was then that I was reminded that sometimes His voice doesn’t always sound (or look) how we anticipate that it should. He speaks to us. He never stops speaking to us. But we have to be comfortable with the fact that sometimes His voice doesn’t appear in the way that aligns with how we choose to hear to Him. His voice doesn’t always fit our method of listening.

We have to be willing to lean into Him and become in tune with the various ways He may choose to communicate with us. In order to be in tune with God’s voice, sometimes we have to properly adjust our posture. When we adjust our posture to be in tune with God’s voice, we force our flesh to become quiet as we allow our ‘spirit man’ to take the lead. In the flesh, many of us have become accustomed to hearing from the Lord in only one way.

When the Holy Spirit that lives within us is allowed to facilitate that commune with God, the Holy Spirit will draw our attention to whatever the Lord choose to use to speak to us – be it a book that is about the exact season you find yourself in at that moment, or a song that ministers to your soul in a moment of despair, or maybe it is a conversation with a stranger who answers the prayer you prayed moments before you met them for the very first time. He will speak to you in any way He knows will get your attention. Make sure you listen for the message and not solely rely on hearing the messenger.

Let’s Pray:
Father God, thank you for loving us and allowing us to be in your presence. Thank you for speaking to us and doing so in a personal way that we cannot deny experiencing you. Father, we pray that even amongst chaos and confusion that we are able to hear your voice and recognize your presence. We pray that when we feel like we can’t hear your voice, that your presence become more obvious than the audible voice we have trained our hearts to respond to. We pray that we become more in tuned with how you choose to commune with us so that we adjust our posture appropriately to hear exactly what you want us to receive from you in that moment. We ask all these things in Jesus’s Name. Amen.

Author Bio:

With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more.’ With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts. 

While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about biblical womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world.

For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry. 

When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.

With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education. 

Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.

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