Are you checked up for the New Year? Do you hear the sounds of silence speaking loudly as 2016 is up and running? A new year brings new beginnings, opportunities to check up on how we are doing – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – and time for tuning in and listening to the Lord.
Bringing a new year in with a believing heart and bold witness is a wonderful resolution for each of us to embrace. Finding time to be still and spend time with our heavenly Father – reading His Word, praying, helping others, taking time for family meals together, attending church services together, talking things out with one another and Him, saying “no” to things that will distance us from our Father and family, pruning and prioritizing, standing up for what is right, listening more, treating others like we want to be treated, and living out loud in LOVE. Wow, can we do this? Yes, We Can…when we stop to listen and stay closely connected to Jesus every day of the year.
Quietness for some is a way of life but for others it can be uncomfortable. One of my favorite Bible verses explains the simple message that keeps the line open to the Master, “Be still, and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10.
Our lives are bombarded with noise and busyness every which way we turn. We must make choices in our schedules and situations in order to secure quiet time and stay connected to the Vine. Quietness can be a time to reflect, create, recover, grieve, rejoice, or a time to simply listen to God.
So, you are thinking…this is not possible, right? Well, there are more demanding things in our lives that we work out and take time to make happen. Surely you are thinking of some time consuming things that take time away from your TIME with the Lord and loved ones. When frustration rules our hearts and homes, it is time to change things up and take time to listen to the small, still voice that brings help, harmony, and hope to the most demanding schedules and heart wrenching situations.
It may not be easy to be quiet and to make time for quiet time, but we can do it…if we want to! Barriers to this time will have to be confronted. Time schedules will have to be juggled. Outside interruptions and intrusions will need to be blocked so they do not control us.
Think about these things and answer honestly. What are the times of quiet you value most? What do you think about when you are quiet? What feelings do you experience when you are quiet? How does God speak to you when you are quiet?
In Psalms, we are told to be quiet for specific reasons. When we allow our lives to be packed to the gills with activities and busyness, it becomes easy to forget our Creator. God still speaks, as He did to Moses and Noah and Jonah and Mary and Joseph and many other Biblical characters we read about in His Word. Do you wonder how they kept the faith and carried out His plans for their lives? They listened to His Voice. It took some of them a lot longer to get the message, others had to hear the Voice with a burning bush or wild ride inside the belly of a whale. Yet, many listened and believed without confusion or contradiction in their hearts that what God said in the stillness of a dream, whisper, sign, or whatever way He communicated was right for them to believe and do with childlike faith.
Why not take time for a check-up — selfie — close-up snapshot of you and your devoted time to be still and hear God speak, with honor and gratitude for Him for being in control of all areas of your life? But…but …but… we might give every excuse why we cannot, but God knows our hearts and intentions and is speaking if only we will listen and heed His Word and way.
Let us make 2016 the year when we stop in the middle of our busiest days and just do it…be still and know that God is able and willing and waiting for us to listen and know that He is God. He can take care of us as He does the sparrows and be our very “Best Friend”. The time is now to open the eyes of our hearts and listen to HIM!
Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.