3:30 in the morning must be the only time God can get me to be still...and quiet.
Or maybe it's when I can best APPRECIATE the "still and quiet" in the house, because I'm not sure that what I've been doing qualifies for either.
Outwardly, the scene may appear calm, silent...but my brain is buzzing and busy as a beehive.
I've been climbing out of bed at this time for a few nights now. Wide awake. Energized with the pressing feeling that I should be doing SOMETHING.
Is this gift of time meant for talking to God, praying for others, or just meditating and LISTENING?
I'm not sure, so I've been doing a bit of all of three...and I've wrestled with what "listening" REALLY looks like.
I've been told that listening to God requires me to:
Be quiet and still, relax, clear my mind - and be ready to accept whatever God has to offer.
I've prayed that God show me how to have this ability...cuz it is not something I can just "do".
You see, I'm "given to words". *don't even ACT like you're shocked*
My brain DOESN'T STOP...and I process my many thoughts outwardly. (on paper, in talking with others, and sometimes by talking to myself -or to God- out loud.)
It's how God made me. It CAN be beautiful. (I pray that it's beautiful.)
BUT, it can also be a problem...this "blessing of words" can get ugly.
Without God's perspective, my mind is a manic flurry of thoughts that exhaust me and fight to get out.
Without God, I struggle not to interrupt. (For years I swore it was genetic. My family always interacted with constant interjections which were meant to connect and relate. I think I was an adult before I comprehended that my way of communicating could be considered rude.)
I fight to shut up and CONCENTRATE on the words that others share with me instead of jumping ahead to my next thought or intervening with my own story.
I want to love others more than my own words or thoughts.
I want them to experience that love through my actions.
I want to be a good listener...not just a good talker.
A good listener hears all that is being shared and interjects short affirmations (or silent nods) to let the other person know that they are engaged in the conversation. I've gotten much better at doing this for others. As I have matured in my faith, I value others too much to want to walk over them. I value what I have to learn from them.
As I was processing this whole "listening concept" - it HIT me. A listener has to be ENGAGED!
All these years I've assumed I stink at listening to God...because I can't clear my mind and be "still".
But, when I listen to people...I don't just absorb words - I analyze them, I process them, I interact with them...my brain doesn't stop. My mind isn't empty. I'm a major multi-tasker when I'm truly listening, but not in way that takes AWAY from the conversation.
When I am seeing others through God's eyes, my multi-tasking adds TO the conversation.
While I am listening, I am also praying for them, hurting for them, and listening for revelation from God to share if (and how) He wants me to respond.
This 3 a.m. wake-up call has awakened a new mindset.
My interactions with God have FLOWN by each night...in peaceful, yet active, contemplation.
My body has been still. My heart has been open. My mind has been active. I've been meditating on God's word, processing it, analyzing it, praying about it - while still listening for revelation as to how I should respond.
I'm not saying that God can't show me how to still my mind. (He's already showed me how to get rid of the chaos in it...when I remember to.) But I learned tonight, in the quiet stillness, to give myself some grace when my mind doesn't mirror my surroundings.
And then morning came...and the not-so-quiet interactions wandered into the room to join me (with eyes not nearly as lively as the hair sticking straight up on their heads).
Lord, take this day. Help me to listen...to others AND to you. Reveal yourself to me in new ways. Give me understanding. Give order to my words (and my constant stream of thoughts)...so I can give YOU glory. Amen.
"My eyes stay open through the watches o the night, that I may meditate on your promises" Psalm 110:148