At some point in our lives, we go through a phase thinking we know everything there is and the last thing we want to do is take advice. I can remember as a teen my parents having to tell me to shut up and listen from time to time. Of course, I would then try even harder to find fault in their well-intentioned advice. As I matured, I realized that there are times where I do need to shut up and listen. Good advice isn’t a bad thing nor is authority. I took some hard lumps when I was younger because of my stubbornness, but I am grateful that God kept me around this long.
In my 40’s I often wonder if God were standing next to me would He say, “Jason, shut up and listen?” I may not be the rebel I once was, but I have a tendency to be a know-it-all (shocking huh?) and often miss out on a blessing because of my lack of ability to quiet my mind, shut up and listen.
If I want to live a life presentable to God, then I need to have the ability to know what that looks like. How can I hear God’s purpose if I can’t quiet the inner chatter or let go of my ego long enough to hear what He has to say? It takes work to be able to let go of worries, set ego aside and listen to the voice of God. Here are some things I have picked up over the years that help quiet the chatter and listen:
- Worry Less – About 90 percent of what we worry about will never happen.
- Let Go – We live in a society where we think we have control. Reality dictates that we are powerless over the majority of things in our lives, including other people. I’m not telling you to be a victim, instead understand that you aren’t going to be able to control everything that happens.
- Schedule – Pick a time each day that works best for you to spend with God. For many, this may be in the morning before starting the day.
- Get in the Word – One of the best ways to connect with God’s purpose is through His word. Read the Bible, listen to a sermon and read other Christian related books. Though I love the Bible, I often am inspired by what others have to say and how God has touched them.
- Prayer – Spend time in prayer and instead of asking for things for yourself pray for others and express gratitude for all that God is doing in your life. One of the many problems Christians have today is that they are always praying for MORE (I’m guilty). This keeps the focus on our ego, and since we are constantly asking for more we are never satisfied, and this creates difficulty in seeing what God has done in our lives.
- Breathe – Take a deep breath, another and another.
- Stretch – Stretch your arms over your head, crack your knuckles and let out a groan. Get rid of a bit more of that tension.
- Keep a Journal – Keep a journal handy in case you are compelled to write something down. Also, if you can’t get rid of a nagging thought jot it down and revisit it later.
- Get Rid of Distractions – Don’t take your cell phone with you or have the TV on while you are trying to quiet your mind. Get away from distractions.
God wants us to shut and listen. We can’t always be overly concerned with the world and our desires that we neglect His calling in our lives. We are constantly chasing our tails in pursuit of what we don’t have without realizing if we were to stop and listen we may finally find what we have been looking for all along.
It takes a bit of practice to quiet the mind, but it can be done. Fill it with the Word rather than the worries and ‘to dos’ of today. When we put God first everything else will fall into place.