When I’m trying to listen for answers from God, I always joke that I need to be told some answers through a very loud voice. An obvious sign, big clarity, someone holding a banner…I mean, I need something pretty clear. I’m sure everyone wants to have that clarity when they are wrestling with something. I, for one, would like something as obvious as a burning bush speaking to me on a mountain. Just saying. I know that I overthink and have a really hard time being still to listen to God. With that knowledge of self, I started reflecting back on times that I have been shown something glaringly obvious that I have ignored. Sounds familiar to what my children do with my “obvious guidance”.
I was thinking back to when I was a teenager and how I had signed up to go to a Christian youth retreat. Something I was really looking forward to. The boyfriend I had at the time told me he didn’t want me to go to a CHRISTIAN retreat, because they were just “a place for people to hookup”. Because I had such fear that I would lose (the loser) I listened to him and cancelled my trip. That bad decision, changed a lot of things. Hindsight being 20/20, I look at that young girl and go “HELLLOOOOOO!!! How could you have been so blind to that very obvious sign from God?” As my mom reminds me, I wouldn’t listen to anyone when it came to decisions in my young teenage life. I’m still fairly stubborn with that now!
So what do I do with the realization that I’ve been shown very clear nudges from God, but have been so blind to it and haven’t listened? What about hearing God and being obedient to staying home with my kids, and really struggling to feel the joy in that? I think that we hope to hear from God and have it always be exactly what we want to hear, easy to carry out and have quick rewards associated with it. Since we are given free will, we are able to make our own decisions. We make good and bad choices. Each of those choices bring us on a different path, and we learn from those choices. I may not learn from my choices right away, but I may learn from them many years later. Although I get frustrated with myself for not making a good choice (as in telling that boyfriend to back off, and going on the retreat) I tell myself that those choices and paths that were taken are all going to come back around. It may be a time when I need to tell my own daughter not to listen to the silly boy, and listen to that gentle nudge from Jesus more. That, I suppose, is worth that bad choice, years ago.
My gentle nudge has been telling me that the more I practice being still and listening for God’s guidance, the more the nudges will appear as a burning bush. They will become more clear, more direct. Having my faith become bigger than my fear needs to be my mantra. Trusting that God has my best intentions in mind, helps me to understand that being obedient to His call of staying home was the right thing to do. Appreciating it in the moment, is the challenge.