Friday, December 2, 2011

Listen

What does it mean to truly listen to God?

For the last few days, I've been pondering this questions and what it means for my life.

If I'm honest, it's been something that I've been pondering for longer - especially when you look at a few of the books I've picked up for pleasure in the last few weeks.

In Passion To Action, I read about how Jay and Beth Loecken listened to God, sold their possessions and began to travel throughout the US in an RV, working in soup kitchens, community projects and other mission projects.

Their story tells how following God led them to unexpected and amazing opportunities - and even led to a whole new ministry, which you can read about here: http://passiontoaction.org.

Another book, Another Man's War: The True Story of One Man's Battle to Save Children in the Sudan, I read how Sam Childers turned his life around - in children's ministry terms, he made "lots of bad choices," - then ended up following God's call on his life  and ended up traveling to the Sudan to establish an orphanage to help the children in a war-torn country.

His story has been recounted in a new movie released this fall, Machine Gun Preacher, staring Gerard Butler. You can read more about him here: http://www.machinegunpreacher.org.

I know there's some controversy - OK, a lot - surrounding Childers and his claims. You can read an extensive article on the Christianity Today website here. Regardless of the controversy I'm glad I read the book, because it opened my eyes to the things going on in the Sudan involving children.  

Both of these stories have a common thread - the families involved discovered their passion for life and service by listening to God and discovering his plan for their lives..

I'm still trying to discover God's plan for my life.

If I had followed my original plan, from college, I would be working in Washington, DC as a political journalist. Instead I find myself serving in a full-time children's ministry. Which, let's be honest, is probably a better choice. It's just one example of how listening to God changed my life.

Right now, listening to God is less about determining a "career" path, and more about "self care." God seems to be telling me that it's time to make a few changes in my life and truly take a "Sabbath" or day of rest each week - something I'm having to learn the hard way.

(Let's just say God is speaking to me through friends who buy me a book to read on the subject - and then follow up to see if I actually read it).

Listening isn't easy, and honestly, I'm struggling with the "message" right now. But I know, when I listen to God and follow his path, things seem to go easier then when I try to do it on my own. (Something about surrendering and such - but that's another post.)

So how are you listening to 'God? What are you learning?

(FYI - This post is kind of inspired by last year's Reverb10 project - which gave people a series of questions each day during December to kind of "wrap up" the year. When the creators of Reverb10 chose not continue the project this month, I came up with my own "reflection" challenge. Each day, for the next month, I'm going to try to write - focusing on a single word as my theme!)

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