Listening is something I’m either great at, or really bad at. I have a self-diagnosed condition called “shiny object syndrome”. I’m the best listener when I focus, but once something grabs my attention…forget it. And I can’t listen, and process, while distractions are begging for my attention. I try, but I lose, every time.

God has been putting a few words on my heart the past few weeks. The past 3 years I’ve used a word to help me mature and give me a goal & focus instead of a NY resolution. And every year the word has not disappointed. So this year I kept getting stuck on the word “use”. But I knew that wasn’t the word; it has something to do with it, but it isn’t it. Then the word “abide” and “surrender”. All of these words were not them, but I knew they all had to do with my word for 2018. I went through thesauruses…nothing. I went through some bible verses that talked about “dying to self” and “abiding in Him”…nothing. I went through commentary on John 3:30; all relevant, but the word was still a mystery. What could God be telling me? Why couldn’t I figure this out?

I had a bit of a rough day yesterday. Raising teenagers is just tough! If I make it through the next few years, or if they make it through the next few years…we will be on the home stretch. As I laid in bed last night, I found myself searching for answers and direction. If I could just slow my mind down, maybe I could figure out exactly what I’m doing wrong as a parent…or take comfort in knowing what I’m doing right. The right response is not always popular when it comes to kids.

I got up this morning, and my devotional hit me like a ton of bricks. In 1 Samual, Samuel said to God, “Speak, your servant is listening.” Samuel wasn’t just listening, he was silent. Ready. Willing to do whatever God had to say. He surrendered himself to be used by God.

Me: I’m not listening! Smh!

I’m hearing, my ears are open, and I’m doing things, and I’m being obedient; but I’m not listening. I’m not surrendering my heart. I’m coming to God in prayer with the wrong expectations. I must pay attention AND respond! Geez…I’ve put God in a box. Abandonment, use, surrender, abide, die-of-self, John 3:30. I’m not listening!

“He must increase, and I must decrease.” John 3:30

I’m not perfect, but Jesus is. I’m not strong, but Jesus is. I’m not free of sinning, but because of what Jesus did, I’m free of my sins. I’m not humble, but I am learning how to be through His Spirit, and His Word. I will never be Jesus, but I will be with Him, and I want to be ready when that day comes! I must listen to His direction. His grace is sufficient – hallelujah – but I can’t stop the direction of correction in my life.

So, I must be quick to listen. Not just to what is spoken, but also to what isn’t said; actions. This may be the most difficult word I could have been given. I need to be eager to learn how to listen, be present in every moment, and rely wholly on the Holy Spirit so I can do it. Again, just another level of my need for Him. I truly need Him every moment.

להקשיב = listen

If you’ve never chosen a word for a new year, I recommend it – it isn’t focused on just one goal, but can be helpful in all areas of your daily life.

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