Call it a Quiet Time Out ...for Grown Ups. No, I haven't been bad. (Well, by that I mean I haven't been bumbling around in my human failing any more so than usual). But I have been asking God to speak to my heart, to speak to the issues I have brought before Him. And I think that before I can hear Him, I have to dial down, quiet my heart, and welcome a silent period where I finally have nothing to say, but a lot to learn.
I'm not sure if my husband has noticed that lately I am asking fewer questions when we have our morning coffee. I am not even writing much in my journal. Ideas for books and articles, and for new teaching workshops have quieted down to a whisper. I don't have a million ideas running through my mind like I normally do. I especially don't have the physical energy, now that my back muscles are slo-o-owly healing. So maybe this is what God is "working together for good"- my bad back, my tongue becoming silent, my eyes on Him- because where else do Answers come from?!
When we were kids, my family watched the movie, The King and I, starring Yul Brenner, and I swear that my father learned way too much from that King of Siam. It was around that time that my Dad started to adopt pithy phrases that quickly let us know the main point he was making. One phrase he would say as sternly and majestically as the King of Siam did was, "If you listen, you will learn!" We joke about it, even to this day.
But on a serious note, that's not how God is speaking to me. It's not like He is severely admonishing me to cease talking and sit up straight if I want to hear the secrets of life. It's more like God is saying, "Lauren, are you done talking, done trying to figure it all out?Because if you're done projecting and analyzing possibilities, I have a few things I'd like to share with you."
He knows that there comes a time when we have to run out of steam and come to the point where we voluntarily say, I really do want to listen, Lord. I have no ideas of my own anymore. He knows that what I desperately want more than anything is wisdom. I want to be discerning of the hand of God in my life, and to "see" the open doors He provides even though they don't look open in the way I would have thought.
"For those who love what you reveal, everything fits—
no stumbling around in the dark for them. " Psalm 119:165 The Message
God is not short on desire to reveal His will for our lives. We have the general will of God in Scripture.But then there are times in our lives when we need a little more guidance in specific areas. In these areas I want to do all I can to hear God's counsel and to appropriate it, benefit from it, and rejoice that God doesn't want us stumbling around in the dark.
One Scripture that my younger sister quoted to me, over twenty years ago, when Bill and I were first embarking on pastoral ministry in small New England towns, was a Proverb that has always made me take a deep breath of hope and peace.
"But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day" Prov.4:18.
So even if I get quieter and quieter as I wait on God to speak, to clarify, to point me in the way I should go, I know that my path will get brighter and brighter. I think that's a good exchange. And my family is quite happy about the arrangement as well.