When the landscape is blanketed in snow, it is hard not to simply be still. During these storms, traffic is a little less congested, and people are a little less anxious to rush through their day. In these moments when all the world around you is still and frozen, you also start to notice things, and I have noticed something about myself…I’m really not a very good listener.
It’s not like my teen has not mentioned on several occasions that I didn’t hear him as I answered a text or scrolled through my Facebook news feed. Or that my husband has not said on occasion, “January, I just told you that.”
Truly, I thought I was a good listener. People often come to me for advice, to vent, for good conversation. But, really…I’m not a very good listener.
Why? Because most of my conversations occur in the midst of other distractions. The radio dial while my teen is talking. The frying pan while my mom chats away on the phone. The paper yet to be done on my laptop while my husband tells me about plans for the next day.
And, unfortunately, most of my conversations with God are the exact same-full of distractions.
During my devotion time in the morning, it is the dog in my lap, the trash truck outside, or the dishes in the sink.
During my prayer time, it’s the grocery list, or the to-do list that is running through my head.
During Bible Study, it’s the list of homework assignments that must be completed by the end of the week, or the train that seems to pass by every Wednesday.
There’s a quote I love from the movie Eat, Pray, Love that describes my so-called quiet time perfectly-“I can’t focus. All I think about is how to decorate!”
With all the chaos, information, and stuff that is thrown at us at any given minute during the day, it’s no wonder we have problems with being fully present, with being able to focus, with just being still and listening already!
“And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.” Proverbs 8:32
How many times have I missed connecting to my son over his interest in a new worship band, because I was distracted by my Facebook notifications?
How many times have I missed connecting with my husband because I was too distracted by constructing the best discussion board response for a class?
How many times have I missed the instruction provided in a Bible Study lesson because I was mentally checking of my to-do list or redecorating my kitchen?
How many times have I missed something great, missed an awesome opportunity, missed the point, simply because I was too distracted to just listen already? Because I was too distracted by my thoughts and the world around me to listen for that still, small voice.
Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. Deuteronomy 32:1-2
Or like the gentle, white snow that blankets the cold and barren winter ground.
I want to relish in the stillness that overwhelms the Earth on a snowy day. I want to be able to shut off my earthly thoughts, forget all the distractions around me, and simply be still.
Still enough to put down my phone and talk to my son about his taste in music.
Still enough to put down the schoolwork and hear about my husband’s day.
Still enough to calm my wandering mind long enough to gain instruction from studying His Word.
See, I want to be like Samuel. I want to be able to still my mind, get rid of the distractions, and say to God, “Your servant is listening.” Still enough to hear the voice that will guide me through the next chaotic moment. The voice that will tell me where to go, what to say, how to love, when to move, and when to let go.
I want to be still and listen already!