Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Joy that is here + here to stay

To Love is to Listen to what is around.  With your ears you can listen, but I believe you can listen with your body, your mind, your heart, and your soul.  Being present where you are and not having a guard up, not presuming anything to be anything, but just being... just listening.  Being in Montana for the past seven days by myself, there has been a lot of time spent listening.  Not necessarily an audible voice is what I hear, but in the silence I have found a source of life, rejuvenation, and revelation of sorts.  I love discovery!  Looking to sounds beyond a human voice, my ears have clung to the chirps of birds, the sounds of the dishwasher running, the sounds of keys typing as I become vulnerable and dare to be open with myself and whoever may run their eyes across this page.
Listening this past week and I half, I have learned many lessons, but 3 key ones that I have found to be take-homes.--->

Lesson #1: Listen to God.
Simple right?  We hear this over and over and almost tune it out.   But there is one pivotal concept I find that often comes by forgotten in this equation of listening to God.  We hear God, maybe, we hear Him speaking truth into our lives through the beauty of Creation and maybe through the thoughtful words of a loved one.  But there is a large part of me that is simultaneously occupied when listening to God: so many other voices are louder, the world is so loud, my own thoughts, insecurities, and well-aware weaknesses come to the highest volume and God's precious, treasured voice is something I long to hear louder, but am not sure why I cannot.
You see, God is constant and His voice can be heard always.  But there are other things battling for our souls, for our hearts, for our ears attention.  In order to listen to God and really truly hear Him, I need to turn down the volume of myself and my world.

Lesson #2: Listen to yourself.
Ladies, gentlemen, all ages, and all walks of life:  What do you want to do with this one and precious life? What do you enjoy? What are you passionate about?  What are the desires of your heart that the Lord has given you now that you have delighted in Him (Psalm 37:4)?  If you are free in Christ, there is a world of possibilities open to you.  And journeying through this life the past 7 days in the protection and security of Christ, for both my physical and spiritual sense, has been so freeing and fun-filled as I feel God inviting me to enjoy the Creation: the blessings and the struggles, that He has crafted specifically for me!  Wow, God you are wonderful, perfect, and so much bigger than me and my minute-ness.  I stand in awe of Him and in such gratitude towards what I am able to accomplish, be, and experience because of His grace and mercy.  Lord, thank You for stretching me and giving me the courage to be myself--a child of a God who richly blesses, because I know that when I fully find myself in you, I have found my true identity--and this is one thing I am sure of.   I want to use this voice, this body, this brain, and this heart that you have given to me--I want to listen to it and free it to be a vessel for your glory, for all my life, however short or long.

Lesson #3: The key to joy is thanksgiving.
Is it not amazing that the eyes that you are using to view this blogpost have the astounding ability to register sight to you? Thank you God for eyes to see the beauty of your Creation.
Naming the blessings in life-as minor as the comfy pillow that rests beside you and as major as the sun brushing past the clouds to allow Vitamin D to absorb into your skin.  Now it may feel strange, unnecessary, or embarrassing to sit here and name the things you are thankful for, but the transformative potential of thanksgiving is too vital to our salvation to be left unaddressed.  Let me explain... As I thank God for legs that move, eyes that see, puppies that are soft and cuddly, apples that are extra large, sunsets that take my breath away, music that moves me--I am internally shifting the attitude and posture of my guilty-ridden and self-centered conscience to one of humble adoration, but more than that... I am just simply acknowledging what is around.  I am listening.  The earth is filled with His Glory!

"The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.
When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows.
How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us? The clouds open when we mouth thanks."
--Ann Voskamp, "One Thousand Gifts"

So I encourage you to listen a little more today and every day for what God is up to in Your life, because surely as I believe He is alive in me, He is at work and providing little miracle moments sprinkled throughout my day for me to enjoy and to name as blessings.  I just need to listen--mind, body, and soul, to further discover the beauty of His saving + amazing grace.

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