Friday, January 22, 2016

Listen Up

Listen Up


I found myself in tears as I drove away from the Dollar Store. Not because of sadness or regret but because of pure and unmistakable gratitude. This season of live has been one of growth mostly because it has been my hearts’ desire to be in a state of passionate pursuit of God’s heart for this world. I want to love deeper than I ever have; to take the road of trusting Him and never look back.

It was an ordinary event that God used to touch hearts and remind us again that He is everywhere, watching over and waiting for us to learn the art of listening. I had to go to the dollar store to get some supplies for my son’s science project; an ordinary task. It was busy and only one checker was checking people out. My flesh was aware of the inconvenience of the line and I thought to myself that they really needed to do a better job of paying attention to customer demands. I was able to drown out my selfish complaints as I remembered that I had asked God (that very same week) to help me not focus or feel inconvenienced but to instead show patience and love more and more. So instead I offered my spot in line to a couple that approached the line at the same time. There was a man behind them and I all of a sudden became very uncomfortable and seeing how I had no idea why I was uncomfortable I imagined all the bad reasons for this feeling.   

Then in a moment of complete surprise I felt the Holy Spirit whisper deep inside that I was to buy this man’s items for him. It wasn’t more than ten dollars’ worth but I was so uncomfortable with the public embarrassment of the gesture that I tried to explain to God why it was a bad idea. But the nudge only became more undeniable and I had to act.

Now let me just explain that although I am eloquent and put together on paper and even in the small controlled environments of friends and family I can appear very intelligent, witty or even wise at times, I am a complete and total idiot in public around strangers. I have no social skills when it comes to these things and I always try to make the awkwardness go away by being ever so much more awkward. For example: A week ago I was obeying the Holy Spirits prompt to buy a snack at the store for a homeless person outside and when I gave it to her I said, “I sure hope it is warm out today.” First of all it was 2pm and had been warm all day, so it made no sense whatsoever, but also it had no context in the situation. I just felt dumb! I am the most awkward person when I am outside of what I know.

The Holy Spirit gives me what I call the precursor pit in the stomach, the pit of regret I will feel the rest of the day if I don’t act upon what I know is right just to save face. So as the young man checking my items finished and gave the total, I said, “I would also like to buy this man’s stuff too.” The young man checking out the items was really excited about it and said, “that is so cool!” The man behind me said, “Really, are you serious?” In my awkwardness I said, “yes you have been so patient, you let me go first in line and I just really want to bless you.” He got very serious and then said, “I just lost my job.” I said, “well I hope this helps you to have a better day.” He said yes, absolutely, I will pay it forward.” I replied “I just want you to take it in and to have hope. I know God wants to bless you with it.” He then introduced himself and told me he couldn’t wait to tell his wife. I told him I would pray for a new job for him and asked what he did. The conversation was getting less awkward by the moment and the checker was just so excited to be watching it all happen.

I realized as I left to go to my car that God had just showed up at the Dollar Store to love that man. A few things stood out to me in that moment to be more than coincidence; One was that the line was almost ten people long and no other checker came to help, so all those people in line witnessed what was going on. The checker was floored by the act and heard me say multiple times that God wanted to do this. And then of course the thing that ultimately brought me to tears is that God would share with me His heart for this man who really needed a helping hand. I love how God partners with us and allows us in on his plans. I am so honored to be his hands and feet and to be a recipient in such a clear way of His answer to my request that I would love more like Him. The whole thing was such confirmation that God loves making ordinary days something quite extraordinary. When I think of how I almost lost the opportunity to bring a little bit of Heaven to earth just because I was uncomfortable it makes me so grateful that God is challenging me to a new level of trust, Faith and Obedience in Him.

This story isn’t a brag moment on my part because Heaven knows I have missed opportunities to love before. Nor is it a message meant to bring shame that we ought to be doing more. This story is merely a reminder of how much God expectantly waits for us to Listen Up. Literally “Up”. Our ears should be tuned directly into the voice of God. And in those moment when the Holy Spirit speaks we are to act as though nothing else in the whole world matters but responding to whatever is being spoken.

From my experience I can honestly say that He speaks only one language, and that language is love!  And although the world may not understand it or it may seem foreign and strange, we are to change the culture of our world to the culture of heaven, where the words and actions are formed out of love. I think that is why I feel so awkward in these situations, because if I am in Christ, I am a foreigner of this world’s culture. And although it would be more comfortable to pretend that I blend, It would never feel right inside of my soul.

Lord I ask that you give us ears to hear the love language that you are speaking over us and over all of your creation. Help us to love deeper, and be free in who we are in you and so aware of your presence that we are never afraid to bring heaven to earth. I love you so much Lord, help me to love what you love, to see what you see, and to always walk by faith not by might. Thank you Lord for letting us be a part of what you are doing. Amen  
"Again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”"
Hebrews 4:7 ESV

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