Bath time is not my favorite part of the night. It takes about an hour to bathe my children. As a result the frequency with which I bathe my children goes down in the winter. It is not as though they are running around outside all day, playing in the dirt or slathered in sunscreen like in the summer, right? Thank goodness! One of the perks of living in the northeast – seasons. For me, bath time is a lot of work. My older ones have yet to become proficient at showering. Sometimes the kids want to take individual baths, yes 3 separate baths. There are other nights they double up, two at a time, then one by themselves. (That is a big to do in and of it-self - deciding who goes when and with whom.) Then there are the nights when they all want in, three little ones, 2, 4 and 6, all in the tub together. For those of you who like to be efficient you would think this is a great option. Sometimes I do, but it didn’t seem so the other night. They were having a great time together, splashing around and mixing up pretend recipes they had seen on The Food Network the day before. Sounds cute, right? The problem was their voices kept escalating; at least it seemed like that to me. I am sure it had something to do with the tile walls and the sound bouncing around, my ears started to hurt. In the final stages of washing Ava’s hair I asked her to put her head back for a final rinse. There was no response, she kept chatting away with her sister. At this point I had asked the kids to quiet down several times, despite my frustration I remained patient. I said “Ava, you will not be able to hear me if you continue talking.” or at least I said something along those lines. I thought “If only she would be quiet long enough to listen to me we could get out of the bathroom.”
That’s when I had my “mirror moment”. I began to wonder if God experiences this with me as well. Does he ever try to speak to me but I can’t hear him? There are times when I seek God for instruction, insight or intervention and I don’t seem to get an answer. Is that my fault or his? Are there times when I am too busy “talking” to hear God’s voice?
According to the Bible God speaks to us through his Holy Spirit. In John 14:16 Jesus said “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—“. A little further down in the chapter, in v. 26, there’s more. Jesus goes on to say “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” The Holy Spirit is a counselor, a helper, and a comforter. His job is to guide us into truth and speak what he hears God speak (John 16:13). He takes what is Jesus’ and makes it known to us (John 16:15). As I am writing this I am picturing a familiar scene in a movie; a secret agent with an ear piece in their ear that’s linked to handlers in a white van parked on a nearby street giving step by step instructions. That’s how I think God intended us to live, hooked up to Him for direction.
There are two kinds of talking that prevent me from hearing from God. The first one in my internal talk, or what I say when I talk to myself. Jennifer Rothschild does an excellent study on this subject called Me, Myself& Lies. The study focuses on our internal dialogue and the truth (God’s Word) vs. the lies we believe about ourselves or our circumstances. During the study I learned that women go through 150-300 words a minute in their thoughts. Seems impossible, right? I am beginning to think it’s not. Since hearing that I find that I “talk to myself” while I am washing dishes, making dinner, blow drying my hair and driving my kids around, just to name a few. My thoughts include objectives and goals, likes and dislikes but it also includes my cares and concerns and “what if…”. I need to make an effort to control this. I need to think on “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report…” (Philippians 4:8) Easier said than done but well worth the effort!
The other kind is just the plain old regular kind. “Chatting” or gossiping with my friends about my problems, my frustrations or about that person that has hurt me or made mad. There is a fine line between sharing a struggle with a friend and going on and on about my problem, even if we do eventually end up praying about it together.
How can I hear his voice over all the chatter? I can imagine him, just like me in that bathroom saying “Be quiet, so you can hear me.” Instead of thinking about how I have been wronged by a loved one, I want to hear God’s voice. I want to be open to his instruction not mentally laboring over my next move. I want to hear him when he whispers in my ear the comfort I so greatly need when things don’t go my way. Quieting myself long enough to hear him is a great place to start.
What is God waiting to say to you?