Being the beginning of a new year, I have been thinking about what I’d like to aim toward. I want to write about a personal desire and what I think God is telling me.
Going public with my thoughts is my way of holding myself to it, if you know what I mean. And I give you permission to remind me and ask me how I am doing with this desire, this hope, i.e. this resolution.
Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting in a bakery with a dear ‘sister.’ I went there to listen to her life story and to hear the details about the vision God is giving her.
A few weeks ago I heard an interview with an author who is passionate about spiritual conversations. He suggests using two simple questions over and over: What does that [word, tattoo, idea, event, necklace] mean to you? And, How did you come to think that?
He said the more you listen in a conversation the more you win.
I was a winner yesterday at the bakery.
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Saturday January 1 we had a wonderful hike and dinner with some dear friends. In our honor they opened a bottle of cranberry wine from Three Lakes, Wisconsin, knowing that that is where Jake and I met. I don’t normally like wine, but of course, I had to try it. Oh, my goodness, that smooth pink liquid was so very truly delicious.
The glasses were small, but as I started to pour my 4th one, my brain started woozing. I ate a piece of bread — I thought it might help somehow — but when I walked to the car, I had to concentrate to stay balanced. In the night, at least four times my extremely dry mouth woke me up, and in the morning my head ached.
Why do I tell this story? It’s not funny to me. I am not proud of over-drinking. It was an unpleasant experience.
But God used it to lead me that morning-after to Ephesians 5:15-20. This is what I am praying this new year:
“Father God, help me to be careful how I live, not as a fool but as someone who is wise. Help me make the most of every opportunity to do good in these evil days. Help me to listen and understand what You want me to do. I don’t ever want to be drunk with wine but instead I want Your Holy Spirit to fill and control me. I want to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with other believers, always give thanks for everything to You, in Jesus’ name.”
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In 2022, I hope I become a real listener.
I don’t mean learning and practicing therapeutic techniques to get people to talk.
I mean asking Jesus’s Spirit fill and quiet my mind.
I mean letting Him quell my compulsion to give opinions and advice.
And may He help me to truly look at people and simply listen — like He does.
I want to listen to my husband and my family and my friends.
I want to listen to children and neighbors and strangers, making the most of every opportunity to do good by listening.
Most of all, I want to listen to God.
The more I listen to Him, the more I win.
I hope this year will be a winning year.