Monday, January 4, 2016

My Word For the Year

Those of us who have been in the blogging community for any length of time, although I don't believe it belongs exclusively to bloggers, are familiar with the idea of picking a word for the new year. I've participated for a number of years. Sometimes I've carried that word with me and seen it become meaningful in my life over the course of the year. Other times by the time December rolls around I've completely forgotten what my word even was (I wonder if that's a sign of aging.)

I thought about it and prayed about it this year and considered not choosing a word at all. However, like a little gnat buzzing around my ears, there was a word, an idea, I couldn't ignore. If I'm honest, it's been there, in one form or another, for more years than I can count. I can pull out old notebooks or odd scraps of paper and find verses and sermon notes on the tongue. It would seem I've been struggling with this for a very long time. In spite of copious writings on the tongue and lots of prayer, I have never managed to get very far into my day without saying something I dearly wish I could take back.

However, the word that keeps coming to my mind and heart hasn't as much to do with my tongue as it does my ears.

"Listen," He whispers.

Listen - to your own words before you ever speak them. Do they edify and glorify? Would they be better left unsaid or put off for a better time and place?

Listen - to what others are saying. Don't be so anxious to share your wisdom that you don't hear everything they're trying to tell you. Stop interrupting! Don't be so quick with an answer. Sometimes the other person simply needs to be heard.

Listen - to the words that aren't spoken out loud. Care deeply enough to hear the silent pleas.

Listen - to Me. I know you long to hear My voice, and there have been a few rare occasions when you have. Sometimes that will happen, but more often I will speak to you through My Word. Take the time to hear the words you read. There will also be times My voice will be there in a song or in the words of a friend. Keep listening.

And there is this beloved - sometimes I am speaking, but you cannot hear me for the noise that constantly surrounds you. Turn off the radio, the television; take out the ear buds. Come into the silence of a beautiful day or a cozy corner just for a little while and listen. You may hear Me in a gentle breeze, a bird song or softly falling rain. Listen.

"Then He added, 'Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given - and you will receive more. To those who listen to My teaching, more understanding will be given, but for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.'" Mark 4:24, 25

My word for this year is "Listen." There is another word flitting around my heart. But that may be for another day.