For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and afterward, couldn’t recall what was discussed? Perhaps you were pretending to listen while focusing on something else. Whatever the distraction, you were not giving the other person your full attention. You heard the words, but none of them registered.
I am guilty of this. It’s not intentional and yet it happens more often than I would like to admit. I think it’s multi-tasking but I often can’t narrow my focus. This made me realize that hearing and listening are not synonymous.
Hearing is the physical act of receiving sounds with your ears. It is a passive response. We can hear multiple sounds at one time, but we don’t always make distinctions and process those sounds.
Listening means to heed, to pay attention, be alert. It requires an active response, such as understanding, replying, or even obeying.
I like to think we hear with our ears, but listen with our hearts.
This got me thinking, what is the condition of my heart when it comes to listening to God? Sometimes, I forget, that prayer is a two-way conversation. I speak with God freely, but do I take time to pay attention and listen to Him as well?
In 2022 I want my heart to be less distracted and intentionally cultivate a listening heart, both to God and others. To help me accomplish this, I want to implement the steps of C-A-R-E.
C–Create times to listen- Turn off or put down any distractions, set a timer if necessary, and for five minutes a day, be fully engaged with God.
A-Ask God to reveal Himself to you throughout your day and identify all the ways He speaks to you.
R-Read Scriptures daily, even if it is only a verse. God’s word always includes a message for you, guiding your relationship with Him, and your relationships with others.
E-Expect to hear God’s voice. He loves you and desires to share His plan for you.
Dear Lord, I am so grateful that you are patient with me when my life is full of distractions. I want to cultivate a listening heart to grow closer to you and those around me. Guide me as I achieve this through the steps of C-A-R-E (Create, Ask, Read, and Expect). Amen