Do you know - really know - what God is asking of you NOW? Really Blog Manager Carla Foote wrestled to discern God's leading, and discovered how to listen in a new way to God by listening BIGGER. Read on ...
By Carla Foote
My plan for 2016 included a trip to India - leaving next week. I was going to teach at a conference for Christian magazine editors. I took part in a similar conference several years ago and was asked to return for a week-long training. I divvied up topics with the other 2 trainers, enlisted a prayer team, and started on the logistics, which included getting a tourist visa from the Indian consulate.
My first request for a visa was denied. No reason given. So I discussed my situation with the conference organizer, sent an email to my prayer team for more prayer, and applied again, to give God another chance to say "Yes."
Denied again. I am not going to India in 2016.
Life is not going according to my plan. This reality eliminates the illusion that I am in control of my life.
The "NO" answer came in early December, during the advent season when I was focused on listening to God. Certainly I got a clear answer on my India trip.
As I ponder what it means to listen to God, I think it is easy to trivialize listening if it is all about me and asking God for specific direction on the details of my life. Should I buy this car or that car? Should I accept a new client? When should I go on vacation? Where should I go? How much should I save for retirement? How much should I donate to charity? God does care about me and the details of my life, but I want to listen bigger to God, because it isn't all about me.
Listening bigger means hearing his heart for how I should live my life. And he has already revealed the core of that in the greatest command, to love God and love my neighbor. When I listen bigger to God, I see that he cares for my actual neighbors - those I see in daily interactions - who are struggling with aging parents and unemployed offspring. And he cares especially for those neighbors on the margin, the powerless, the stranger, the lonely. Listening bigger to God means learning to care as he does.
In 2016, I want to listen bigger, because it really isn't all about me. I want to hear God's heart for the world, and then walk accordingly. Perhaps an ambiguous plan, but one that will keep me daily inclining my ear toward God to listen bigger.
Carla Foote is the Really blog manager and also writes and edits for other clients through her freelance business, www.fineprintedit.com. She enjoys the variety of freelance. On any given day she might be writing an infographic, conducting a magazine interview, editing a book, posting a blog, taking a walk in the park near her home, or all of the above.