Inspired listening

How can we navigate past roadblocks of uncertainty or willfulness about decisions? As a husband and wife experienced when contemplating a major move, pausing to listen for divine inspiration is a valuable starting point.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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The Greek philosopher Epictetus once wrote, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” But when thousands of thoughts and messages compete for our attention every day, it can seem daunting to know which ones to process first and which can wait – or be ignored completely.

There’s a lovingly imperative direction in Scripture that helps set the priority for helpful listening: “O earth, earth, earth! Listen to this message from the Lord!” (Jeremiah 22:29, New Living Translation). I’ve found there’s no communication more vital or more relevant today than putting God’s healing message of harmony and love at the top of the list. An openness to divine inspiration enables us to discern what’s spiritually true, muting confusion and bringing clarity.

Embracing God’s messages isn’t overwhelming or complicated. In fact, it’s one of the most natural things we can do as God’s spiritual ideas, or children. It’s the activity of inspired listening.

The tender, healing voice of God, which the Bible identifies as Love, communicates to us through God’s “angels,” or messages of grace. Divine Love quiets mental clamor and physical tumult.

More than once, a willingness to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10) has helped me navigate past roadblocks of indecision and even willfulness. Even when it seems we’re embroiled in uncertainty, we can always pause to listen for divine guidance. I have come to appreciate deeply what Mary Baker Eddy, a follower of Jesus and the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, wrote in a poem titled “Feed My Sheep”:

I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way
(“Poems,” p. 14).

Shortly after our granddaughter was born, my wife and I decided to relocate closer to our family. It seemed for many reasons that this would be a good thing to do, including the idea of getting to be with our new granddaughter whenever we wanted.

So we began taking action. We found a home in the new location and made a down payment. We also received a fair offer from someone to purchase our current home.

But then there came to both my wife and me a feeling that we really hadn’t given this decision the prayer and inspired listening to God that we should have. So we took a step back and prayed.

At first, I found myself trying to sell God on my plans and how good they were, rather than humbly and consciously listening for God’s flawless direction, whatever that might lead to. I realized that as well-intentioned as my plan had been, I needed to put it on hold and instead pray to gain a clearer, deeper understanding of God’s goodness and care for everyone. As we do this consistently, we see more clearly whether we’re letting God or willfulness lead the way.

Soon, the thought came very clearly to both my wife and me that this move was not the right thing to do. We stepped back from our initial plans, and since that time – still in our original location, some years later – we’ve seen in various ways why staying where we are (at least for now) has been the right course.

Inspired listening gives us more mental room for prayerful reasoning and inspiration, which empowers us to respond appropriately to ideas and events that come up, suspending any rush to judgment. When our listening is based on humble, inspired prayer, we’ll be able to make choices with confidence and spiritual clarity and to arrive at decisions and conclusions that ultimately bless others as well as ourselves.

Some more great ideas! To hear a podcast discussion about bringing meaning to our lives, please click through to the latest edition of Sentinel Watch on titled Am I on purpose? There is no paywall for this podcast.

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