Becoming a God-Listener

Holy candle.

Since April, I’ve been privileged to work alongside a team of people developing an online resource that offers hope to people who need a glimpse of God’s light in difficult places. It’s been such a meaningful and gratifying project to be a part of, and I’ve learned and grown so much through the experience. 

The project will wrap up in a few short weeks, and so I find myself asking one particular question with increasing regularity these days: What’s next? 

I’ve lived a rather unconventional life the last several years.

I left a full-time career in publishing in 2007 to pursue a path of contribution in the lives of people seeking their way. This led me, unexpectedly, to a ministry of spiritual direction and writing about the spiritual life and life of the heart. I have loved every moment of this journey and am so thankful for the way God has directed my steps along this path. 

But it has not been easy. 

It has required an immense amount of faith.

A lot of this journey has included that question: What’s next? Sometimes the work God has given me to do as I’ve trod this path of learning and growth has been freelance writing and editing; other times he’s given me special projects, like the one I’m currently finishing. 

God has been faithful, but each stepping stone has asked — and still asks — for my faith to believe it will emerge from the water at just the right time for me to step upon it. 

I find myself in that place of faith-testing yet again these days. 

Last week, I took a step forward to pursue a potential opportunity beyond the bounds of this current project, and I learned that potential opportunity wasn’t going to work out after all. I was disappointed. And it landed me back at that question yet again: What’s next? 

I texted my spiritual director, Elaine, about the lost opportunity and my disappointment that day. She knew I’d been exploring the possibility, and she had prayed with me recently about it. When I told her that I hoped God had something else in store and that I keep asking him to show me where to go, she responded:

You’re a good God listener. 

Her response encouraged me. It reminded me of the ways I’ve listened and heard and followed God’s lead before.

And then, over the weekend, I stumbled on the following prayer in 1 Kings from King Solomon. When he assumed the throne of Israel after his father, David, had died, God asked Solomon in a dream what he wanted as he began to rule the kingdom. Solomon responds: 

Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil.

— 1 Kings 3:9

That prayer from Solomon has stuck with me the last few days. Give me a God-listening heart. It is my intent to lean deeper and deeper into that prayer. I want to follow the ways God wants me to go in this life of faith I lead. 

So here’s to faith. And to God-listening in the midst of it.