Make space to listen to God – spend the time

By Dave Henning / November 16, 2021

“If we don’t make space to listen to God, we won’t be able to perceive the ways he is speaking to us. . . .  But as we spend time with God in prayer, attend to his ways in Scripture, and deepen our relationship with him, we will become aware of the small signs of guidance that God brings into our lives through people, nature, events, or the stirrings of our hearts.”- Ken Shigematsu

Ken Shigematsu concludes Chapter 10 of Survival Guide for the Soul as he talks about one of the clearest signs that we’re in the will of God.  The sign?= that we feel fully alive.  As C. S. Lewis wrote in Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”

Certainly, joy represents an important sign that we’re in God’s will.  However, Ken stresses, finding our vocation involves more than simply ‘following our bliss.’  Because if God truly called us to something, we must possess some type of gifting that actually helps other people.  Think about what you do well.  Or what you could do well with practice.

As a result, Ken counsels:

“Joy is not only a sign that we have found our vocation but also that we are going about our work in a life-giving, God-honoring way. . . .  When we pour so much time into our work that we begin to sacrifice our most important relationships and priorities, or when we lose our joy because our work feels relentless, it’s a sign that we are out of the will of God.  St. Ignatius of Loyola would counsel us to pay attention to what is happening inside us  . . .

In conclusion, Ken cautions against comparing yourself to someone more successful than you. Or someone who seems to have an easier path.  For Ken hears Jesus asking what those comparisons mean to you.  All you need to do is follow Jesus.  As Duke Ellington once said, “It’s better to be a Number One Yourself than a Number Two Somebody Else.”

Today’s question: What most helps you make space to listen to God?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Live for an audience of one”

About the author

Dave Henning

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