I‘ve been married for a little over 14 months now. It’s been an exciting journey and I’ve learned so much along the way. I could tell you all about my lessons on love as a daily choice, grace as a repeated action, emotions of daily living, the power of prayer, or the treasure of experiences over possessions.
But lately, I feel like God has been using my relationship with my husband to shed light on an area of weakness that I’ve never really noticed.
I interrupt. I am an interrupting fiend.
I don’t mean that I jump all over people and introduce different topics… but what my husband has generously helped me to discover is how often I try and finish his thoughts for him. And while it’s really cute when couples do that in the movies, it doesn’t have the same success rate in real life. Ninety percent of the time I don’t guess the correct ending to his sentences. I get so excited that I begin speaking before he can even get out little more than three words. After he catches my eye, shakes his head and mutters a firm, “No, that’s not what I was going to say…” I quickly apologize and ask him to tell me how he would’ve completed his own thoughts. Isn’t that nice of me?
This is an issue that I’m working through in my marriage, but I have realized that this is also a problem in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I interrupt Him… God, Jehovah. I spend time in prayer asking that God would guide me and direct me, but rarely do I take the time to listen to His response.
Sheep FOLLOW the Shepherd
Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27, NIV). I am one of God’s sheep and I have been for a long time. That familiarity can lend itself to assuming that I know what God wants. The years I’ve spent as a follower of Jesus often lead me to believe that I can somehow follow without listening.
But the Bible says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV).
Most of the time as soon as I feel God leading me in a direction, I excitedly charge ahead and yell back to my Shepherd, “It’s ok Jesus, I got this!”
Sheep fail when they try to lead. When sheep run ahead of their shepherd they get lost, they end up in dangerous places, or they get hurt.
Obedience = Listening
My goal is to stop interrupting. I’ve selected specific action verbs to pray through this upcoming New Year. My words are LISTEN and FOLLOW. The word “obedience” comes from the Latin word obedire, which means “to listen.” If my desire is to obey Him then I must learn to listen to Him.
Let me invite you to listen for His voice. Let Him be the one to lead you beside the waters that restore your soul. Let the Good Shepherd call you and beckon you onward… wherever He leads.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21, NIV)