Monday, January 19, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

Joanne over at An Open Book is hosting a meme called "Monday Manna" today. She has chosen Isaiah 6:8 as the Scripture for discussion, thoughts and insights.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 
"Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
Isaiah 6:8

Joanne's wisdom on the verse blew me away, and I hope you'll go by and read it and the others too.

For me, this verse is very personal. I can only live out this verse if I can hear God's voice in the first place. Sometimes in the name of ministry or service, I am so busy, that I can't even hear His voice. Distraction is one of the loudest clanging symbols of this believer's life. And where there is distraction, there is very little stillness. And where there is no stillness, there is no understanding. Only wandering and wondering instead.

Another reason it's important that I'm still enough to listen is that many voices beckon for my time and attention. Just because someone asks me to do something ministry-oriented, does not mean I'm necessarily supposed to do it. I've learned this over many years of over-commitment from my younger years. I liken myself back then to the child in the classroom that always raises her hand when the teacher asks for a volunteer for something: "Pick me! Pick me!" But the more often I raise my hand, the teacher begins to call on different people around me to answer the question or come forward to participate.

He wants me to stay in tune with Him so I know which calls are from Him. Sometimes the Lord wants me to allow someone else to raise their hand. He loves it when I am willing and eager, but it doesn't mean He will call on me to do the work.

In recent months, the Lord began to ask this question: "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" (matter of speaking anyway) in a ministry I was involved in for eight years at my church. He asked me to step down for reasons I don't completely understand as of yet. As I began to go deeper with Him about six months ago, asking Him what He wanted for me, I sensed Him leading me to step through the Exit door. And with tears and sadness, I did. I can't wait to see who will answer His call for leadership. I know God is going to do mighty things when the one He sends to do the job answers the call. There is no doubt that He called me to that position for the time I spent there, though. My family served alongside, and it was rich, meaningful, wonderful family service. They've learned the significant value of serving in the local church, and now my kids have learned that the same way God can lead you into a ministry, He can lead you out as well. It's about listening and obeying.

As I've stepped away from that, He's asked me to attend to some calls in my home life. I already homeschool part-time, but I've entered a new season of parenting and family life, and it requires more of me on a daily basis. The Lord has sent me to sit beside the fireplace with my husband and dream with him more. He's sent me to my knees to pray with my teenage son more. He's sent me to the floor in front of the Barbie doll house with my daughters more. He's sent me to scrub the commode and attend the laundry load more. He's sent me back to the gym to attend to some personal neglect (ack!). He's sent me to the pew of the church to worship while the rest of my family serves.

Another church ministry call came recently, and this one is wayyyyyy out of my comfort zone. I'm waiting and listening...making sure it is is His voice calling and that He wants to choose my raised hand out of the crowd (though I don't think there's a long line for this particular call, lol).

"Here am I, Lord. Send me." I'm listening, and I'm willing. No ministry or task You've called me to is insignificant. If You're the One doing the asking, I'll raise my hand. If You're the One leading, I will follow. "Teach me Your ways, Oh Lord, and I will walk in Your Truth. Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name." With tons of voices surrounding me, Father, give me selected hearing, and may Yours be the only voice I obey. In Jesus' name, Amen.

In the Key of HE,

14 friends shared a comment:

Kim @ Homesteader's Heart said...

I know that feeling so much. But God dealt with me over that a few years ago when I was trying to find approval by going outside my home for "ministry". Now my home and family are my ministry in this season of life I am in. I have many plans for the future as God directs but for now this is where He has me and it's a great place to be.
I love your heart my friend.

Unknown said...

Wow, may the Lord give you wisdom as you face this important decision!

Hugs to you!

Tracy said...

Great post. Yes, distraction is a potent weapon in the enemy's arsenol. And I believe the ministry of family is the most important one we moms have - even cleaning toilets. Great words of wisdom here. Thanks for sharing! Blessings!

LAURIE said...

Great post! Sometimes it is difficult to hear Gods voice when we won't remain still long enough to listen. Many times, especially since I am married to a Pastor, I find myself doing things for the ministry rather than ministering. There is a big difference. I have to take a step back and ask God to help me to do what it is He wants me to do, and sometimes it does take me out of my comfort zone but then I remember "If He calls me - He will equip me!" -blessings to you my friend, Laurie

Denise said...

Praying for you, and wrapping you in love and hugs my friend.

Joanne Sher said...

This is so personal - and not just for you. I think we can ALL get something from what you are working through, my dear Laura. Thank you for sharing your heart, and for feeding me with His manna this evening. Excellent. And, of course, praying!

Susanz Place said...

fantastic post

it's in the still small voice - remember Elijah

Dee Yoder said...

Getting rid of the extra noise helps to hear God's voice--that's for sure! He does know how to surprise us with His "ministries" for us, too, doesn't He? God is never boring or static!

Debra Kaye said...

I remember when the Lord sent me home...I wrestled with Him a good while...then He put me flat on my back! Oh how I have learned the importance of being still and listening and the absolute necessity of cleaning that toilet and praying with a teenage son and dreaming with a husband. They are too valuable to miss!

Blessings to you as you listen and obey, my friend.

Patty Wysong said...

Distraction. Oh! Man, that's a killer! Laura, this is wonderful--it's the balance to what I posted on this verse. LoL. Some of us need to step forward and some of us need to step back. ALL of us need to be still and listen. So good!

Laurie Ann said...

Awesome post, LauraLee! I especially loved this, "Distraction is one of the loudest clanging symbols of this believer's life. And where there is distraction, there is very little stillness. And where there is no stillness, there is no understanding. Only wandering and wondering instead."


Anonymous said...

Heavy duty insights and thought provoking as well.
Thanks Laura! Sunny

Lori Laws said...

God values Obedience above sacrifice (or serving). Awesome! Keep your ear tuned to hear Him. I know you are. I also have had to learn that there are different seasons, and when God lets one've learned what He wanted you to learn. And then, a new season starts...and that's how we get transformed more like Jesus. Blessings to you Lauralee!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Right there next to you on the floor scrubbing and next to my kids praying and playing. I even do laundry, but avoid the kitchen as much as possible.

You are wise to listen to God. How I long to hear him more. I've asked him for it. Now, I'm waiting...expecting.

Have a great week, friend.