I’m always quick to answer this question from autopilot saying, “Good, you?” before I even pause to process and consider it. And on days when I’m really out of touch with myself, I undoubtedly answer, “I’m busy, but good!”
Somewhere along the way I picked up associating “what I do” with “who I am,” which makes a measuring stick out of my actions instead of well, me.
But the question, “how are you?” is asking about the state of your being and requires a full assessment of all of you, before you can truly answer. But let’s be real…assessing all of ourselves, including our heart, soul, mind and body, requires slowing down, getting quiet and listening. And that just puts a big wrench in any sort of “doing” agenda we might have had, while also creating space within us for lingering uncertainties or insecurities to rise to the top. All in all, slowing down and stillness most commonly lead me to an uncomfortable state of vulnerability, and so I’m tempted to just pass.
But if I choose faith instead, and lean in to the uncertainty with courage, I find that God is waiting in the stillness. And the more I get still and listen, the more I can say it’s worth it.
However, the more I get still and listen, the more I can say it’s worth it.
Through the pandemic, I’ve had a lot more “down-time” with my kids and myself and therefore my own thoughts and inner-workings. This forced time of slowing down has been challenging, particularly because my kids serve as little mirrors who reflect back how I’m doing at all times, and let me tell you… it’s not always pretty! However, their constant reflecting has caused me to examine myself more closely and through increased self-awareness I’ve discovered an increased God-awareness.
In my experience, self-awareness and God-awareness go hand in hand.
As I pay attention, I become of aware of where God’s moving, nudging and refining me. The closer I look, the more I discover His invitation to become who He’s created me to be, while living in His Presence.
So… let’s try this again. How are you? Especially when you consider the areas of your life where you are encountering uncertainty or imperfect circumstances? (Which I think we can agree is most of life, is it not?)
In Guidepost #5 of her book, The Gifts of Imperfection – Brené Brown discovered people who can thrive in the face of uncertainty and live wholeheartedly regardless of their circumstances have two things in common: intuition and faith.
I like to think of intuition as our inner wisdom. Brené Brown explains that it’s our brain’s ability to make meaning out of confusion by flipping through past experiences, like a catalog, while also considering our instinct, experience, faith and reason. In other words, our intuition is more than just a “gut feeling.” In truth it’s a combination of all the ways God has gifted us to receive input in the world: through our head, heart and mind and also the gift of the Holy Spirit ~ the still, quiet voice of God that dwells in our hearts and guides our steps if we will have the faith to believe and the trust to step accordingly.
For me, I know I struggle to listen to the still, quiet voice within. I’d much prefer an audible voice that will give me assurances and direction both loudly and clearly. Brené Brown’s research revealed that I’m not alone in this…. phew! In fact, it is our need for certainty that silences the voice of intuition faster than anything else. Asking for advice or counsel is wise but we must be careful not to let other’s voices become louder than the still, quiet voice within us.
God has given us our hearts, minds and bodies to help us discern and the Holy Spirit to direct our steps. So the question becomes whether or not we are willing to slow down long enough to listen and sit in the discomfort of vulnerability and then wait…..which in today’s world of instant gratification, is no easy feat. If anything, waiting likely makes us feel like something is broken or worse, we are failing.
Is there an area in your life this week where you’ve ignored your intuition?
Or are resisting the still, quiet voice of the Holy Spirit?
What would happen if you decided to choose the discomfort of stillness instead…and then listened and waited, if even for a few minutes?
I want to offer you the story of Samuel, a young boy from the Bible who was training to become a priest. One night while asleep in the temple, he was called three times by the Lord. At first, he assumed it was his teacher, Eli, who called his name and so Samuel ran to his teacher’s bed to ask what he needed. But it wasn’t until the third time, and after his teacher’s direction, that Samuel sat up in bed and with faith responded, “Speak Lord your servant is listening.” Samuel then waited for the Lord to speak.
Isn’t that true for us, too? When I’m surrounded by the darkness of uncertainty, I am quick to run to the familiar before I seek God.
It’s my fear that drives me towards familiar voices first. Voices like my ego, or a trusted person or even a past narrative from childhood because I know these familiar voices will give me immediate and familiar feedback. There is comfort in familiarity and immediacy and sometimes, these outside voices send us in the right direction. But what would happen if we paused before running to the familiar and went to God first?
Can we sit in the unknowing long enough to listen for God to give us direction?
We can trust that God calls out to us, in whatever night we face, and beckons us towards Him, by name.
Samuel had to believe without seeing. It was through faith that he could respond to the voice of God saying, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
Intuition is the first step, where we listen, but it is faith that allows us to face our fear of the dark and respond with courage saying, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
Today, as you face uncertainty, I invite you to pause and in faith, listen for God’s voice above all others.
When you get quiet and listen, what do you hear God say? What is your intuition telling you?
How is He calling you to step through the darkness of uncertainty? Will you take the step in faith?
Samuel went on to become a priest, prophet and king and was only able to fulfill His life’s purpose through trusted-listening and courageous faith.
I want to offer you a simple prayer practice this week that Brené Brown offers in this chapter for times where you feel scared or unsure and need something right away to calm your cravings for certainty…..
Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, gently repeat these words:
“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change….
(breathe in…as you exhale…) The courage to change the things I can.
(breathe in…as you exhale….) And the wisdom to know the difference.”
(And with a third breath, I’ll add…)
“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
Blessings of quiet listening and faith-filled responding,
If you enjoyed diving into Guidepost #5 from Brené Brown’s book: The Gifts of Imperfection, come join me to finish the book together!
There are 2 ways to participate:
- Jump into our Zoom Yoga Series based on Brené Brown’s book (Tuesdays, 6a – 635a for yoga + 5 minutes Guided Scripture Meditation in Savasana), where we look at God’s gifts in our imperfections and have the courage to lean in and grow, together! Click here for details to sign up!
- If the yoga won’t work for you – still come along for the journey by receiving a weekly email from me with a short reflection and Scripture passage to go with each Guidepost. Sign up HERE or on my instagram bio: @delightingraceyoga
I hope to learn and grow together!