Have you ever heard, “You didn’t hear what I said? You are not answering the question I asked?” I have. Time to hear better. Time to listen again, but this time listen to hear! In her book Who Switched Off My Brain? Caroline Leaf (pp 40-41) shares:
“Neurologically, your heart is sensitive to what you think and feel. Your thoughts directly affect your heart…
…your heart is not just a pump. … Science demonstrates that your heart has its own independent nervous system, … There are at least 40,000 neurons (nerve cells) in the heart — as many as are found in various parts of the brain. …
New scientific evidence on the heart’s neurological sensitivity indicates there are lines of communication between the brain and the heart that check the accuracy and integrity of your thought life. The reality is your heart is in constant communication with your brain and the rest of your body. The signals your heart sends to your brain influence not just perception and emotional processing, but higher cognitive functions as well.
Okay, so I like to express it this way, there is an EAR in the middle of your H”EAR”T. Use that ear to listen to hear.
In January 1977, I was working at the only job I had worked since High School—a job I secured largely because my childhood pastor took a chance on me. He believed in who I could become not where I was when I started. After a little over four years I was happily enjoying my job, my church, my Bible Quiz teams, my first house and and rental income on the 2 extra bedrooms in my home. That is until that fateful day when one of my roommates, who was in college, looked at me and said,
“Peggy, you are in a rut.”
How could that little short sentence turn everything upside down? How could six words invade my contented life and make it restless? I don’t know but it did. It began a journey that would lead me to a decision in September 1977 that change my life forever. You see that small sentence started me exploring if there was a new next right step for me. I opened my ears and my eyes and started listening and watching for what my options were. I pursued three specific job opportunities between January and September
- A job in Wisconsin–no, that wasn’t it, too far from family
- A new start up in Springfield, MO where I was living at the time—because wisdom of my former Pastor and current boss, he protected me from making a BIG mistake
- And a job in Iowa minutes from where my parents lived. I looked seriously at at this one at the beginning of the summer of 1977 but decided that’s wasn’t right either.
I decided to keep waiting restlessly, questioning why in the world my “friend” had to even speak such a sentence in the first place. I had been very happy in my “rut”, thank you very much.
Well, between January and May of that year my Dad started to have some health problems. Nothing that couldn’t be treated until he was diagnosed with a cordoma tumor at the base of his spine sometime early in the summer. The prognosis was good, he was scheduled for surgery in September with the expectation that they would get most of it and it would be over 20 years before it would return. Whew, that was good news following bad news but why did I still feel so unsettled?
The church I was attending in Springfield, MO was also unsettled during that summer. We had an interim Pastor for only that summer. He preached through the book of Philippians relating it his own transitional season. Wow, every week I felt like he was talking directly to me. I needed that summer for where God was taking me in my next season.
During the late summer I made a visit home. Still no clear direction. Even though Dad’s prognosis was good I decided it couldn’t hurt to see if the Iowa job was still an option. I was shocked, they had not hired anyone. How could that possibly be, had God saved that job for me?! In my hEARt I knew that He had. It was quickly confirmed through a conversation with my parents asking them what they would think if I took that job and moved home. Dad’s response was all the confirmation I needed. “You sure don’t have to but it would be very helpful.” I knew then I was giving my notice and moving to Des Moines. The waiting was over, whatever the waiting was to accomplish was now complete and now it was time to go. I thank God for that season of restlessness, without it I would have been content to stay put and could have easily missed taking my new opportunity in God’s timing.
You see, the surgery did not go as anticipated and Dad almost died three times on the operating table. God spared his life and we God granted us 10 more precious months with my Dad. I will ALWAYS treasure those 10 months I got to spend with my Dad. God knew before I did how important it was going to be for me to be in Iowa. He loved me enough to keep gently leading until I listened, really listened to hear.
In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus gave His disciples some final instructions of what His plan was for them after He would be gone.
“Go therefore and make disciples…”
But that GO was preceded by a WAIT in the second chapter of Acts. Just before Jesus ascended back to His Father He told them to WAIT before they went. Acts 2: 4 says,
“Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised…“
A lot of good things happened because they waited before they went. They waited, they listened, they didn’t know what exactly they were waiting for but trusted God that they would recognize it when it came. Because of their obedience, following Jesus’ instructions without fully understanding them, the whole world has been blessed. But when the WAIT was over they WENT. Both are important.
How does that relate to our daily life? Good question. My experience has been that God is always speaking, it’s up to me whether I’m listening. How about you? Are you restless but don’t really know why? Why not quiet yourself, turn off the distractions and just listen, really listen to the ear in your H”EAR”T and see what God is saying to you. Here’s some questions to ask yourself to get started listening:
- What has God said to me?
- Have I responded to what He has already said?
- Is there a song I need to be singing?
- What Scripture am I living?
- Is my WAIT over, is it time to quit making excuses and GO?
If this encourages you, thank you for sharing with others. Whether you are waiting or going, God is always speaking. Listen, really listen to hear,
Want to know more about my Dad? Check out previous post King of Dads
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