Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Ears to Hear

God has given us eyes to see - and yesterday, we looked at a lesson I'm learning about faith through vestibular therapy. Namely, that sometimes, we have to learn to keep our eyes open in courage when everything seems to be spinning around us and sometimes, we have to learn to close our eyes and trust. 

But God has not just given us eyes to see; He has also given us ears to hear. 

That's the next thing we need to think about when we think about faith. 

We live in a world that doesn't listen much any more. We all know this; we're frustrated by it. Who among us hasn't been in a conversation and known that the other person was just waiting for their chance to respond? Which one of us hasn't been asked a question only to immediately be asked the same question again because the person who asked it wasn't listening to our answer? Haven't we given a piece of information only to be asked for the piece of information we just gave? 

It's frustrating. And we all claim that we don't do it. At least, we don't do it as blatantly and we try really earnestly (sort of) not to do it. 

But the truth is, most of us aren't even listening to ourselves. 

Let me ask you something: what kinds of things are you saying to yourself? Not in the moments that you need to say something to yourself, but in all the times you're just kind of running on auto-pilot (so you think) and aren't really thinking about needing to say anything to yourself?

We make a thousand statements to ourselves every day - often, many more than that. And these little statement become the narratives that guide our lives and operate our days. Most of the time, we don't even notice them. It takes nothing for a new message to sort of sneak in. Something happens once, and we say something to ourselves that seems to make sense in the moment, but then, we keep saying that thing to ourselves until it shapes our moments. And by the time we figure this out, we're stuck in a pattern, in a rut, in a habit that seems, suddenly, almost impossible to break. 

As I've been trying to heal through vestibular therapy and work through what eight months of not being able to properly process my world or my body has taught me to think, I've noticed these things that I say to myself when I'm not even listening. And the strange thing is, I hear them

We know this, too. We listen-ish to someone speaking, and we don't think we heard them, so we ask them to repeat themselves and just as they start to answer us again, we answer our own question in their voice. We weren't really listening, not enough to process it, but we heard it. It's in there. 

The same is true with the things we say to ourselves. 

The cool thing is that once you realize the things you're saying to yourself, you can start to decide what those things are going to be. They no longer have to be quiet commitments or secret messages that just slipped in somewhere. You can change the tape. Once you listen, really listen, to the things you're saying to yourself that you don't even realize, you start to hear them as soon as they start. And once you start to hear them this early, you can start to replace them with things that might actually be helpful. 

Like...truths about God. 

Because I'll just be honest with you - more of the time than I want to admit, the things I say to myself are not the things God says to me. They aren't the things God would want me to say to myself. And when I start to ask what God would want me to be hearing right now, I start to listen for His voice and my inner voice starts to sound more like His and all of a sudden, the whole everything has changed. 

For no other reason than that I used my ears for what He created them for - to hear. 

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