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How to Listen to Your Life

How to Listen to a Life

Today I'm linking up with Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart...

Its calendar glancing and filling time….looking ahead to summer time
For our family it always seems like the weeks fill up with activities, trips, camps, conferences, and things that are a little out of our ordinary life….fun, good things…summery things

If you are like me you always sign up for too much….I think sometimes there is an intrinsic quality that thinks, “I’m not much if I’m not doing much.”
Faulty reasoning, huh?

It’s definitely a cultural thought…why else do we fill all the days in our calendar with things frantically and then only regret those decisions when we experience the pressure of actually maintaining our level of overcommitted crazy?….

I was starting to feel all the pressure of some of things I committed to…

And the other day when my husband realized something else I had agreed to…he put his foot down and it sort of hurt….but it helped.

“Don’t you know what our family will look like that week?  You will be tired and mad at me too.  You are half the time annoyed at me anyways.”
Ouch…that statement hurt.  I’m not half the time mad….maybe the word is I’m just tired…but either way he spoke and I listened….and it hurt to hear…

You see if you are a people pleaser like me you always want to step up and help….fix people’s problems, step in and save the day…be available and ready to do whatever…

And if you are that person who everyone else seems to think you should do a whole list of things and says to you, “Hey, you would be great at this why don’t you consider it?”  of “We’d love to see you at _____” ….you sometimes get a little confused about what it is that you are to do

 Sometimes God allows you to rip down the runway of things and start flying only to let you crash and burn and learn…and sometimes He never lets some things leave the ground. For good reason.

You know when God is trying to get your attention He many times uses a whole host of accomplices…
I’m reading a mothering book right now by Sally Clarkson called the Mission of Motherhood. And the number one thing that has reached out to me throughout this book is her admonition to have an undivided heart to mother ….to be able to mother well. 
And that has hit me hard…I’ve been dividing myself in multiple ways and feeling the effects. 

Something else I’ve been noticing is the importance of listening….of slowing down and listening to what God is saying to you through those people He has put within your care.  Who really care about you and know you.  Who see the scope of your life and get how you ‘tick’

I talked with a mom on the playground yesterday and in between swings and scraped knees she made the statement to me, “You can’t do everything for God’s glory.” And I got that.  Of course in the Bible we are told to do whatever we do all for the glory of God.. (I Corinthians 10:31). 
But not everything is given for us to do…its not always on our plate…even if its good. and that sounds good time...i'd rather eat a plate full of spinach and strawberries any day over a plate of healthful cauliflower.  God customizes our us.  

So yesterday sitting on my couch with my baby girl I discussed with a friend how to get out of the swamp I was sitting in….how to sift through the excess and find what I knew was God’s portion for me this summer….And she listened and echoed what I know I already knew in my heart….
“I think I’m going to get rid of this activity.”
“I agree, that’s probably best.”
We went through the list and cleared off some life shelves and left the must haves, the things that are really more the meat of life

You see we will always have lots of things to be involved in, to sign up for, and lots of wonderful people to listen to….and sometimes all of those things clamoring in our ears drown out what we really need to hear…

This idea always brings me back to Mary and Martha…sisters with different heart ears…And both useful….Martha who interpreted listening to Jesus by the clanging of spoons, punching of bread dough, simmering pots, and splashes of water…and Mary who listened by simply stilling herself, folding her legs and tuning her heart to hear Life…to hear Jesus….and He told them both that Mary had chosen the better…and the more simple too

Sometimes you really must focus in on the heartbeat of the life God has for you to hear it…just like a person must focus and lean deep against the chest of another to catch the beating of their heart and nod , “Yes, I can hear it.” 
I did some leaning lately and heard some sounds that surprised me and some that were there all along but I had missed out on because  my life was too noisy….

One particular ho hum day the girls and I we were whisking through town to go somewhere at night and it had been a rather drab day by my standards….I felt like a letdown …I looked into the rearview and said, “Girls I’m sorry about today.  I know mommy wasn’t that fun.  I guess it was sort of a boring day. I’m sorry.”
I expected Oldest girl to nod and agree…sometimes she does. 
But that’s not what I heard .
“All our days are fun, mom.”  Middle girl said plainly and Oldest girl agreed.  And that was that. 

And lately we’ve been listening to each other by packing up dinner and running through grass playing hide n seek and eating cold cut sandwiches out of an icy cooler…feet are black by evenings’ end and no one knows exactly what time it is…its just a spring evening and no one is harried or worried about anything…we are all listening to each other laugh and discover all things wonderful and new outside in growing twilight… we get in the car and kids are wearing a layer of play dirt on knees and I’m wearing peace like an old tee shirt, smiling with feet on the dashboard feeling about 100 times more me than I did two hours ago when I wondered if we should do our mid week picnic….sometimes you really must focus , break away and immerse yourself to listen….

hide and seek with daddy

God has been trying to teach me about priorities and really what is the heartbeat , the central things I must focus on to live a less divided life…and just like I’m laying in bed quiet so I can hear all the things I don’t usually hear…
My baby’s rising and falling breath
My husband’s soft snoring
My girl’s rustling sheets as they do bedtime sleep scrambles
Bird’s calling through the inky night
Dog’s barking at raccoons
Cars rushing by
And even the house crackling and popping as the air condition rumbles on and off…

I’m quiet and I hear a lot…and I know my soul has to quiet to hear God’s heart beat for me…sometimes the thing you most have to listen to is the life you already have beating in so many different ways around you in the hearts of the people right beside of you….inviting you to step into its rhythm and not let it pass you by…


  1. Summer, you speak truth. I am a recovering people pleasure. Or, at least I am trying to recover. As women, wife, mothers we think we have to take care of everything and everyone. And we are tired! That comes out as grumpiness, irritation to our spouse and kids. Summer should be a time to slow it down....but we don't. It has to be a purposeful thought to slow down. The summer slow down!

  2. I love this! thank you!

  3. yes I know how often I am trying to do things for other people and realize that my own family is suffering...a few months ago I was seeing this play out in another situation and watching from the outside i kept thinking "when they say 'yes' to everyone else they are saying 'no' to the ones they love most"...funny that applies to me too :)


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