Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
It is in that place, deep down, where I stir restless. I've reclaimed words here, in this place--the place where a voice was stolen and returned. Yet this is still where I struggle, where I feel most insecure and most confident, all at once, feeling like what I might have to communicate is worth something, even if it is only because this is the way I feel most myself and most like my Father's daughter.
Listening. Writing it down. Reaching out to His daughters to help them remember, too, who they are and what He whispers to them deep down.
I know, when you pray, it is hard to listen. And I know even, when you listen, it is hard, sometimes, to believe He is talking straight to your heart.
For me, I feel overwhelmed, so much, by this internet space--overwhelmed and discouraged when it is impossible to ignore all the other voices writing and sharing and encouraging, too. No matter what we love to do, no matter what we are made to love, the flip side of doing the thing we are made to do is that we are both strongest and most vulnerable here, as we do it. Yet God smiles as we claim the things He has given us to do with our life. He smiles when we trust Him and follow Him and keep focused on Him.
The world is always going to distract us from following God, even while it is the people of this world we are called to love. The world is always going to discourage us from doing what we are made to do, even while what we are made to do is to uniquely encourage and bless and love in the midst of the world trying to pull us away from the grasp of our Savior's hand. But He's got us. And despite all the noise and the second-guessing, He's not leaving our side. He's not letting go.
In the afternoons these summer days, I often sit outside with my three kids while we listen, together, for what God might be whispering to our hearts. We take our Bibles and something to write on. But we don't have to read, if we don't want to. And we don't have to write, if we don't want to. We don't even have to sit still, if we don't want to. But I encourage these young hearts here, still heeding me for a time, to listen.
We don't call it "quiet time". Because why does listening for God always have to be quiet? But I know it helps to practice being quiet, as letting ourselves be quiet inside can help us be tuned to what God might be saying, can help us to listen. So I do encourage these seemingly constant movers and chatters to slow and listen and not talk--to practice listening while sitting still for a bit--even if how God speaks to them might be when they are upside down on the monkey bars or playing the guitar in their room.
We don't call it "Bible time" or "journaling time" or any other name attempting to label what hanging out with God is supposed to look like. But I do remind them that, in a relationship, the friends we know best are the ones we spend time with. I want them to discover how amazing it can be listening to God's part of the conversation while we share with Him ours.
While we each hear God's voice differently, we can still practice listening. For it is in the practice of listening, the intentional stopping and practicing to hear His truth in our hearts that we remember who we are and what is for us to do this day. Most of all, we remember how we are loved.
Because we forget that sometimes, don't we?
How are your days this summer? I would love to know how you are and what you think about regarding practicing listening for God.
This post was first published at youaremygirls.com.