Half a Mind to Listen
There is a story of a man named John Kenneth Galbraith who, after a long day’s work, asked his housekeeper, Emily, to hold all his phone calls so he could finally take a nap and get some much-needed rest. While Kenneth was sleeping, the phone rang. Ms. Emily answered it, and low and behold; it was the president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson. He urgently requested to speak to John immediately. Still, Emily refused, and when the president reminded her that this was the “President of the United States” calling, she apologized and told him that that might be true, but she worked for Mr. Galbraith and not for him. When John woke up and returned the president’s call, he states in his autobiography how surprised he was to hear the president’s uncontained delight on the other end of the phone concerning his interaction with Emily. He responded by saying. “Tell that woman I’d like to hire her in the white house!”
Just imagine, if you can for a moment, what it would look like if we took that stance, that place of commitment and resilience to our title of gatekeeper in our roles as Christians, as mothers, and as wives. “Yes, I know how popular you are, World, and I know exactly who and what you are, but none the less I work for the King of Kings, and He has simply asked me not to allow this in my home, in my life, in my marriage.” How different would our lives look? How different would our walk with the Lord look if we took the stance to have half a mind to listen and be obedient to the instructions of our master, regardless of the prominence of the voice on the other end of the line?
You may be sitting here reading this, shaking your head “yes” and ready to shout “Amen!” but hold on a minute. What if I told you that Satan doesn’t shout the loudest on this issue from outside the church, in the trenches of the world? No, he knows we wouldn’t hear him there because we aren’t making our beds there. He’s quietly speaking this right inside our bible studies and coffee dates. He’s sitting beside you and the other mom on the playground, talking about your children. He’s sitting in on your conversation with your friend as you discuss the latest blockbuster film. While the Holy Spirit is telling you, “Hey, don’t watch this. I’m not in it.” You and your friend are justifying it because of the entertainment value, comforting each other’s convictions because you both love Jesus, and what’s the harm in the movie?
Dear sister, hear me out. The conviction and instruction of the Lord are clear as day, not mud. It is neither confusing nor complicated. It is dictated to you in your language, interpreted by God himself, and confirmed by other believers. We choose not to understand it. Just like our kids choose not to understand “put your clothes away” or “pick up your shoes from the middle of the floor.” The instruction was not lacking. The receiver simply didn’t want to listen. Often, that is us. We are the receivers who do not want to listen to the instructions of the Lord. The calling of entertainment, popularity, the need to be included, sit at their table, and being too exhausted to care anymore can be overwhelmingly convincing reasons to ignore the clear instructions of the Master we have, with our own admission, chosen to serve. So why are we allowing someone who is not our master to coerce us into a life of disobedience?
We have all stumbled. We have all ignored the prompting of the Spirit. Within the church, we have called some prude, sheltered, overbearing, helicopter moms, hyper-spiritual, and on and on it goes. We as women have the power to build up with our tongues, but sadly often, we choose to use that power to sway our dearly loved sisters from following God’s call on their and their family’s lives. Might it be that sitting in the presence of one who listens causes us to become more keenly aware of how we choose to be disobedient?
But God, He will not remain quiet. He will not be silenced. You may have become accustomed to ignoring his direction in your life, in whom He has called you to be as a mother and as a Christian. It does not mean He has stopped giving instructions. Today seems like a perfect day to stop, take your mind off the voices of the ones around you, of the popular culture, of the politicians, and the mom bloggers (except this one, stay with us here), and confess your disobedience, asking God to reveal to you His instruction and help you walk on the path of righteousness. Even if all else forsakes you, serve the Lord in the highest capacity in every area He has blessed you to have a title. In the world of the entrepreneur, we say, “if they ain’t paying your bills, their opinion doesn’t matter.” In the realm of Christianity, I’ll say, “If they didn’t buy you salvation, turn their volume down.”
An excellent place to start off listening to God’s instruction is found in Philippians 4:8-9, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Do you want to experience God? Do you finally want to know what it feels like to have the peace that passes all understanding in your life, during homework time, during bedtime, at a coffee date with girlfriends, in the hard conversations of your marriage, or even in the quiet, lonely, and deafening silent moments of your days? Then follow the instructions given by the Master. Keep your mind focused on the list of things above. Despise gossip, despise self-righteousness, despise being a lukewarm Christian, and despise being a mom who dwells in constant moments of complaining. Instead, find God’s peace and experience joy.
Pray with me, “Father, you are the creator of my soul, the breath in my lungs, and the Father of good gifts. I am so sorry for the areas I have willingly chosen to go against your instruction in my own life and the lives of those you’ve entrusted to me. Father, forgive me and help me to forgive myself for my shortcomings. Today I ask that you reveal to me an instruction in just one area that I haven’t been obedient in. Even now, as I see it and hear it in my mind, I pray you’d give me the strength to step out and be obedient, regardless of the consequences I might experience. You promise to be with me, and I crave the peace and goodness you speak of in my heart, my children’s hearts, and everyone who touches my life. I know that peace only comes from obedience, so I surrender my and the world’s desires for mine and my children’s lives to you. Today I start afresh, ready and willing to receive instruction from my King of Kings and Lord of Lords. May my obedience be a delight to you and a sweet sound of praise to your ears.”