Those of you who know me know that I'm pretty much a control freak. I don't seek to control behaviors or even physical appearance but I do seek a controlled environment. It's not that I want you to think I'm perfect because I will straight up tell you that I'm not. And it's not that I want you to think I have it all together because I don't. I just have this deep-seated need to always be prepared, to always know what's coming next, and to keep my ducks in a row.
Unfortunately, this aspect of my personality tends to think "needing to know" means I also need to tell the Creator of the Universe how things are going to go down. This is something that the Almighty has been working on me for years, most notably since Adam's delivery in 2004. (quick paraphrase: I'd told God I was having an all-natural, no intervention delivery and the baby would come early. 9 days after my due date, 27 hours of labor and a Code Blue later, Adam came by C-section. I realized everything is in His control not mine)
Related to this is my ability to ask God for guidance and then tell Him how I think He should guide me. Sometimes I even give Him all the details of how I think He should answer. Or sometimes I just keep asking over and over again without ever giving Him the chance to say a word. I just keep talking. And journaling. And praying. And asking friends for advice. And obsessing. And looking for signs.
Rarely do I actually ask a question and wait for Him to actually answer.
Then I get angry. I accuse Him of being silent. I tell Him that He obviously doesn't care. I justify my anger by saying it's not a sin-issue, it won't affect eternity so He's leaving it up to me. Honestly, I don't believe that for a second. I mean, obviously obsessing over whether nor not to buy a new winter coat is different from deciding whether or not to move to a new town. But, Jesus pointed out the flowers in the field and the birds in the air and said God takes care of their needs, so He'll take care of ours. So I do actually believe that if we're worried about something as minute as a new coat, God cares. He cares because He's our Father and fathers care about their children. And sometimes even a mundane worry is because of some fear far greater like worries about money, or child-rearing or gaining weight.
But I digress.
This week it struck me that many, many times, maybe MOST of the time, I ask God for wisdom, for an answer, for guidance and then I don't shut my mouth and listen for His answer. That many times He's actually answered me but I didn't hear Him because I was too busy talking or I'd moved on to another part of the conversation.
In Get Lost by Dannah Gresh, she urges the reader to actually shut up (my words not hers) and listen. To say to God, "God do you desire me to do/go/be __________________?" And then shut your mouth (again, my words not hers) and give Him a chance to answer. You may actually have to ask a few times, not because He's not listening but because you're not. You might have to take a drive, go for a walk or lock yourself in the bathroom (that's what I do) and just wait. Don't journal about it. Don't brainstorm. Don't read self-help books. Don't ask for advice. Sometimes, you just need to wait and listen.