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Are you listening? Erika Opperman

Can I start with a confession? I’m a bad listener. Ouch. That physically pained me as I typed the words.

And as if one confession isn’t enough, here is another…I’m a talker. Like the type who always has something to say, loves to offer my opinion (asked for or not), fills awkward silences with random ramblings, and a classic over- sharer. I’ll talk to anyone or anything; and left to my own devices, I’ll even talk to the walls-ha!

On a rainy Tuesday morning, as I was sipping my first coffee of the day, in the stillness of the morning, before anyone else was stirring- I realized my “quiet time” with the Lord wasn’t so quiet. Like ever. I spent the majority of our time together talking to God. I told him where I needed him to show up, where I needed him to pick up my slack, my failures, fears, I begged for wisdom, laid my needs at his feet, and petitioned on others behalf’s. Please hear me, this isn’t bad in and of itself. But that morning as I skimmed my journal, I grew discouraged as I realized every day I was seeking out the same things. But I didn’t have any more wisdom or have any more answers that Tuesday as I did several weeks ago. Why?

Oh, how the enemy would have loved to derail my thoughts with lies like, “Where is God? Why isn’t he answering you? You’re too needy. You’ll have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and take care of it on your own.”

But for once, I stopped. And ever so softly and kindly, I felt the Spirit begin to bring correction. “I am answering. I’m speaking. But you’re not listening.

I couldn’t refute this careful and compassionate correction from the Holy Spirit. I spent so much time talking to God, then I would read the Word and scramble to get some revelation for my day before my boys opened their baby blues, that I never spent time listening. The irony, huh? Each morning I came before my Savior, I asked for specific wisdom, needs, poured my heart out to him, but I never intentionally left space to hear Him speak.

I whole heartedly believe God speaks to us in our routines and full schedules, but I need to create intentional space to just listen to the voice of the One who holds all wisdom, creativity, fullness, and abundance. Especially this time of year. I would dare to say I love Christmas more than the average 35 year old, but the holidays can lend themselves to a special kind of crazy. Oh, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about- the parties, present shopping, baking, church activities, community events, gift wrapping, list making, family, and the list goes on.

In all of the hustle and bustle it’s easy to allow the Holy Spirit to be drowned out by our “holiday spirit.”

Jeremiah 33.3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” I think we’re all seeking great and hidden things that haven’t yet been made known. But, I believe, the key is listening to the One who holds the great and hidden things in the palm of his hand. God isn’t stingy. He is a God of abundance. He’s speaking. He’s moving. He wants us to know His will. Wisdom is ours for the taking. But am I listening to Him? Or am I too busy moving my mouth?

So, I’ve issued myself a challenge. Each morning as I wake before the rest of the house to spend some time with my Savior, I’m creating a time where I’m completely silent. That’s right. I

will invite the Holy Spirit to reveal things to me. And then I’m quieting my mouth + my heart to simply listen. I would love for you to take this holiday listening challenge with me. Are you in?