When I was growing up, we weren’t allowed to tell people to “shut up” because my mother considered that phrase extremely rude. Instead, we were told to find other–less offensive, perhaps–vocabulary words to obtain the desired result. The word most often used was “hush”…and, trust me, the tone used as you say a word has a lot to do with it. (“Hush!” can still sound just like “shut up!”)
I had every intention of blogging on my regular schedule last week, but it didn’t work out that way at all. In fact, I turned on my computer three times on Monday to start a post and each time, the words that were in my head just failed to appear on screen. I created a short draft of a couple of ideas and it still just didn’t sound anything like I wanted, so I stepped away each time determined to try again later. It worked the same way on Tuesday morning.
By the end of the day on Tuesday, I was convinced that I was being told to “hush!”…by God. I didn’t even try to bring my computer up again for the next few days. Instead, I just hushed…and I listened.
Phone calls, emails, texts–all arriving through my phone–began to arrive as if orchestrated…hmmm. Each one held a different topic and came from a different source, but the message for me was the same: Listen.
Don’t try to solve. Don’t try to instruct. Don’t try to protect or trouble-shoot. Just listen. Offer support, but first, offer your time, your ear, your silence. Just listen.
Here are some of the things I heard:
- I’m not sure what to do next.
- I’m scared.
- I’m just so exhausted.
- I’m hurting.
- I’m not sure I like all these changes that are coming.
- I’m angry.
- I’m frustrated and I don’t know what to do about it.
- I’m lonely.
- I don’t understand.
- I want to try something new.
In each case, my “fix it” personality could have come up with a workable plan…a realistic step-by-step how-to-do-this plan. But, no. “Hush” was my order of the day. “Listen” became my mantra. “Just be and let them hear from Me” was my instruction.
Honestly, I don’t know if the people I’m talking about heard from God at all last week. I hope so. I choose to believe that He spoke to them…He just didn’t use me to say the things I’d normally say and you know what? They all lived. They all survived and went on to live perfectly well without hearing or following my plan.
I’m still waiting for my instructions for this week. I’m listening for God’s voice and typing all at the same time. It’s coming out on the screen the way it reads in my head, so I’m sharing, but don’t be surprised if you call this week and I just listen again. I learned a lot while I was being hushed–and it wasn’t all about what I was hearing from the ones who were doing the talking.