The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. Psalm 29:3-4
Ever take a field trip to the nearby park, lake, pond or woods, got comfortable, closed your eyes, quieted your mind and asked God to speak to you as you give Him your full attention. You don’t say a word. Don’t think a word. Just listen. Listen to all the sounds surrounding you. Feeling the presence of God in the wind that brushes your face. Hearing His voice in the birds, the leaves of the trees rustling. Allowing your inner self to embrace silence.
The world surrounding my life is full. I’m a single mom with a full-time job. Perhaps that makes two full time jobs. One never ends and the other is a normal 40-hour work week. Life can be hectic and sometimes very difficult juggling the many things that have become the norm in my life. Finding quiet time with God can be challenging, is challenging.
When I find time to spend in solitude with God, my mind is full of distractions. Many of these distractions are things that I need to remember to do and others are things I’m battling within. Being still and quiet can be a real struggle for me. Nonetheless, I know it is something I need. Today, I realized how much I need it.
I found myself within a 24-hour span, hearing this message of listening four times. I first heard it during confession as the priest told me to sit in Adoration or in front of an image of Christ and just be still and listen. Later that day, a very dear friend of mine said the same thing – to be quiet, still and listen, and I can’t forget “shut off that clutter in your head.” That evening, as I read the daily reflection on an Ignatian Retreat in Everyday Life, it too said to quiet the mind and just listen, to tell God to speak for His servant was listening. And then there was number four the next morning… which was found in the daily reflection from Ignatian Book of Days, spend 10 minutes just listening to the sounds of nature and ask God to hear His voice.
Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that God perhaps is wanting His dear child to listen. I did go to the park and spend some time just quieting my mind and listening to all that was surrounding me. I really don’t think God had anything to tell me in that moment, other than to just rest in His presence.
Nature is so alive. If you just sit in a space and pay attention to all that is around you, you can’t help but realize that you aren’t alone. The very essence of God occupies the space and the life that surrounds you. I think today that is exactly what God wanted me to know.
There is a piece I didn’t yet share. Most recently I began to feel a bit of loneliness, just hit out of left field, not sure where the ball came flying in from but it did. After Mass today, I decided to spend the time in Adoration that was part of my penance for my confession. What I realized after leaving the chapel was that perhaps these feelings of loneliness are God trying to get my attention. God inviting me to seek His presence and just be present – don’t bring anything with me but to just sit still in His presence and listen, enjoying His very essence in my life in that moment. He doesn’t want me to just do this once and then go on with my busy little self, my busy little mind. I think He wants me to do this often. Why? Because I think this is the core of my friendship with Him. Any relationship takes two people communicating. If I chatter in prayer whenever I pray and never still my mind and body and listen, I’m not allowing God to fill His space in our relationship.
Perhaps you struggle with just sitting with God. If so, I invite you to create an atmosphere, either at home in a quiet space where you can get comfortable yet not fall asleep, somewhere peaceful in nature or the chapel. Try to just spend at least 10 minutes of quiet time with God. If you struggle with clearing your mind try to focus on your breathing. You may be surprised how impactful this will be in your relationship with God.