We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.
Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge.
Pastor Josh defined listening as “giving your attention to one sound.” How often do we really do that? How often do we focus so intently on one thing that everything else is blocked out? For me, it can occur when I am watching TV. Depending on the show I am watching, I will not hear my kids talking to me when they walk in the room. This doesn’t occur when I am home alone with them, though — only when my husband is there with me. He’s the one who normally gets me to come out of my trance.
Let’s stop here for a moment and define that word: trance. It is defined as, “a half-conscious state characterized by an absence of response to external stimuli.” When I am caught up in what is on TV I do not respond to external stimuli, especially when I know there is someone else there that can handle the situation for me.
I believe that God wants our focus on what He places before us to be so intense it is as if we are in a trance. We are able to “zone out” and allow Him to take care of everything around us while we focus on that moment or that thing or that person.
In life there are so many distractions. It seems the easier technology makes things for us the harder it is to get us to focus on a single thing. We have become multi-taskers, but we are horrible at it. We have so many things going on around us that nothing gets our full attention. We are almost always distracted.
I watched the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie the other day. At the beginning of the movie Splinter (the master or trainer of the turtles) said some things that stood out to me. I took out some of the parts, but kept what I believed to be key and relevant. Here is what he basically said:
You are extraordinary, unlike anything the world has ever seen. You are bound for greatness. Eyes focused. Your training is not yet complete. As your father you must trust me. You must have patience, patience.
If our eyes are not focused on Him, we get caught up in everything around us, all of the distractions. If our eyes are not focused on Him, we miss what He is trying to show us and tell us.
If we are going to truly seek God, not only must our eyes be focused but our ears must be open.
Pastor Josh mentioned that the Navy recruits were trained to have their ears open. I was present for the “Very Navy Christmas” that Immanuel hosted so I knew exactly what he was talking about. The commanding officer would yell out, “ears” and the recruits would respond with “open”. Two simple words that means so much.
Ears open meant that I am no longer focused on what I was doing but I am now giving my full attention to the one speaking. No matter what is going on around me, you have my undivided attention. They do nothing until they hear the voice of their commanding officer telling them what to do next. They don’t move and they don’t speak, they wait, in silence.
It is in the silence that we find our struggle. It is in the waiting that we find our discomfort. It is the now knowing when He will speak, but it is also in the not knowing what He will say that makes the silence awkward. When it becomes too awkward we speak or we move, we become distracted.
I understand the challenge of sitting in the silence and not being distracted. Often times for me I can tune out what is around me but I have a hard time getting my head to be quiet. Pastor Josh encouraged us to just practice. He suggested spending three minutes a day being quiet before God. When I attempted this early in the week my challenge was once again all the thoughts in my head. But I am not going to give up. I plan to keep practicing. So are you ready?
Eyes focused. Ears open.
We are extraordinary people, unlike any other and we will be great at where God places us. But in order to get there we must trust Him. We must be silent. We must be patient. We must have our eyes focused on Him and our ears open to His voice.
Sheryll Belonga is wife to Jurrell and homeschooling mom to their three great boys. Her hearts desire is to glorify God in all she says and does in spite of life’s daily happenings.
- Practice sitting in silence for three minutes each day this week.