One day, I was out shopping with my youngest son of four children. Weaving our way through many aisles, we eventually found ourselves in the cereal aisle.
With a house full of cereal eaters, which cereals I buy is always up for debate. I don’t know about your house, but in mine, food-consuming humans change their minds about this issue like the wind changes direction.
There we stood, unable to decide which cereals to bring home.
So, I did what any normal mother would do, I called my most finicky teenager for his opinion. Why waste time and money, right?
The conversation went something like this:
“Hey, I’m at the grocery and I’m in the cereal aisle. What do you want me to get? There’s this, there’s that…”
And in a very hurried voice, he shouted “I don’t know. Just get something sugary!” and promptly hung up on me.
I could hear other boys in the background. He was, quite obviously, distracted.
Well okay then, I let my youngest pick them out.
Later that evening, the picky one messaged me. He sort of apologized for hanging up on me and said “I didn’t mean to seem rude. I was just being rushed by everyone else.”
The Holy Spirit asked me, in that moment, “How many times do you do that to me, Kelly?” … Mic drop!
With endless demands of family, pets, work, church, and my eternal to-do lists, how many times do those things rush me, and I hang up on God? Or I cut my time with Him short.
All too often, I’m afraid.
I can easily say, “I’m so sorry, God; I’m not trying to be rude” and blame so many things for taking me away from Him and what He wants to talk to me about.
When all was said and done, I was not angry with my son. A little exasperated, maybe. I definitely appreciated his pseudo-apology. And, it was definitely not the way he usually engages with me. Yet, I never really thought about how often I do this to my Lord.
Am I taking advantage of Him because of verses like Romans 8:1 that says:
“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus?” (NLT)
Or, is God even hurt that I cut Him off? Is He exasperated when I hang up on Him?
Ephesians 4:30 in The Message Bible says:
“Don’t grieve God. Don’t break His heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.”
Ouch! Perhaps there are several yeses to those questions.
Helen Simons, in her blog for Brunstad Christian Church writes:
“We live in a fast-paced society, and most of us live a fast-paced lifestyle, with fast travel, fast communication, fast access to a wealth of information, etc. If, in the middle of this, I do not consciously set my mind on the things of the Spirit, I will not be able to hear his still small voice in my heart of hearts. When I do not listen to Him, I end up grieving the Holy Spirit, because He has so much to tell me that will bring me joy and happiness, and bring me to a life of freedom from sin and self.”
I might add fast food to her list!
I will say that, as I have hit the “change” of life, my body has begun to force me to slow down. I could fill my schedule regularly, but my body won’t cooperate.
I love being able to “do it all!” But at what expense? There is value in slowing down and not “hanging up” on God just to get to the things that are rushing me.
The sink full of dirty dishes can wait. The never-ending laundry can wait. Even meals can sometimes wait as I read, listen to a sermon, and respond to class participants and coaching clients. It actually feels good to stop, look, and listen to God.
When I do take the time to listen, I hear Him say “Worship me in song right now,” and He will lead me to just the right music on my playlist or the radio.
I can hear Him whisper “Go look in my Word” or in a certain book, and I’m instantly transported into the spiritual realm as He speaks directly to my heart and soul with just the right words.
If I slow down and listen, I can hear Him ask me “Will you pray for this person” or “I want you to confess to me.”
He is always in the business of setting my soul to be rightly related to Him. Here is where His power is stirred within me and my faith increases!
Ephesians 5:16-18 in the NLT says,
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
Amen and Hallelujah!
So I am making it a point to not hang up on God; to not, in essence, tell Him “I’ll call you back when these other things aren’t rushing me!”
I don’t want to fall into the trap of blaming other things in order to avoid talking and listening to God.
My heart’s desire is to be sure I do not hang up on God because He has so much more – and such greater things – to talk to me about than a favorite cereal.