John Eldredge had a brilliant podcast a few months ago that has really been working on me. Eldredge talks about how with our smart phones, we have become used to the fact that we have an upgrade every few days. Our phones are conditioning us to always be looking for what is next.
Eldredge says we need to be aware of how this is bleeding into our spiritual lives. We begin to think of God in this way, so we end up looking for a new word from Him every few days.
Yet what is always stunning to me when I look back over my journals is that God seems to frequently say the same things over and over. I pride myself in being a learner because of how much I read and podcast, yet I could boil down the things God has been trying to get through my head over the last five years to maybe three sentences.
People often see take this act of repetition as an act of a frustrated dad trying to communicate to a pre-schooler. We paint this picture of God wanting to grab our cheeks, force our gaze into his and say: “LISTEN TO ME!!”
But I wonder if that is really what is going on. Maybe instead, we are grabbing his face and saying: “SAY SOMETHING ELSE!”
So he smiles, and repeats himself. Because he understands the process and the importance of not jumping too quickly to the next thing.
Discipleship is slow.
UnGodly slow. But we are always in a hurry to figure out what is next. Most of the time, I think we genuinely want to hear what God has to say to us. Our problem is that we don’t stay on it long enough.
We want the sound bite and then be able to move on to the next thing. Maybe our problem is not stubbornness or a refusal to listen. Maybe our problem is not staying on one thing long enough.
Sometimes we need to learn to sit and be content where we are. We can often miss the beauty of the here and now, because we are so focused on what is coming next.
Sometimes we need to do the long, hard work of grieving. We like to avoid thinking about pain, but often healing comes from acknowledging our pain, and learning to sit in it long enough to actually heal.
Sometimes we need to let a profound revelation soak in from our minds to our hearts. Instead of skipping to the next blog, or rushing to finish the next chapter, we need to stop and think deeply about the implications for what we have just taken in.
Maybe when we see patterns emerging in what God is saying to us, we need to stop chalking it up to our refusal to listen. Maybe it is God’s call to stop trying to work on so many things, and be present to a singular truth.
How have you seen this play out in your life? What things does God tell you over and over?