Minister’s forum: Listen to that whisper in your heart
Do you sometimes feel confused between what you think your head and your heart are telling you? Do you sometimes feel a little blue or depressed or maybe a little uncomfortable or dissatisfied with the way you are living or not living your life?
Do you ever wonder if you are the only person on the planet that thinks and feels this way? Well, you will be glad to know that you are not. In my counseling practice over the years, I have had more people than I can count come to me thinking they are the only ones who have ever felt confused. Well, welcome to the human race. Unless your depression or confusion is on-going over a period of time, which then may require a visit to the doctor to diagnose what might be affecting you, you may be a victim of what I like to call “Divine Discontentment.”
It sometimes shows up looking like we are dissatisfied with our job, our profession, or our boss. It may show up as feeling like we are not satisfied in our marriage or our volunteer work. It sometimes sounds like a little voice in the head is telling us all the little excuses it can think of to keep us away from what we are “supposed” to be doing. And, sometimes it shows up as our just plain feeling bored. We oftentimes then get twinges of guilt because we aren’t doing what we think we are supposed to be doing. We are “cheating” the boss or the client or the family.
Well, I invite you to take a look from a different perspective.
Let me ask you this: If you were God, what method would you choose to get a person’s attention? What if you had this great new idea that you wanted to get across? How would you make it known? Would you take out a billboard ad? Well, no, probably not. But you might give someone an idea to do just that. You might whisper in someone’s heart an idea that you wanted to get across. Whisper in someone’s heart? Yes, I believe God whispers in our hearts.
I’m convinced that is the reason that we get confused at times when our head and our heart seem to be at odds. Our heads are filled with things that we have learned from the time we were born. Do this and don’t do that. Think this and don’t think that. Believe this and don’t believe that. And, where do we get all of these ideas? Well, from our parents, our teachers, our friends, our priests, pastors and rabbis, our books and the media, to name a few. And, where did they learn the things they tell us? You got it: the same place.
We have such an overload of information coming at us from so many directions these days that it is not surprising that we are stressed out, fatigued and frustrated half the time. Which brings me to my real point. How do we function in a modern world filled with information overload and stress? How do we know what our hearts are even saying to us in a world so full of noise that it is hard to hear the whisper?
We have to make the decision to listen. That is the hardest part. We have to commit to ourselves (because no one else will force us) to take time out to listen to what Elijah called that “still small voice” within. (1 Kings. 19) We tend to think of Elijah’s time as less strained and quieter, but the truth is that Elijah and his peers lived lives that were just as stressed and difficult and fearful. They just faced different types of stress, difficulties and fears.
But Elijah’s advice to them still holds truth for us today. Stop, take time, go somewhere where you won’t be disturbed, “close that closet door” and listen. You may find that the voice you hear telling you that you don’t want to do something a certain way is just calling you to a better way. A way to improve what you have been doing, not only for yourself, but for others, as well. It may be that you, yes you, are being called to improve the way a task is done, or the way an article is designed, or the way a class is taught. You, yes you, may make a change that will positively affect your family for the rest of their lives.
So, the next time you are feeling restless, I dare you to ask yourself: If I were God, how would I speak to me? And, then take the time to listen with your heart, not your head.
– Ruth Wallace is minister of Unity at the Lake.