It’s hard to maintain a state of watchful expectancy for long. Before we know it doubts start to creep in, or we simply become weary in the waiting. Advent seems to stretch endlessly but our good intentions to focus most on Jesus can get lost in the frantic pre-Christmas rush.
How do we maintain a sense of God’s presence with us? What does it take to stir slumbering hearts and set them aflame again? I think it begins with an intention to pay attention to His voice.
Because when we make time to listen, we soon discover how much God wants to speak to us. Though distractions may abound and life gets in the way of listening well, we will find we get drawn into a sweet intimacy found only in quiet surrender.
I don’t always make adequate time to get alone with God. Or if I do, then I am there to pour out my prayer requests and thanks, instead of being fully present to His presence.
There’s nothing wrong in taking our burdens to God. He actively invites us to. However, if we simply detach ourselves after having done our bit, we’re likely to miss out on something really special.
God desires relationship with us first and foremost. And all relationships are built on developing closeness and intimacy, as well as trust. Our attentive listening with expectancy paves the way for us to better hear from God.
I’m sharing a word I received in prayer below. May it bless and encourage you to persevere in listening prayer and seek times of stillness with God.
‘Come with expectancy’ – Prayer Whisper
“Attending to My voice is a practice that needs to be learnt. You cannot simply rush into My presence as you are and expect to hear from Me. Sometimes, in My mercy, that will happen. At other times I am wanting to stretch your faith, quieten your heart and mind and ready you to hear what I have to say.
I dwell in the stillness, not in the clamour. Come to Me with expectancy and with an undistracted, undivided heart and mind. Bring the burdens you are carrying, lay them at My feet and leave them there. Bring your assumptions and preconceptions to Me too. As you lay them aside, you will be open to hear things you didn’t anticipate or imagine.
The words I speak to you are Spirit and they are Life. They will nurture and nourish your soul and prepare you for all that lies ahead. Open your heart and mind to receive My Truth. It is your soul’s bread and will sustain you in the days ahead. When you leave the Quiet Place, keep on listening, keep on attending to and heeding My voice.”
It’s almost Christmas and extra busyness lies ahead. Our thoughts stray to future days, wondering just what they might hold for us. What if we began the new year with Holy hope and expectancy in our hearts? What if we decided to be more alert for the numerous ways in which God might speak to us?
I would like to encourage you to seek some sacred spaces in your days, even (especially?) in the midst of busyness. Because in the deliberate slowing down we might just hear something amazing from our God.
**Friends, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’ll be taking a break now until early January to spend time with family. On my return I will be reflecting on how the word “rooted” has impacted my life this year and revealing my new #oneword365 for 2018. See you then!**😊💜
Dear Joy, I am looking forward to your end-of-year post about your word, “rooted” from this year. I know that the Lord has continued to teach me more about my word of “stillness,” and your words here: “I dwell in the stillness, not in the clamour. ” fit so well with His words to me this year too! I don’t know about you, but I feel that what I have learned is such a small drop in the bucket for what He has yet to show me. I am so glad that He continues to call us to Himself, come away from the clamour, and to listen to His sweet voice there. May you have a very Merry Christmas my friend! xoxo
Dear Bettie, it seems like our words for this year have merged together, because I think I have been largely “rooted” in “stillness” too! I totally agree with you in feeling that I have barely grasped its meaning, never mind fully explored the depths of it before it changes to another. However, I also think each word builds on the one before it and we continue to grow in understanding and application to our lives. I have really appreciated the way you have noted stillness impacting your days. I’ve largely kept quiet about “rooted” but I hope that some of its implications have come across in my blog posts. This season seems to want to tug us all toward effort and expenditure in every way, so it’s more vital than ever to turn to God for refuelling and rest. I’m in awe of how much God blesses those times of quiet and stillness with insights and profound thoughts, though the best thing is simply basking in His love for us. Although we dislike the travelling aspects of going to stay with family, I’m sure we will have “a very Merry Christmas” once we’ve arrived and rested! Bless you, lovely friend. xoxo ❤
I’ve been reflecting lately on how Mary pondered and treasured the miracle of Christ’s birth and meditated on it. It’s a good place to be, isn’t it? I’m looking forward to hearing how the word “rooted” has impacted your life. I pray you have a Peace-filled Christmas, also extra strength for traveling and staying with family. Christmas love and hugs to you, Joy!
Trudy, I think Mary definitely has a lot to teach us. Her humble and willing surrender to God’s will, despite the public humiliation and shame it would provoke for her, is very telling. It speaks of a life lived out thoughtfully and prayerfully, as well as a closeness of mind and heart toward the ways of God. Maybe pondering, marvelling and wondering are good practices for Advent! Well worth emulating. Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and prayers. The anxiety is mounting a bit as we contemplate all that remains to be done in such a short time. But God granted me a better night’s sleep yesterday and it made a difference to how I was able to plan and prepare today. May there be more good nights of rest and increasing strength to come! Though our grandson tends to wake up during the night sometimes and is an early riser as well. Ho hum… 😏 Christmas love and hugs to you too, dear friend! I chuckled as I typed the last sentence into my tablet because the default word following “Christmas” was “socks”, which aren’t usually well received by anyone! xo 😊💜
Dear Joy, what a beautiful post and a reminder for me to stop during these busy days to listen to God, to notice the beauty and to just be still and quiet. Blessings to you and may you have a joyous Christmas enjoying your family! Love and hugs! xoxo
Dear Gayl, I hope and pray you can have some peaceful moments sitting and watching winter unfurling in your lovely garden, and marvel at the miracle of Love come down. May Holy peace and calm and heavenly joy be part of your heart’s celebrations. May God meet with you powerfully in every aspect of your Christmas Day. And may you know how very much God adores His precious daughter, how proud He is of the way she creates and the kindness that directs her actions. Sorry for not being able to drop by your place much of late. I hope to catch up with your words again soon. Thank you for being here and for your sweet blessing. Love and hugs to you too! xoxo 💜
Sweet Joy, thank you so much for this encouragement. I haven’t written much of late, but maybe words will come again soon. Love and hugs and Merry Christmas! xoxo
Simply beautiful! Your words are a gift and echo what God has been teaching me this Advent Season.
Merry Christmas blessings to you and your family! Praying for joy and peace as you spend time with family and rest in the presence of Jesus.
Dear Mary, it’s lovely how God verifies His words to us in several ways at once. I’m grateful to have been the means of reaffirming those things to you, my friend. Advent waiting seems to be a good time for hearing from God, as we tend to be listening with greater intent. Your presence here is a gift and grace to me. Thank you for your sweet blessing. Joy and peace midst the excitement and noise will be very welcome! Our young grandson is preparing for bed and hanging up his empty stocking as I write. If only we could be half as excited by the thought of Jesus as the Gift being among us! Abundant blessings to you for Christmas and beyond. May you keep walking the brave path of faith and encouraging others along the way. xo 😊🎄🌟💜