In my mad rushing around to get things done its easy to start evaluating myself based on my productivity. How many phone calls did I make? How many widgets did I get on the shelf? How many pages did I write? Did the dishes get done? Did I miss the bus or was I ahead of the game? It’s a frantic hurry to manage how people see and evaluate my value. It would be easy to base my value on what others said.
Taking time to listen is my way to interrupt the interruptions so I can hear what’s important. Every day I want to listen to God, my thoughts, my body and my environment. Knowing that I should listen is a good start. Having tools to help me listen is like having a key to a locked room. Too many of our friends have inadequate tools for listening, and maybe, by sharing our best practices, we can help the mad rush.
Here are my top 5 ways that I take back time to listen to God.
- Setting my cell phone to ring at 11:55am each day. When the phone goes off, I attempt to disappear for 3-5 minutes (sometimes even 30 seconds). I say the Lord’s Prayer or The Midday Prayer from the Northumbrian Community. It’s interesting how if I asked to be excused to pray, I would have lots of explaining to do; but by just saying “I have to take this call,” I can slip away without having to say more. My goal in this is to have my day interrupted by God.
- Bread of Heaven before breakfast. This was a great idea from an amazing octogenarian who had done this for over 70 years. Taking even 10 minutes to open the Bible and hear God speak through Scripture sets my whole day on the right course. (A new thought is Gmail (God mail) before Email.
- Actively choose my TV shows. With a PVR I don’t need to stop my life for TV. As a couple, Christa and I have 2 shows we consistently follow. This helps on evenings when we don’t have our shows to watch, to open a book, make a phone call or just get to bed early.
- Re-Create! I know that when my body is enjoying physical activity or playing games with friends, that I get sharper, more efficient, and I’m happier. For me, early morning is the best time to fit in my recreation but my philosophy is “Any time that works for you, is the right time.” I’m trying to put psychiatrists and out of work!
- Having a plan (with accountability). My friend has a significant health goal and has asked if he can send me an update each week, with one simple stat. He has a goal, he’s got steps, and he’s accountable. With my listening time, I need to have a partner who will check in that I’m doing what I said I would do. And this partner should probably not be my spouse – though she should probably know my goal.
Now, you tell me your strategies for listening. You don’t have to be awesome at it, just trying. Does that help you to properly evaluate your value?