Too busy to listen?

A photo of the Cullins on the Isle of Skye to illustrate: Are you willing to give up the summit and turn back if the conditions aren't right?

Are you willing to give up the summit and turn back if the conditions aren’t right?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary and Martha recently (Luke 10:38-42). Martha was too focused on preparing for a meal with Jesus that she was missing out on enjoying spending time with Him. As I await a call from the DDO I am aware that I too have become somewhat too focused on the ordination process and have been failing to simply spend time listening to God.

I have had things to set up, meetings to go to, questions to think about, posts to write for this blog. There was meeting my vicar, going on courses, seeing a Vocations Chaplain, arranging a Spiritual Director, and now… Well, now it’s time to wait; to wait for the DDO to contact me and then it all begins again. And to be honest, that was on my mind when I realised I was being ‘Martha’.

I was so focused on preparing for the feast that is ordination and was missing out on the most important thing: spending time with God so that He could mould and shape me into the best person I could be.

Maybe that was why He spoke to me whilst I went for a run recently.

I should say right away that I am not a ‘runner’, nor does God always speak to me when I go for a run. Nor is it something I do in order to spend time with God, as some do. I run simply as a means to an end. I run as part of my attempts to be fit and healthy so that I can be of use to Him and my family. When I do run and talk to God, and it is more often to not with, it is to ask for Him to help me get one foot in front of the other.

God reminded me of a golden rule of hiking in the mountains. No matter how determined you are to reach the summit you have to be prepared to turn back, to give up the summit, and retreat if the conditions are even giving a hint of danger.

In that moment God brought me back to reality. This wasn’t God suggesting that I should stop exploring ordination. This was God showing that He at least was paying attention to other things in my life. I was going to be running in a 10 km race at the weekend but have a back injury. Normally I would carry on regardless, refusing to give in to my subconscious that seems to conspire to find an excuse to make me give up. This time though it wasn’t me saying stop, it was God. The race was the summit I was heading for but the conditions weren’t right.

God is interested in the small things, in our everyday lives and not just in the big things and the long-term plans for our lives. He is still calling me towards ordination and I am still excited. However, like Martha I have realised the importance of seeking God.

When Lazarus lay dead, Mary stayed at home as Martha went out to seek and meet Jesus (John 11:1-44). God has reminded me that I need to seek His will in all things, and not just focus on the ‘big plan’. He has reminded me not to neglect my daily walk with Him.

So if you don’t mind I’m off to give God the time He deserves. I’m off to give the Bible space to breath. I’m off to listen. See you next Wednesday, I hope you have a good week and that we all hear and feel Him close by.

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