Friday, January 12, 2018

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on Holding Through the Silence

I had to make several phone calls today to pay some bills. On one call, I was greeted by the usual prompts to get to the right department, and then the voice instructed me to "please continue holding through the silence" until my call was answered.

What an unusual way of phrasing that, I thought. It felt beautiful somehow, even though I knew she was just telling me that I wouldn't be hearing the usual loop of music until my turn came. 

The company didn't want me to hang up in disgust, thinking that my call had been disconnected.

I barely had time to think about all of this before a nice person came on the line and let me pay my bill, but my mind continued to think about it long after I hung up.

Don't we sometimes feel like God is silent? Doesn't it feel like we've been disconnected and He's not there anymore?

We need to "continue holding through the silence." God is still there, even if it doesn't seem like it.

Maybe He even wants to speak to us in those seemingly silent times.

I found an article on Lifehack.org that talks about the benefits of silence. Silence can actually grow new cells in our brains.

Our brains have a "default mode" that actively internalizes and evaluates information, even when resting.

Silence can relieve stress and tension in the brain and body, while too much noise can cause stress and make us more prone to ignore other stimuli that may be good for us.

In this noisy world, are we stressed out and ignoring God's voice when He attempts to talk to us?

Let's all try to unplug once in a while and enjoy the silence, listening for what God wants to teach us in the midst of it.

Please continue holding through the silence...

"My God, whom I praise, do not remain silent," (Psalm 109:1 NIV)

Do you ever get frustrated with times of spiritual silence and think that God's not there? How can focusing on God help you to "continue holding" and listen for His voice?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on Road Trips


I'm in Indiana this weekend.

Two days ago I hadn't planned on being in Indiana, but here I am.

Our daughter Allison wanted to go to a good friend's wedding, but she didn't feel comfortable driving by herself to Chicago. The plan earlier in the week was for her to drive to a suburb and have two friends pick her up and they would all ride to Indiana together. 

Then one of the friends had to change her flight to Louisville instead of Chicago because of the big storm out East. There went Allison's driver!

It only took about a minute for me to agree to go along as chauffeur (I did make Allison drive for a couple of hours to get more experience on the interstate).

So my weekend looks much different than I had planned a couple of days ago. 

I thought I would be catching up on housework, paying bills, and maybe getting my Christmas letters ready to send out (Yes, I know it's January). 

Instead I'm hanging around in a hotel room. I took a couple of books, my journal, and my computer along...hoping to do some reflection, reading, and writing.

I wonder if I'll get any of that done?

I guess we'll see as the weekend progresses.

What I was thinking about at times during our drive down to Indiana was that we always need to be ready for a road trip in life.

God may ask us to go somewhere unexpected all of a sudden, and we need to be ready and willing to do that as we follow Him. We'll see new places, experience new things, and make other people (and usually ourselves) very happy when we do that.

I know Allison and her friends are having a great time seeing each other and looking forward to Brett and Mason's wedding on Saturday afternoon. I'm happy because I know this was important to them and I got to help them get here.
Mason Werst and Brett Jonas...Congrats to them on Saturday!

I wonder what other road trips God has in store for me in the years ahead? I better keep an overnight bag packed, just in case.

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:8 NIV)

Have you ever taken an unexpected road trip? How can focusing on God help you be ready to go wherever He wants you to go at a moment's notice?