I occasionally marvel at the incredible ability my children sometimes have to hear something coming out of my mouth but not listen to a single word I’m saying. We might be in close proximity, or I might be calling from the other room — somehow they are born with an in-built ability to completely tune out the sound of my voice once they reach eighteen months or so.

I was contemplating my own listening patterns this morning, however, and realized my children and I have something in common. Sometimes I sense the still, small voice of the Lord whispering something to my heart, but I want to keep doing what I’m doing, so I don’t give it any of my attention.

Over the weekend, I was busy getting a bunch of stuff done around the house that needed doing. My Mom had come over to help and we were knocking out laundry by the basketload, I was scrubbing tubs, she was changing sheets — it was a very busy morning, but it felt so good to be getting so much accomplished. During an eager floor-scrubbing session, I sensed the whisper of the Lord, almost one of those taps on the shoulder that you feel in your heart. It seemed like an invitation to sit still for a moment.


I’m sad to say I kept on working. My Mom was helping, I was eager to get stuff done, perhaps I was afraid the Lord was displeased with me and didn’t want to hear what He had to say. But looking back, and knowing how good and sweet His words are, how full of life, I realized it was a missed opportunity.

I forgot that, in my case, (I can’t always say the same for my children), communing with the Creator of the Universe is a privilege not to be taken lightly.

Sarah Young points out in Jesus Calling that “Kings who reign on earth tend to make themselves inaccessible; ordinary people almost never gain an audience with them.” But how glorious is it that the Lord, though King of the Universe, is totally accessible to you and me, and is with us wherever we are! (p.281)

And Isaiah 55:3 says,

Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you the unfailing love I promised David.

God’s invitation to come includes promises like rest for the weary, an easy burden and a light yoke, grace, mercy that’s new every morning, compassion that never fails.

I wonder what marvelous gifts from the Lord’s heart I’ve missed, all the times I’ve decided to close my ears and just “do what I want to do.”

In the case of my kids, the number one solution I’ve found to the ears wide shut problem is often asking them to look at me. I usually say, “[Kid name] look at my eyes.” I wait for them to stop what they’re doing and change their gaze to meet mine, and then I am able to communicate with them whatever it is I want to say.

And perhaps there’s a very good parallel to hearing from the Lord. That still small voice can’t be heard if your own voice is shouting, your own heart is beating loudly from exhaustive efforts, your own hands are working and making a din of their own.

Sometimes, He does whisper while we work. But sometimes, we must be willing to come with ears wide open, to put down the  dishcloth or the iPhone, the expense report or the dirty laundry.

He’s asking us to Be Still and Know {Ps. 46:10} and if we can’t be still, then we won’t know.

Have you sensed that gentle nudge, that shoulder tap, the warm sense in your chest lately? Don’t be afraid to stop what you’re doing and turn your gaze to meet that of your Creator. Put down what you can for a while, and let the eyes of your soul rest on His.

Listen, and you will find life.