His is a still, small voice

Approximately once a week I awkwardly gracefully fold myself into a chair in my boss's office for supervision.

She is the one who taught me the beauty of using lamps rather than overhead fluorescent lights for a softer, more welcoming ambiance. She speaks in a gentle, soothing voice and always opens our meetings with prayer. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love working in ministry?)

Last week, I blazed into this tranquil space three minutes late (as usual), clutching my trusty coffee mug in one hand and a spiral notebook covered in harried scribbles only I can decipher (on a good day) in the other, and gasping for air (note to self: exercise more).

We hadn't met in a few weeks and I had a LOT to process.

Never one to let me dive right in to my to-do list, she insisted we invite Jesus into our conversation first.

Obediently, I bowed my head and she began to pray.  As if on cue, the phone rang.

At first, she incorporated it into her prayer, asking God to remove the distractions from our meeting so we could focus.

The phone continued to ring.

She stopped her prayer to apologize to me, and for a moment we sat in awkward silence.  When it seemed the interruption had passed, she resumed her prayer. And the phone resumed its ringing.

She interrupted herself again, this time standing up to verify who the caller was.  A number she didn't recognize. She decided to ignore it for now, sat back down, and carried on with her prayer.

The phone rang again.

"Natalie, I'm so sorry, I have to answer this.  It could be an emergency." She paused as she hoisted herself out of her chair, and then joked, "Or, it could be the devil just trying to distract us."

I would be lying if I said I wasn't annoyed. I really needed her insight this week. Why couldn't the world just leave her alone for 30 minutes so I could have her all to myself? My irritation mounted when I learned it wasn't an emergency after all, but rather a sales caller.  She graciously hung up the phone (how does she do that?) and collapsed into the chair across from me, tender lines of concern etched on her forehead.

"I'm so sorry," she repeated. "My phone never rings like that..." She trailed off and I shrugged, avoiding eye contact, and mumbled some nonchalant response.

"No, but Natalie..." she paused until my eyes met hers, "My phone doesn't ring like that." Another pause as the hairs on the back of neck pricked with attention. Somehow her face both softened and her apprehension deepened simultaneously. "This makes me very concerned for you."

Unwilling to take any chances, this time she reached out and rested her hand on my knee to connect us, and began to pray quietly and with more intentionality than I've heard in a long time.  As I listened to the sweet words of love and consideration, my frustration melted into hot tears of enlightenment:

Unbeknownst to her, my boss had just reenacted the ugly reality of my personal prayer life as of late.

It seems every time I come to Him, the world beckons me back. Insidiously at times, with an innocent little cellphone buzz or a much needed repositioning of my pillows. But then bolder, with blaring fears and unanswered questions which lead to fantasies of all the horrible or beautiful things that may or may not ever happen to me.

Friends, somewhere between the chaos at work and the exhaustion at home, I feel like I lost my ability to connect with Jesus.  How many of you can relate to this?  Page after page in my journal I desperately scrawl these words: "God, why can't I hear You?"

The thing is: God never stops speaking to me. It's me who stops listening.

"His is a still, small voice. A still voice can hardly be heard. It must be felt: a steady, gentle pressure upon the heart..."* 
(photo credit: Kaitlynn Chritton, side note: aren't my nephew's little leg rolls to die for?)
Turns out, it has nothing to do with the position of my pillows and everything to do with the posture of my heart. The world will always scream for my attention, but Jesus' whisper is the only thing that captures my soul. His is a still, small voice.

What is He saying to you, today?

*Streams in the Desert


Carol Brown said…
You are so spot on with this Nat. Listening for that still small voice as a priority makes everything else fall into place.
Vanessa's Dad said…
I wonder if God ever calls by telephone?