Discernment by Henry Nouwen is one of those books that I never finish because I stop to take notes after every page. The following paragraph expresses some of the things God has been teaching me this year. I find it difficult to be alone with the Lord for an expended period of time. Stopping all the activity and facing the emptiness can be very difficult. When we put ourselves in a still, quiet place, God will speak and we don't always like what He says. I once decided to rent a small cottage to fast and pray for three days. A few hours after being there I was panicking because I was not used to the silence. I struggled to find peace long enough to hear from God. One thing I learned is that growth in this area will not happen overnight. It takes work and discipline overtime to develop these listening skills. Many of us have grown accustomed to only hearing God as a faint whisper through the noise of ministry and life. What would our life be like if we learned to hear Him clearly and walk purposefully in His voice?
"When we are spiritually deaf, we are not aware that anything important is happening in our lives. We keep running away from the present moment, and we try to create experiences that make our lives worthwhile. So we fill up our time to avoid the emptiness we otherwise would feel. When we are truly listening, we come to know that God is speaking to us, pointing the way, showing direction. We simply need to learn to keep our ears open."