Hearing Voices

I just got back from staying with my in-laws in Spain who are very communicative lot, and I always feel quite pleased to have some peace and quiet when we leave. However I have noticed recently that despite my own opinion of myself as a good communicator, I am slightly less skilled than I would like to be. I am ok if I can demonstrate what I am saying through actions, or even write it down like in this blog, but if someone has to do something just based on what I say, I don’t think I always get my message across. This is the same at home, and at work, and most recently after a few pints with my friends, when I managed to upset someone really close to me.  I think the right thing, but my voice doesn’t always follow suit, sometimes I am better off just being quiet, but feel the need to comment or respond to everyone immediately, when I don’t have a clear thing to say. This tends to be worse when I am tired, stressed or emotional.

Earlier in the year I went on a mostly silent retreat, which I found incrediblyl stressful at times, as I was having to deal with my own thoughts and process them, before I discussed them with friends and family, sometimes things I didn’t want to think about. Often I use gossip or conversation as a distraction from some of the key tasks I’ve got to do, and not to directly deal with something that has cropped up. 

I think as a person of faith, I should be able to keep my counsel, and appear wise and calm at all times, but in reality it doesn’t really work like that!  I can be a good listener as well, but often struggle with this as well. My son is now having speech therapy and we are all being asked to think about communication in new ways, which is good as what I am doing now isn’t always working! I have to ask at least three times before either of my children do what I say!

Generally though I think that people are really interested in what I have to say, which I am usually quite suprised about, and if I don’t give consideration to how I come across, I lose some of the confidence and high regard people hold me in.  This is a shame, as in most parts of my life, people look to me for some kind of leadership and direction. I also need to listen out for God’s voice, as sometimes he is talking and I am too busy to hear what he has to say.

Be prepared

I had to go up to Durham this week to get my daughter’s passport corrected as it had the wrong date of birth (probably my fault!) which was a pain, but I had some time to myself and went for a walk around Durham. I visited the cathedral which is really lovely, and sat and had a moment talking to God. The thing I noticed was that the building was full of activity with people cleaning and flower arranging, and setting up sound systems, presumably for a service later in the day.

It made me realise how much effort goes into church life, and how even Godly people are doing their homework and preparing. 

I’ve been away this weekend as well, and we are going on holiday on Tuesday, so I am really excited about that. Getting ready to go away has been preoccupying me as I hand-over work responsibliites and think about packing. I often try and finish so many things off before I go away that when I come home it’s like a spring clean has happened! Probably a bit OTT though! with the children travelling becomes more of a logistical exercise, but is usually ok if I have thought of enough eventualities and brought toys, snacks and things to keep them occupied.

As christians we have to be ready, in case Jesus comes back, as there is alot in the Bible about this possibly happening, and that we need to be ready. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, in Matthew Chapter 25, it describes women with a bridal party who had to wait up for everyone to arrive, got tired and fell asleep, and some of them had not brought emergency supplies of oil to keep them going. When their moment came, and they were supposed to come out to meet the bridegroom, some of them were stuck as they didn’t have enough oil for their lamps. It seems quite harsh, but half the group were not prepared to share their oil, so the others had to go and buy more, but in doing so, missed the party.

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

I’ve always thought this story a bit odd, as God is not a harsh taskmaster who has a busy schedule to stick to. In church recently we’ve been talking about God as a loving father rather than a critical X Factor style judge, who actually loves us whatever and whoever we are, and cannot find it in his heart to reject us if we ask him to love us and forgive us, for whatever we’ve been up to. However I think the story is more about us being open to the opportunties God has for us, and not missing out on what life has to offer.

We’ve had alot of change in our family recently, with our two small children, but I think there is probably going to be more change ahead, either through changing my job or moving house. I find that hard to think about, as I would like a period of calm and stability really, however I know that God loves change, and always uses it to further his kingdom, so I am hoping that whatever happens he will be with me, and taking me through everything one step at a time, and I’m going to try and be ready.