“The first duty of love is to listen.” – Paul Tillich
Last year when I returned from the Ransomed Heart Ministries Captivating retreat, I had summed it up in one word, love. It really felt like that one word described the entire experience. The love that went into preparing it, the love that went into pulling it off, the love of the intercessors for the attendees, the love expressed to each other and the love expressed to God thru worship. And topping all of that off was the love of Him towards the hearts of everyone there. The love He revealed to each person.
I’ve had a much harder time unraveling my thoughts about this years retreat. It was a much more personal retreat for me and one that I’m still pondering. I liked it every bit as much as last years, but in a different way.
As I was contemplating the above quote, which was shared this weekend, my thoughts began to clear up a little about this years retreat. I’d have to say it was about listening. It makes perfect sense to me that God would want to follow up a retreat in which He revealed His love to me with a retreat where He reveals His heart on listening.
It makes perfect sense that He would want me to learn to listen. He has so much more love to reveal to each of us. He doesn’t want us to miss one second of it. He wants us to listen to Him just as much as He wants to listen to us. Prayer is not meant to be a one way street. Why do we send up so many prayers and petitions and questions and then never take the time to truly listen for His response?
He’s been trying to get me to slow down and be still and quiet for a while, all required for listening. I must admit I’ve been so busy looking for more of Him and more answers to questions I have of Him, that I’ve not left much time for the listening. Pondering and listening are not the same thing. I want the answers to come quickly and when they don’t, I’m off to the next one or pouting because He didn’t answer me in the way I expected or wanted Him to.
So, the quote is really the perfect segue into the next phase of my journey with Him. It’s perfect for the way He wants me to live my life with others. It’s perfect for the way He wants me to relate with my handsome fella and my awesome family peeps. It’s perfect for the way He wants me to live in community with others that know Him and peeps that don’t yet.
It’s perfect for my relationship with Him and the path He will lead me on. He loves me too much not to listen and has an answer for my every need and desire. I am learning to listen to Him because I love Him and want to know all that He has for me.