[On Mondays – well, technically, Sundays, I am stepping away from 31 Days of Authentic You to host the #HearItUseIt community.]
About 18 months ago I stood precariously on the edge of indecision as I grappled with whether to leave my part-time job of 10 years to pursue writing full-time. I hemmed and hawed, made lists of pros and cons and vacillated wildly, one day declaring to myself that I would stay, the next day insisting I would make the leap.
It was a difficult time, fraught with anxiety, fear and trepidation. The trouble was, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out if I was hearing God calling me in a particular direction, or if I was simply wanting to hear him call me in a particular direction. I think that’s often the case when we are mired in indecision. We simply aren’t sure that we are hearing God correctly. Often it’s unclear whether we are following his will or our own.
The verses we read about young Samuel this week reminded me of that period of indecision in my own life. When God called in the middle of the night, Samuel mistook his voice for that of his mentor, the priest Eli. Each time God called out, “Samuel!” the boy jumped out of bed and answered Eli, “Hear I am; you called me,” to which Eli responded, “Go back to bed. I didn’t call your name.” The two went back and forth like this until finally, after the third time, Eli realized Samuel wasn’t hearing random voices but the voice of God calling down to him. He told Samuel to return to bed and instructed him to reply, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” when he heard the voice call down to him again.
One of the key points in this story is that Eli recognized the voice of God when Samuel did not. Eli realized Samuel was being called by God long before the young boy recognized the voice of God himself.
We all need an Eli in our life – someone who hears the voice of God when we can’t. Someone who can discern when God is calling us and point us in a direction that aligns with God’s will.
Back when I was wrestling with whether or not to leave my job, two Elis offered me counsel and direction: my friend Deidra and my husband Brad. Both helped me recognize that the yearning I felt to pursue full-time writing wasn’t simply a personal desire, but a call from God. Both Deidra and Brad helped me sort through the conflicting voices I thought I heard and zero in on the only voice that mattered. I’m not sure I would have been able to leap confidently without their wise and discerning advice.
It’s not easy to identify the voice of God. There’s a lot of noise out there, multiple distractions and myriad, conflicting forces – not the least of which is our own ego – all pushing and pulling us in different directions. We all need an Eli to help us sort through the detritus. We all need an Eli to tell us when God is calling, especially if we can’t hear his voice ourselves.
Questions for Reflection:
Has an Eli in your life ever helped you discern the voice of God? Can you think of one to two people who might serve in that capacity, should the need ever arise? Have you ever served as an Eli in someone else’s life?
Welcome to the Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday community, a place where we share what we are hearing from God and his Word each week. If you’re here for the first time, click here for more information.
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