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When He Speaks and We’re Not Listening

It’s senior year, the year when, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” becomes an all too real question. In kindergarten, you can say, “I want to be a professional singer” even if you sound like a screaming cat, and no one questions you.

Starting senior year, people start to ask how you’ll actually pull off whatever you’re trying to go into. It’s valid.

I guess.

When I get asked this question of “What do you want to do with your life?” I tell people, “Well, I want to be a Christian author and speaker. I’m thinking I’ll study theology so I can also create Bible studies. I’m not sure exactly what it’ll all look like, but I definitely want to go into some sort of ministry.”

Some of the responses I’ve gotten from that:

“Sam! Yes! I can totally see you doing that.”

“Why on earth would you study theology?”

*silence*

“Oh…so you really like thinking deeply about that sort of stuff.”

“I hate reading, but I’ll read your books!” (This one always makes me laugh:)

Sometimes I leave these conversations feeling good about what I want to do, and sometimes, I leave doubting that I’ll ever be able to actually pull it off.

I have been praying a lot lately about making the right decisions for my future, and I’ve been asking God to make it clear what I should do.

There are days where I feel like a writing/speaking career is something that you go into after getting some experience and a normal job. I worry that writing and speaking won’t actually make an impact, and that all my work would be in vain. I wonder whether I should go into ministry, or if I should pursue a career that is actually guaranteed to make money.

So anyways, I’ve been having all of these doubts, and one night, as I laid in my bed, I prayed for some sign that would show me whether this is really what I’m supposed to do.

And then it hit me.

God has been so clear with the path He wants me on right now…I just haven’t been listening.

You know when you’re literally standing in front of a person asking a question, they’re nodding, and yet you know for a fact that they really aren’t hearing what you have to say?

That is what God was doing with me.

I asked for a sign, but every time He told me something, I’d nod and move on with life, not putting much thought into what He had to say. (Not my smartest move.)

First of all, ministry is the only thing that I’m really, really passionate about. I try to imagine myself as a doctor, teacher, lawyer, engineer, counselor, project manager, accountant, any sort of “normal” job. And it just doesn’t work.

*Side note: I was talking to my mom about how it’s frustrating at times that I couldn’t just pick some sort of normal path for my future. She told me, “You know what, Sam, you didn’t really have a chance. Just look at your dad and I. Nothing normal about us…and I guess the weird gene was just passed on to you.” Gotta love that weird gene.

Back to not hearing God—

I’ve looked at so many colleges’ websites and simply read through the list of majors they offer. And every time, not one major has stuck out to me.

Not one, that is, except theology.

…Do you think God’s trying to tell me something?

Even more than that, I look back at my life so far, and I see that God has been preparing me for this year, where I’m leading a Bible study, writing, leading a worship class at my dance studio, and serving as the chaplain in my school.

A year ago, I could not have done any of this. Two years and I wouldn’t have even considered it.

I’m too quiet. I don’t feel like writing. I’m not that great of a dancer. I don’t fit my school’s “mold.” So many excuses.

But God took me through little baby steps, from finding a youth group that taught me so much to getting me comfortable with speaking in front of a large group; from giving me the inspiration to write to giving me the time to do it.

That sign I was looking for? It wasn’t necessary. All I had to do was realize the amount of times that God has proven to me that I’m on the right path.

Because He sure was speaking—I just wasn’t paying attention.

1 Kings 19:11-12 says, “The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”

The beginning of verse 11 says to “Go out” – and we cannot forget this step.

If we truly want to hear His voice, we’ve got to go to Him. We’ve got to get away from the world and give Him all of our attention—if only for a few minutes at a time. Sometimes He whispers, in a voice barely audible, but often, that’s all we really need.

Sometimes He gives us that ‘sign’ we’re looking for. I have experienced that too. But sometimes we’ve got to listen for that whisper, amidst the winds and earthquakes and fires of life.

Because though His words are not always easy to hear, they are always worth listening for.

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Comments (10)

  1. So proud of you Sam! Psalm 37:4 is one of my favorite verses. When I am completely satisfied and happy with God then I can know that the desires of my heart are from Him. So find your happiness in Him and follow the desires of your heart and watch God bring them to fruition. Love you and am so excited to see how God continues to use you. -Kasey

  2. I love this post! I have been feeling much of the same things you have described. When I came into college I had this idea of how my life would turn out, and God has upset all those plans 🙂
    I started as a music major, and soon discovered that I didn’t enjoy those classes. The only classes I truly enjoyed were my Theology and Christian Ed. classes, but I thought I could push through the difficulty of music. I spent 2 years stressing out over classes I didn’t enjoy because I wasn’t listening to those still small whispers. I was convinced my way was God’s way. It took a meeting with my music professors telling me I wasn’t succeeding in the music department before I finally decided to listen. Last summer I spent time talking and listening to God, mentors, close friends, and family and realized that God had been telling me to go into ministry for a while. I still don’t know exactly what that will look like, but I’m excited to see where I will be lead.
    I often feel like I don’t have much to offer, or that I’m too quite to lead, but I have to remember that God will be glorified in my weaknesses. God didn’t make me loud and charismatic, but he did give me a heart that desires to serve others and make his name known. My job is to use those gifts, and God will fill in the gaps.
    I’m so excited for you in your desires to study Theology! My theology classes have been my favorite. It’s amazing to learn more about who God is and how he is working. God Bless! ~Amber

    1. Amber, thank you for taking the time to write this. This is amazing! It’s so hard to listen to God’s plan when we think we know so much, isn’t it? 🙂 That must’ve been so hard to make that change so late in college, but listening to God’s subtle and not so subtle hints are always worth it! And YES. I doubt myself all the time, too, but it’s remembering WHY I’m doing this that helps me to keep going. Thanks again 🙂

  3. Really good Sam!! Keep writing , and I will keep reading!! So proud of you! Praise God for your wierd parents!! They are wonderful people!!

  4. Amen. May we learn to have confidence to know it’s Him and then obey. What you wrote about is just the same thing He’s teaching me…even in this later season of life! Bless you…glad I was introduced to your blog! Love you!