I was packing for a short trip to the Keys when I heard the small voice of the Holy Spirit. Dan had asked me to go with him on a business trip and for the first time in years, we were getting away alone.
As soon as we got home from his business trip, our whole family would be on vacation for another 8 days. We were looking at almost 2 weeks together.
As I packed my things, I heard the clear prompting of the Holy Spirit to “just agree” with Dan.
Now, for most of my adult years, I’ve had to work very, very hard at re-training my tongue. On top of my natural tendency to sass, I’d been trained to argue for a living. After law school, I litigated for 8 years and I loved nothing more than winning an argument.
That might be great professionally but it’s not an asset in marriage. I had certainly mellowed over the years, but I was always pretty independent with a mind of my own. So I knew exactly what God was asking when He said to just agree with Dan.
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I didn’t say anything to Dan but I stopped any kind of second-guessing, the picking apart, the let’s-do-it-this-way. Something unexpected happened on that trip. I relaxed. I wasn’t in charge. I wasn’t calling the shots. And I had shut down my guard.
When Dan wanted to stop for lunch at his favorite mom-and-pop in Little Havana, I said “Sure!” instead of suggesting Olive Garden. When he wanted to take a back road instead of the interstate, I didn’t say a thing, but just enjoyed the ride.
These were small decisions but it was a sweet taste of resting in Dan’s lead for that entire trip and not worrying one bit about the minutiae. I looked forward to this challenge of almost 2 weeks of happy agreement.
Only God knew that those days would be our last together.
With all of the chaos of Dan’s death, it was months later that I remembered how the Holy Spirit had prompted. “Just agree” had seemed rather random at the time, but isn’t that usually the way with God’s promptings? I could so easily have brushed it off. Instead, it’s a forever memory of a covenant completed.
Such abundance from responding to God’ small voice.
My one word for this year is RESPOND, which seems more fitting than OBEY because when I think of obeying, I think of following God’s rules, like the command to have no idols, to be honest, or to love my neighbor as I love myself. Absolutely we’re to obey; but this year, I’m focusing on something a bit more picky: responding to the small voice of the Holy Spirit.
It’s also more than hearing God. I accuse my children of selectively hearing me – responding when I call them for dinner but not so much when I call them for chores. Apparently, we hear selectively because we train ourselves to focus on what we’re interested in hearing.
I want to not only hear the Holy Spirit, but to respond. Part of that unnerves me because I wonder what God will ask or where He’ll lead. But most of it excites me because — what might God ask? And where might He lead?
And respond without hesitating. We may have no idea why God is directing us a certain way and we may never get to find out this side of heaven. But God’s direction is always best. God promises life abundant and I don’t want to get to heaven and see all that I missed because I didn’t have the guts to respond.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27
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