Listening Ears and Hearts by Susan Park
Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.
Do you often hear the voice of your "inner critic" seeping into your thoughts?
I've found it's helpful to call that critical voice out - give him/her a name.
"That's enough, Angie!"
I joke but truth is - it helps me separate the critical voice from the voice of truth. If we give this negative voice space in our head, it will move to our heart and then to our hands and distract us from our purpose.
This week, I get to introduce you to my friend, Susan Park. She is a Korean American Christian writer and has a passion to encourage God’s creative women with words of hope and joy. She is currently working on her first Christian novel about a second-generation Korean American college woman. There are several themes in the novel that highlight friendship, embracing one’s creative calling, overcoming past trauma and racism, and interracial relationships.
Susan lives in the Chicago area with her husband and three boys and has served as a contributing writer and assistant copy editor for the Christian online magazine, Marked Ministry.
This week, she's showing us how we can find peace and silence the voice of the inner critic by listening to God's words for us and also sharing our hearts with Him.
Over the years, I’ve learned that understanding someone’s physical or emotional heart starts with listening ears. I’ve observed how my son’s doctor gently placed a stethoscope on my son’s chest to carefully listen to his heart. I’ve felt heard and understood from my friend as she attentively listened to me share what was heavy on my heart.
In the same way, when we intentionally listen to what God shares with us through His Word, we learn to understand His heart as well. As we read and listen to His Word, we see examples of His love, grace, and faithfulness for His people beautifully intertwined throughout the Old and New Testaments. We learn more about God’s loving heart for us and grow a deeper understanding of who He is.
At times, I find myself listening more to what my “inner critic” or what the world has to say on who I am. I can become discouraged and anxious by the “I’m not good enough” lies that can linger in my mind and heart. However, when I listen to God through His Word, I’m reminded of who God is and my identity of being a beloved child of God.
When we listen and pay attention to what God shares in our lives, we experience His peace. In Psalm 85, it says,
I listen carefully to what the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. - Psalm 85:5
Also, God listens to us. We experience God’s peace by sharing with Him what is on our hearts. He wants to listen to what is going on with the big and small details of our lives.
For myself, I share with God in the ordinary moments of my life while I’m driving or walking my dog. We can share with God anytime from anyplace. In Philippians 4, it says,
Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7
When we carefully listen to God’s Word, we grow a deeper understanding of how He is a loving God and our identity as His beloved children. When we openly share with God what is in on our hearts, He is listening to us and cares about the details of our lives. We can experience God’s peace as we cultivate a close relationship and connection with Him with both listening ears and hearts.
Now, It's Your Turn!
Before opening God's Word, take a moment to pray and ask God to meet you there. Then...
Read Psalm 85 a couple times. Highlight what stands out to you.
Circle verbs or specific wording you notice.
Then, write down a bullet point takeaway based on this. "I-statements" help make this personal. Think of this as a challenge statement.
I can experience God’s peace as I cultivate a close relationship and connection with Him with both listening ears and heart.
Then, jot down a question or two to think about today. You don't have to have the answer to this question now. And yield to the Holy Spirit - prayerfully ask God to search your heart and lead you to more truth and grow your faith through the Holy Spirit.
How can I be a better listener of God’s Word? What are some creative ways I can share with God what is on my heart?
Again, we don't have to be Bible scholars and talk only in the thou's and art's of King James version to read this book. ...because when we pray before we read, we are not alone. The Holy Spirit is with us, guiding and teaching us.
Praise God for this!
And praise God for refreshment as we are intentional to spend a summer in the Psalms together, for if we want His truth to ever be on our lips, it must first be planted in our hearts.
Our strength grows as we rely on strength from above. Our joy grows as we see God transforming us from the inside out. Our peace grows as we spend time in God's presence, and we find rest when we intentionally seek the Lord first in our lives, for the Lord is ever our portion.
Additionally, Susan would love to connect with you through her website at www.susanepark.com or on Instagram @susaneparkwrites, Facebook @susaneparkwrites, or on Pinterest @susaneparkwrites.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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