Yep... you get to win again. :)
I was sent a copy of a new book, Nine Ways God Always Speaks, written by Mark Herringshaw and Jennifer Schuchmann ... and they were kind enough to include one to give away to a blog reader as well!
I was completely intrigued by the title, because I have always been a little in awe when people have told me that God spoke to them. It seems so casual when it is said in conversation. Someone will randomly comment, "God told me that was the right decision." or "God spoke to me and so I got up and took action." And I always have the same question.
WHAT DID HE SOUND LIKE?!?
Seriously. I have had people look at me like I'm nuts when I ask it, but really... if you say God spoke, I'm interested in hearing the details.
What they most often mean is that they had a thought, or a feeling, or an urge to do something out of the ordinary. And that I totally understand. I've had my moments of a thought coming out of the blue and realizing that, while it came from within me - it wasn't from me. I've had impulses that I have ignored, which have nagged at me endlessly until I've taken action on them. I've looked back on situations where I didn't feel God's presence in my actions, but later see His hand guiding all of it. I've never heard God's voice, but there are ways He definitely speaks.
And that's what this intriguing little book is all about. If I'm honest, I was hoping for definitive answers. I was hoping they were going to outline what to listen for, how to listen for it, and what it will sound like when you hear it. I kind of wanted a how-to guide for calling up God and hearing what He has to say.
What I got, instead, made a lot of sense. I got examples... this book tells story after story of ways God has touched people in their lives, spoken to them, guided them. It's broken up into sections, but each story is unique, just as we are unique and our relationship with God is one of a kind.
And I think that's how God works. He meets us where we're at, He speaks our language and waits for us to listen. As the authors put it, "The burden of discerning God's communication isn't on the speaker; it's on the listener." Sometimes He's very subtle. It's up to us to pay attention.
I was just talking to my friend Jenny the other day about the fact that if we want to be good listeners, we actually have to shut up every once in awhile. [Literally, we're definitely talkers.] But even if we're not saying a word, if we want to hear what God has to say it might be a good idea to give Him the room to sneak in between the radio and the television and the Wii playing in the background. We've decided it might be the courteous thing to give Him some wiggle room.
I don't think that's because He can't get His message across through all the noise. He can. He can do anything. It's that the noise makes it harder for me to listen... and that part of the relationship is all up to me.
So, this book didn't give me instructions. It didn't give me answers. But it certainly gave me a lot to think about. It gave me examples that I saw myself and my life reflected within. It also gave examples that seemed way out there to me, but it opened my eyes to the possibility that those instances exist for people.
That's the beauty of being unique. We all get to figure out how He works in us as we go along.
If you're interested in winning a copy of the book, just leave me a comment by midnight CST on Sunday, and I'll announce the winner on Monday!