My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.
Friend to Friend
Our lives are filled with voices clamoring for our undivided attention.
Have you ever had the thought that God loves you and everyone else has a plan for your life?
My husband was going back to seminary and I wanted a teaching job. Even though I applied early, successfully went through the interview process, and even met with a principal I really liked, my phone was silent. No teaching jobs were available.
Even though my heart was not in it, I began looking for another job. I had to make some money while Dan went to seminary. I landed a coveted job in downtown Ft. Worth at an insurance agency. The people I worked with were wonderful, but my heart longed to be a teacher.
Not one to give up without a fight, I called the personnel office of the Ft. Worth Independent School District every day on my way to lunch – every single day – with the question, “Do you have any teaching jobs for me yet?” The response was always the same, “No, Mary. We don’t have a job for you.” My stubborn pursuit finally paid off when I heard the words, “Will you teach anything anywhere?” I jumped at the opportunity, no questions asked.
Each teacher in the school was asked to pick two students from their classroom to form the new class. Guess who they chose? Yep. Their two most difficult children. The new classroom – my classroom – was basically a zoo. The first time I walked into the room, there were children standing on top of desks, sitting under tables, hanging out of windows. It was total chaos!
During the first two months of trying to teach those children, I lost my voice three times. My sister, a veteran school teacher, gave me some great advice. “The louder you are, the louder they will be. The quieter you are, the quieter they will be.”
I came up with an idea I hoped would work. I wrapped a box in bright paper and filled it with inexpensive toys, school supplies, and candy. The next day, I greeted each one of my students with a nod and a smile, holding the box in my hands. After all of the students were seated, I quietly explained that sometime during the day, I would call each student’s name. If they heard me, they could choose something from the box. If they didn’t hear me, they would have to wait until the next day for another chance. I could not believe the miraculous change in my classroom. Each child soon learned to listen for my voice above all others.
Stress comes when we allow the many voices in life to drown out the only voice that really matters, the voice of God. We can’t obey every voice we hear. If we try, we will end up in total failure, carrying a heavy load we were never created to carry.
Obedience to God is not a heavy load because we don’t have to carry it alone. God’s strength and power bear the burden of our obedience to Him. The more time we spend in God’s Word and in prayer, the easier it will be to recognize His voice.
Father, I come to You today, wanting and needing to hear Your voice. I am drowning in the expectations of others, and I am so confused about the next step I need to take. Please give me Your direction and the strength to follow Your plan for my life.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read John 10:4 (NLT) “After He has gathered His own flock, He walks ahead of them, and they follow Him because they recognize His voice.” Notice that the shepherd walks ahead of his sheep, gently calling them to follow. What change do you need to make in your life so that you can look for God’s hand at work and listen for His voice alone?
More from the Girlfriends
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