20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: -Genesis 28:20-21 (KJV)
I enjoy having conversation with people, yet I also enjoy listening as others talk about their lives. These days I try to allow others around me to speak without my feeling I have to interject something into the conversation. This stems from a personal discipline I am developing of being a better listener and allowing others the simple joy of telling their stories. So often we feel the need to speak up and tell our stories. Someone has suggested the reason we have trouble listening to others is that so often the discussion is not about us, so we seek to remedy this by insinuating ourselves into it. When we allow others to speak, tell their stories, and bask in the joy of the telling, we discover a wonderful tension is gone from our lives. We get to relax and let others experience the joy of talking about their lives.
I cannot take credit for this (hopefully I would have figured it out eventually), for I discovered the strategy in a book by psychologist Richard Carlson, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, and it’s all Small Suff.” Dr. Carlson suggests we become more relaxed persons when we sit back and allow others to speak and tell their stories. He assures us we will get our chance and he is absolutely correct. The other day I was practicing this and listening as two other people were speaking around me. One of them was reflecting on her life and the key events which brought her to where she is right now. She spoke of a time around 30 years ago when she was working in a small restaurant. She met a man who would often come in and have lunch. The man saw she possessed good people skills, was motivated, and appeared to be a hard worker. He suggested she come and work for him. She applied for a job with his company and has been there ever since.
All of us have met people, been in certain situations on a given day, and because of one event our lives were changed. The question is, do we think of this as chance or divine guidance? As followers of Jesus Christ we are compelled to believe our lives are being guided by the loving, yet firm hand of God. Even when we get off track, the Lord will bring us back to where He wants us to be. As we walk in faith God continues to guide our lives.
Jacob of the Old Testament knew God was with him and guiding his steps. He made a covenant with God that as the Lord continued to prove His guidance that he would hold to the Lord as his God. Perhaps you feel as though you have been wandering through life. Take heart and know the Lord is with you. Even if you have strayed far from God it is not too late to return to Him. Keep walking forward in faith, for the Lord will guide you as He has all along.
God bless you today.