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Seven Mile Breakdown

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Listening for the Voice Within

I’ve often read about people’s experiences with hearing the voice within them and knowing that God had spoken to them. I wondered what it must have been like to take notice of the voice. At times I was either jealous or skeptical of what had happened.

Years ago I had several experiences where the room temperature would drop and I would hear my name called. I would look around the room but found no one there. My daughter was sound asleep in her bedroom, and I was all alone in my downstairs sewing room. After a number of times of this, I was growing weary and feeling a bit nervous at the same time. I didn’t know who or what I was hearing. I became brazen and told the voice to either show yourself or leave me alone. I was left alone.

As I grew older I realized I missed the voice. It had a message for me, but I didn’t get it. I didn’t know if I ever would. I often wondered how different my life would have been if I had been patient and waited to hear what the voice wanted to tell me.

During the years that followed, I sold the house and move to another state and a new home. The voice didn’t follow me. Did it know where I was? Would it ever find me? Did I really care? I later divorced and my daughter married and had her own family. I found a different church home from what I had grown up with and was feeling closer to God that ever before. And I as I thought my life was coming together, both of my parents died within a few weeks of the other.

As I worked through the estate settlement process, I began to feel a life that I hadn’t felt before. I was being ‘pulled’ in directions I didn’t know about but were peaceful. In the process I was beginning to find my life becoming more faith-based, including participating in a four-year Bible study (that I recently completed).

Then I heard the ‘voice’, the voice within, the voice that I knew was God. It was telling me to do something that I didn’t want to do. It was telling me that “I had to give it all away”. Now I’m practical person, very mathematical, very rational. My sister and I had just finished settling our parents’ estates, and I was now in a position where I could do a little traveling. And I was being told to give it all away.

I remember arguing – what about my daughter? My granddaughters? Was I not to have something left for them? Would I be able to enjoy what I had during my life, or was I to give it all up at once? What about my retirement? I’m not that far away from that time in my life. I heard it several times. Very distinct and clear. “You have to give it all away.” No options. No choices. No saying no.

After a few pleadings, I finally gave in. Whatever you want me to do, just tell me. I’ll do it. I can give it all away. What had I just agreed to do? I was stunned, shocked, and feeling a joyous peace at the same time. I was going to give it all away.

I returned to what I was doing. It was a moment of doing something so surprising even to me. I was at a concert – the 2006 American Idol Summer Tour. Somewhere between Mandisa and Ace. I had been overjoyed that I was attending this show and had said a thank you prayer for having the opportunity to be there. This was a show I had gone to on the spur of the moment and had never part of my summer tour plans. It was there that I accepted the new direction in my life. I later came to realize that being at this show was part of the plan and the first step in taking the new direction.

As the show continued, I began to allow children to stand in front of me to see the stage better. I had a front row seat. Right in front of the steps where Taylor Hicks would later go up to get on stage. I was holding up children to touch their favorite Idol. I was hiding them from the prying eyes of security. I was ‘adopting new grandchildren’, whatever it took to keep the children in front of me. Seeing this show had ceased to be for me. It became one of helping the children enjoy the experience.

After a while, the voice spoke again. This time I understood the message. It wasn’t about money. It was giving of myself, unselfishly, for others. I had ‘given it all away’. I was shocked! I now knew my true direction.

When a couple of us decided to help fans get Taylor Hicks HQ memberships, an idea was born. Several more joined our efforts. In time seven of us formed Taylor’s Angels. We soon added fulfilling ticket requests to our mission. We were doing something that helped other fans of Taylor Hicks help each other. We were fulfilling our mission and spreading Taylor Hicks’ music.

In the process, I realized I was giving myself to others. I had taken the time to listen for the voice within. I still hear it. Most of the times, I do what it tells me to do without question. I’ve had other arguments with it as to why I shouldn’t comply. In the end, I always do. The rewards have been far greater than the sacrifice.

How do I hear the voice within? Most of the time it comes when I least expect it. It’s usually a quiet time, not necessarily a prayer time. Just a time when the mind is at rest and the body is still. Maybe I’m driving. Maybe I’m in the shower. Maybe I’m just stilling at the computer. I listen. I do. And I’m at peace with it. I know that the voice is born out of faith. It is that same voice that drives me to do what is needed to accomplish the mission of Taylor’s Angels.

If you have had the experience, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, perhaps you’re either jealous or skeptical. Find some quiet time. Listen. Just quietly listen. Maybe you will hear the voice within you as well.

Written by Mandy (RagsQueen)

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3 comments:

DidNotExpectThat said...

Very inspirational, Mandy! I really needed that today. We all need to slow down and listen to for direction. Thanks for pointing that out!

Anonymous said...

Time and time again, you share a very intimate piece of yourself with others. You have talked about each adventure and I always felt like I was there. I know it isn't a question of how, it's a question of when. When will I hear that voice within me? Will it be today? Tomorrow? Next week? or Next month? Noone will ever know. Keeping listening to that wonderful voice within, it just might get you where you want to be for the rest of your lift. Where that will be, only God can tell you.

B :)

maryann1 said...

Mandy..Very inspiring message you have shared..We all need to listen to the voice we hear within...and not ignore it..

When we do listen...it can be a life changing moment for us...as it was with you...Thank you for sharing your experience.