"I am the Lord who Hears"
Growing up as a compliant rule follower who was afraid to rock the boat was hard! I don't know how many times I spoke my mom or teachers' name only to be ignored. One who was more assertive would have just spoken up and made sure they were heard, but not me. I had those ugly voices in my head telling me I was too much, not enough, an interruption, and a bother.
Being a soft spoken person in a world full of loud was so hard! I am often drowned out by people louder than me and overwhelmed by crowds of people talking at the time and the sounds of movies or music that loud enough to pound in my chest. At time I suspect I might have been too soft to hear. At other times I believe that because I spoke softly, others didn't perceive the importance of my words. So, they continued on just as if I had never spoke at all. I remember, as a child, have something important to say. I called out a name and the person continued to walk by. So, I mumbled ever so quietly what I wished I could have shouted -- she came back and heard my words that day -- words that were so quietly spoken. The little girl that I was didn't understand that her presentation probably had a lot to do with being invisible, with being unheard. Sadly, her presentation came out of her toxic core beliefs. No one understands how much energy it takes for me to speak up, to speak loud. I still at times wish others would just tune in and listen a little harder.
Being an adult introvert in a world full of extroverts is so hard! I don't know how many times I have been asked a question and as I am internally composing an answer have the person turn to the next person and begin a different conversation, leaving me feeling like my need to process internally is a defect rather than a creative design by my Maker. I don't know how many times I have been asked a question and in mid sentence have the person literally turn around and walk away as my incomplete words hang in the air between us as a rejected gift.
The belief that I had to be a compliant rule follower who never rocked the boat combined with a soft voice and an introvert personality is not a huge problem, but it is one that impacted my relationship with God. For years, I was uncomfortable with praying even though I did it on a regular basis. I could handle God's answers to my prayers when they were "yeses" and when they were "nos." But I had a really hard time with the "waits" ... you know those holding patterns that never seem to end.
One night I walk into a Bible Study and sat down. The pastor usually handed us a handout and the good girl in me would often look ahead and have all of the answers filled in before he even got to the points. But this one night he didn't pass out a handout, he simply asked us, "What do you find hard about waiting on God?" Everyone answered the pastor and I could agree at a shallow level that their answers were true, but deep inside I knew that their answers weren't what was the most difficult for me, but I couldn't put my finger on it. He moved through the Scriptures and because there was no handout I couldn't work ahead but had to sit in the uncomfortableness of trying to name what was hard about God's waits. He got to a verse a part of which said that God had His ears turned to those who wait on Him. All of a sudden it hit me that I had put on God the behaviors of man. If the answer was wait, I had been assuming He was just walking on by me or turning and leaving while my words still hung in the air. The truth is that God has His ears turned to His people. He hears our voices all of the time, no matter what time of day or night it is.
He even hears the soft voice of the compliant child who is afraid to rock the boat. He hears the words of the introvert while they are still being formed in my mind. His waits are not proof that He has walked on by, they are His invitation for me to keep on talking...talking until all the buried hurt is poured out and replaced with joy...talking until the compassion and emotions that were shut down were resurrected...talking until unbelief is exposed and replaced with belief...talking until all of the lies are brought to the light and replaced with His truth...talking until I face my sinfulness and cry out for His mercy to be fulfilled in me...talking until the desire to know Him is bigger than my desire to be healed or experience the gifts He gives...talking until He has fully captured my heart.
A friend recently shared with me that one of God's names is Jehovah Shama...the God who hears...who hears even me. He hears the cries of the scared, the sad, and the lonely. He hears the cries of those facing huge injustices in their lives. He hears the cries of the abandoned, or those betrayed by someone close. He hears the cries of the disappointed and those with deep heart wounds left their by those who should have nurtured and cared. He hears the cries of those beaten down and trod upon by others. He hears the cries of those who have been led to believe by the Enemy that they are not enough -- not good enough, smart enough, small enough, pretty enough, funny enough, or special enough. He hears the cries of those who have born burdens way too big for their shoulders. He hears the cries of those longing for peace and freedom from both emotional and physical pain, shame, guilt, and addictions. He hears the cries of those who have questions that rise up from the soul in deep agonizing grief and understands those questions reveal tender and broken hearts more often than pride gone awry. He hears every prayer spoken aloud and every prayer spoken only in the heart. He even hears the prayers that are so deep they come out as nothing more than a groan or a whisper.
Jehova Shama, I love that name! He hears this overly compliant, soft spoken, introvert just fine. His waits are Him giving me His full attention. His waits are Him giving me time to collect my thoughts, weed through the lies, and come back to the truth. His waits are Him inviting me to humbly trust in His goodness. His waits are Him inviting me to know His Heart...the Heart of the God who hears.