Devotional for Daily Living – Stop, Think, Pray, and Listen
1 Thessalonians 16-18 Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.
Do you remember to take the time to stop, think, pray, and listen?
I stood at the mirror glancing over the results of my finished hair and make-up routine. Pandora’s Praise Radio blared in the background. A few minutes earlier, I had been blaring along with it, joyfully singing along with my favorite songs. I felt great – good sleep, hot shower, tasty coffee – and while I would never be mistaken for a beauty queen, I looked okay, I thought. Before jumping in the shower, I had spent some God and me time in scripture and prayer and felt full of the Holy Spirit. I was ready for the day.
And then, I left my bedroom.
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My 16 year old son sat at the breakfast table, headphones in, staring down at his bowl of sugar sweetened cereal. Without looking up, he grumbled, “Mom, I need lunch money.” Immediately, I wanted to react – negatively. I took a deep breath instead and forced a smile and answered, “Okay, honey. It might have been nice if you had let me know last night instead of last minute.” Might have been nice, indeed.
Just as my 19 year old son, still wearing his flannel sleep pants, shuffled through the kitchen, my 10 year old daughter approached. “Um, Mom,” she said. “I’m sorry that I waited but, um, I need a shoebox for school. Today. Do we have any?” Before addressing her oversight in letting me know her school needs in a timely manner, I called out to her oldest brother, “Good morning, honey.” “Uhh,” he grunted, without looking up or even pausing his shuffle. He disappeared into the next room.
All of the excitement for the day I had felt not even half hour before leaked right out of me, puddling at my feet. I still had to make breakfast and my lunch. I had to gather papers and supplies for work. I couldn’t be late for my 7:30 meeting. I had no time to search for shoe boxes or write lunch checks. I had no patience for grumbling, grunting teens shuffling through my kitchen. In that short amount of time, I went from joyful to stressed. I wondered for a brief moment why and how the Holy Spirit could leave me so quickly.
It took intentional effort to stop, think, pray… and listen. As I did, I realized – the Holy Spirit didn’t leave me. I allowed the world to cover it up…that quickly. In my bedroom, closed away from the distractions life brings, it was easy to remember and recognize God in me and feel motivated to share that joy with the world. Once the daily busy-ness hit, however, it took only moments for me to forget. It wasn’t the first time, and I knew it wouldn’t be the last. But I realized, too, that choosing to be aware of it and being willing to stop and pray could be the difference in my attitude for the rest of the day. Then, I could be the person I want to be – the person He wants me to be.
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Today’s Prayer: Just for today, Lord, let me hold on to this feeling of You. Keep me from being affected by my perceived negative or stressful situations. Remind me that reflecting your love and grace is the most effective way to share You with those around me. Thank you for loving me. Amen.
What every day occurrences ‘cover up’ the Holy Spirit in you?