|For a few fortunate people, the simple assent, saying “Yes” to God, is all that is necessary for them to begin hearing the voice of their Creator calling them to some new way of life. This voice sometimes comes through others, sometimes through reading scripture or other inspirational writings, sometimes through thoughts and images that come to them in still moments. If you are one of these people, you are ready to begin the discernment process. But for many it is not so easy.
A good friend of mine realized she was missing out on most of what was being said to her, and so, after much resistance, she decided to solve the problem by wearing hearing aids. She thought that as soon as she turned on that aid everyone would sound perfectly clear to her again. However, what she discovered was that the hearing aid didn’t allow her to choose whom she wanted to hear. Instead it picked up all the sounds around her, making it nearly impossible to hear anything clearly. It took weeks of experimenting to finally be able to hear what she wanted to hear.
For many of us, our spiritual life is like the process my friend went through: We know we want to hear God more clearly, so we say “yes” to a spiritual hearing aid. But a thousand other voices clamor for attention, voices we have repressed for years as we lived our life directed by the loud insistent voice of our culture. These might be the voices of our old angers and resentments that we have allowed to fester in our souls. Or they might be the hurts, often from our childhoods, that we never exposed to healing balm. Or they could be the prejudices and hates we have allowed to foment. Or perhaps they are the frustrations and envies, self-pity and self-justification that eat away at our spirit.
When we say “Yes” to God’s call, before we can hear it with clarity, we need to work intentionally to name, tend to, and then quiet all these other voices.
So what are the noises that block out the voice of God calling you through your spiritual hearing aid to a life of purpose and meaning?