Welcome back to the Listen Close, Listen Well series. It’s such a treat to hear from special guests, as they share their diverse experiences with listening for God and how His message has changed them. Today we welcome the lovely Kristine Brown as she shares about the important aspect of obedience, as it relates to listening.
When Listening Leads to Obeying
By Kristine Brown
The harsh words screamed from the inner-places of my being. Several weeks into the school year and this rowdy class had figured out just how to throw this usually calm teacher off-track.
Seventh grade is hard anyway, with all the hormones and emotions running on full-speed. But sometimes the dynamics of certain students together can add to the chaos. Any seasoned teacher knows how to try different techniques for optimal results, but on this particular day – I’d had it.
And out the words came before I had a chance to pull them back in.
As if on cue, the Holy Spirit gently spoke to my frustrated heart. My stomach ached with the knowledge that I didn’t set a good example with my tone. I’d yelled at them. Loudly. It pains me just thinking about it.
My human nature wanted to pretend like it never happened. Move on. Survive to teach another day. But God had much better advice to share. I only needed to take the time to listen.
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV).
That afternoon I went home and prayed. As much as I wanted to forget the whole thing, God whispered past my prideful exterior and let me know in the gentlest of ways what I needed to do. I felt a strong leading to write down one thing I loved about each student. Not just those in the energetic class, but all 80 of them.
He also wanted me to read it to them the next day.
Though unsure how they would react, I arranged the desk in a circle before they entered the room. Class began, and we all took a seat. I shared how I’d felt responsible for letting the atmosphere of our classroom take a negative turn – and I wanted it to change.
I read them the compliments I’d written, and the peace of God filled the room. I breathed a sigh of relief. Listening to God and obeying His words brought healing to me and comfort to us all.
We don’t always get the chance to see the outcome of our actions when we obey God. We must trust Him with it. On this occasion though, God had a plan to reveal the fruit of my obedience through something miraculous. It happened three years later…
Still teaching seventh grade, I wandered into the teacher’s workroom to begin another day. I hadn’t thought about the incident in some time. Those kids were now 10th graders. Once kids move on to high school, we rarely hear from them.
But this moment held a big surprise from God, waiting just inside my teacher mailbox.
I reached in and found an orange piece of paper addressed to me. It was from one of the students in that class. Here is a glimpse of what it said:
I’ll never forget the day you yelled in class, then, even though we all deserved the rebuke, the next day I walked into class to find the desks arranged in a giant circle with you in the middle of it. You kindly apologized to a rowdy group of junior highers and talked to us like we were family. That was one of my favorite days in your class. Thank you for being such a good influence, teacher, and role model.
Three years later – wow. From this simple note, I learned a profound lesson.
When we listen, we grow in godly wisdom. When we obey, God works miracles.
Sometimes we only need to listen to God’s beautiful voice. But other times, He calls us to follow up the listening with obeying. And when we allow ourselves to be the student, God the Master Teacher sets a remarkable plan in motion for our lives.
Kristine is a writer, dramatist, and teacher. She helps women and teen girls navigate the ups and downs of real-life. Kristine devotes her time to family, freelance writing, and her non-profit ministry, More Than Yourself, Inc. You can read more from her at www.morethanyourself.com. Connect with Kristine on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.
Is it possible to silence the voice of comparison in your life? The answer is yes! In Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan, Kristine Brown takes us on a quest to learn the truth about comparison, and what we can do to quiet that pesky voice once and for all. Through this book, Kristine unearths the stories of three women in Scripture who fell into the comparison trap but learned the key to finding freedom from comparing. Has the voice of comparison caused you to question whether you measure up next to her? Then click here to find out more about the Over It book today.
Read the rest of the Listen Close, Listen Well series below:
Not Ours to Give Away by Tiffany Parry
Lean In My Daughters by Kerrington Sweeney
Listening When It’s Loud by Teri Lynne Underwood
Fear and Doorknobs by Kim Osterholzer
What God Wants by Crystal Hall
Preparing a Place by Abby Banfield
The Luxury of Listening by Ashley Hales
His Grace Isn’t Just for Today by Abby McDonald
The God Dare by Kate Battistelli
Out of Your Comfort Zone by Tracey Casciano
Got Milk? God’s Got Answers! by Christy Mobley
On Hearing God and Being Surprised by Kristin Hill Taylor
Put On Your Listening Ears by Karina Allen
Letting Go in Order to “Go” by Martha Reid
It is Over! by Jami Amerine