Our 7am morning run begins the same… Jody and I lock our car doors parked at the Presbyterian church, swing our arms and step one tired foot in front of the other — shaking off the dust from a long night’s sleep.
We run early. Which means very little coffee has made its way to my limbs. Or my lungs, for that matter.
Our four-mile route begins on a on a hill. An incline that has greeted us now for years.
In theory, you would think a hill would help strengthen my legs and make me a faster runner. Right? Umm. not so much.
You want to know how that hill has trained me best? That early morning incline has strengthened not my legs, but my ears.
Our morning hill has made me a better listener.
You can ask my daddy, even as a little girl, I was never short on words. Good grief, I had to create a blog to do something with the hundreds of words that sit dormant in my head. But on a morning run, with sleepy lungs and tired legs, my words are few. It takes all my energy to just begin.
So what do I do?
I ask Jody a question…and listen.
“Talk to me.” I say.
“What’s going on in your world.”
“Give me the scoop.”
“What’s the skinny?”
When ya can’t breathe, ya can’t talk. My words are limited, but somehow, Jody manages just fine. Pushing her long, runner legs up that hill like it ain’t no thing. And I have the privilege to suck wind and just listen.
Oh, the gift of the incline.
I will be the first to confess — listening is a skill. And not only listening, but asking questions.
Two skills I have had to work hard to learn.
However, God demonstrates these skills the best.
Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
The Lord is an exceptional listener. He watches over us as we sleep and anticipates our first words every morning.
I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Psalm 116:1-2
Isn’t that a beautiful image? God inclines His ear and listens closely as we speak. He waits. He comes close, leaning in to our voice.
In a similar way, I want to listen well to the people around me. Talk less. Listen more. I want to ask questions of my friends and hear their hearts.
And just imagine!! We have an eager, loving Father, waiting every morning. Every second. Of every day. Leaning down from Heaven to hear our every heart’s cry. Let this encourages us to pray more!
And as Jody and I push up the incline that begins our routine morning run, let me be reminded that we have a God who begins His day with an incline, too. An inclined ear. An ear that is fine-tuned to listen to our heart’s cry.
Bend a knee today to that bended ear of His,
and respond to His ever-opened invitation… “Talk to Me.”
(Are you a good listener? How has God grown you in this area?)