And Encouraging Others to Do the Same
One of my worst fears is getting trapped in an elevator. I’m not sure when I developed this fear, but it has only gotten worse and more irrational the older I’ve gotten. I dislike elevators so much that when I stay at a hotel, I take the stairs, even if I’m on the fifth floor.
It’s not only elevators. Any kind of confined space makes me anxious. Like when I’m seated in the back of a plane, and everyone stands up to exit. Once, I was painting our basement when the door closed and wouldn’t open. My husband wasn’t home, so I hoisted myself to the window and decided to pop out the screen and shimmy my way through. However, I couldn’t remove the screen and tore a hole through it instead to get out.
A few years ago, I was in my kid’s bathroom, and when I went to open the door, some kind of mechanism in the doorknob suddenly stopped working. I freaked out and realized my worst fear was coming true, regardless of being at home and far away from any elevators. While I did find some comfort in the fact my husband was home and could help me, it didn’t stop me from frantically shouting. I got down on the floor, buried my head in my knees, closed my eyes and tried to calm down.
He began to talk to me as he scrambled around the house, up and down the stairs to the garage, collecting the tools he needed to set me free. With each tool he tried, he continued to talk to me, letting me know he was still there. When one tool wouldn’t work (which happened a couple of times), and he had to run back to the garage, I could still hear him through the air vent trying to reassure me.
As I laid on the floor, I became aware of something. Every time I heard his muffled voice, I calmed down a little more;. So I stood up and sat on the side of the tub so I could hear him better. He continued to talk to me, assuring me everything was okay and that it wouldn’t be much longer.
It made me think about the times I struggled to hear God when seeking answers and wanting to know what to do. I wondered if, in some way, I stay on the floor in my spiritual life, too.
Listen for the voice that calms, reassures and lets you know you’re never alone.
I was reminded I must stand up, be still, and get quiet to listen. And honestly, some days, I don’t want to shut out the distractions. Instead, I invite them in, out of fear. The fear I won’t hear right, the fear I won’t like what I hear, or worse, the fear I won’t hear Him at all. It made me wonder what it means to live a life of listening well, to hear God.
Our family is about to make a big decision, and I quickly forget what I learned on the bathroom floor that day. I’ve been talking to several friends about the wrestling we are experiencing in making this decision, and one encouraged me with a question. She asked me if I had been praying as much as I had been talking to her, others, and even my husband about it. I’ll be honest; I felt convicted because I hadn’t.
Intentionally listening well looks like:
- Not second-guessing ourselves or discounting what we thought we heard. I
- Continuing to get quiet and still even when it feels as if we are hearing crickets.
- Not comparing ourselves to how someone else hears.
- Praying even when we feel like a broken record.
I was only stuck in the bathroom for about 10 minutes that day, even though it felt like half an hour. When I finally emerged, besides a deep sense of relief, I walked out of the bathroom with a desire to listen for the voice that calms, reassures and lets me know I’m not alone. It is a reminder of the importance of stepping up and talking to others who may have found themselves on the floor in fear and letting them know they, too, aren’t alone.
Sarah Nichols is a writer who loves encouraging women by sharing hope-filled stories that point others to Jesus. She lives in Tucson, AZ, with her husband and four kids. You can find more from Sarah at http://sarahnicholswrites.com.