Straight from an Attentive Heart
By Lisa Elliott
I am not a morning person. I tell people that I rise and set with the sun. Get me before 10, and I’m still rising. By noon I’m at my peak. After 4:00 I’m dying in the west. And by 8:00 day is done, gone the sun and to bed I must run! Lately, however, the Lord has been waking me up early. We’re talking 5:00 am early! I’ve realized that the sun does actually rise earlier than me!
This morning was one of those 5:00 mornings. My eyes shot open and my mind kicked into gear. Rather than fighting it, as I once was accustomed to doing, I responded by getting up, putting the coffee on, and opening my Bible to see if there was something the Lord might want to say to me. He had my full and undivided attention!
This habit, as you can guess by now, doesn’t come naturally. However, I’ve been paying attention to the example of my very close friend, whom, I came to find out was up at 5:00 this morning as well. 5:01, to be exact. These are her words sent to me via email. “Good morning friend, God woke me this morning at 5:01 am to the sound of my mom calling my name. I honestly thought it was her calling me! I bolted straight up in bed to listen to see if she would call me again. Needless to say I got up and came to Him right away to listen and pray for you.” I’ve learned not to question what I’ll label as my friend’s, “call to attentiveness.” You see, she has learned throughout the past number of years what being attentive to God’s voice really looks like. Please allow me to give a little bit of context.
Our divine connection began years ago when she and her family were living half way around the world from me. In the middle of her day, she would find herself washing her dishes and crying into her sink as she thought of and prayed for me. Unbeknownst to either of us at the time but later found out that simultaneously, in the middle of my night, I would wake up from a dream about her. In my dream we would embrace and cry together. Initially I thought, “What a coincidence”. Since that time, however, I’ve learned it was more like a God-incident. God was keeping us both attentive to pray for each other through what we learned later was an extremely difficult time in both of our lives.
So closely attuned to each other’s hearts are we that, since that time years ago, she has often been awakened in the middle of the night (thankfully now back in my time zone), to a door bell, a dog barking or a phone ringing, usually with me on her heart. She has come to refer to me as her “pain-in-the-neck friend”. Not only because of her middle-of-the-night rude awakenings, but also because when the Lord lays me on her heart, He weighs me heavily on her neck. To the point that at times she’s had to go to the hospital to help control the pain with IV medication! I know this for a fact, because afterwards she’ll ask me what was going on in my life. When I fill her in, she then goes on to tell me the time her neck began to throb and at what time she was relieved of her pain. More often than not, corresponding to the exact point in time when I was facing some sort of spiritual battle. (You might want to consider long and hard before you invite me to be your friend! LOL)
In one of my previous blogs I addressed the need to train your ears to “listen” for the Lord’s voice. However, there is a difference between listening and being attentive to it. In Scripture, “listen” often implies, “pay attention”. In other words, don’t just listen, do something about it (James 1:22); especially when God calls you by name. Such was the case with Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:1-10. My youngest daughter had an experience like this one that is shared in my newly released book, Dancing in the Rain. At the time of her divine encounter, I reminded her of Samuel’s response, “Speak, Lord. For your servant is listening.” Then I told her to pay close attention to what He might be trying to tell her. His call to attention calls us to a response. He calls us to wake up our slumbering spirits to be attentive to the still, small voice of His Holy Spirit.
If you’re like me, I can be guilty of listening, but not really paying close attention. That being the case, I don’t always follow through with responding the way that I should, either with my words or my actions. However, I’m learning that the Lord doesn’t just wake me in the middle of the night for nothing. He has something to say. Not simply for me to hear, but to pay close attention and be attentive to. It could be that He is waking me up to pray for someone or to give me a much needed and timely word of encouragement from His Word. In other cases it could be a word of warning. Still other times He is alerting me to an instruction I’m to pay attention to through obedience.
What is He saying to you today? Whatever it is He wants to bring to your attention—at whatever time of day or night—when the Lord speaks, especially when He calls you by name, pay attention. Even more so, give Him your undivided attention! Undeniably, He has something to say that you won’t want to miss. Are you paying attention?
My son [daughter], pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. (Proverbs 4: 20-22) Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)
Can’t get enough of Straight from the Heart? Lisa is touring Ontario with Dancing in the Rain! Catch her at any of these events:
Thursday, March 19 – Grandview Baptist Church, Kitchener, ON – Joy Fellowship
Saturday, March 21 – Temple Baptist Church Ladies Conference – Sarnia, ON
Saturday, March 28 – Creation Christian Book Store Book Signing 900 Oxford Street East #12, London, ON N5Y 5A1 (519) 659-2610
Saturday, April 25 – Willow Creek Baptist Church Ladies Retreat – Shamrock Lodge Port Carling, ON
Saturday, May 2 – St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Ladies Day Retreat – Fergus, ON
Saturday, May 9 – Townsend Community Church Ladies Day – Townsend, ON
Monday, May 25 – Abundant Life Community Church – London, ON
Saturday, May 30 – Bridlegrove Bible Chapel – Scarborough, ON
Saturday, June 6 – Collier St. United Church Ladies Conference – Barrie, ON
Thursday, June 11-13 – Write Canada Conference and Word Awards – Toronto, ON
August 9-14 – Fair Havens Bible Conference Centre – Beaverton, ON
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org