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Hearing v. Listening

A lot of times, we get frustrated. We want to hear from God, but we don’t seem to know how. Is there a formula? A secret password that we need to say? Then, there’s the added challenge of knowing when it is Him when He is talking. Was that just my desire? Was it the serpent? Could that have really been Him?

 

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the one who doesn’t seem to know how to hear Him. But more than that, maybe I don’t know how to listen to Him…

 

It all started about 2 years ago. I was baking for my church. There’s a visitor’s reception after service to greet any new faces, so I would make sweets for the table. Then, I was asked to make dessert for a lunch after service the next week. I didn’t know it then, but that request would change everything.

 

After making a dessert that next Sunday, I met a caterer who knew how to bake, she just didn’t like to. Her friend told her I bake. Trying my dessert led to her asking if she could use me as a baker for some of her events. I said yes, but she could sense my lack of enthusiasm.

 

First it was Green Tea cookies. Then, mini cupcakes for church: Cookies & Cream, White Chocolate Raspberry, Espresso… to name a few. When I toyed around with new flavors that hadn’t been done before, I started getting more friends’ attention. Peach Cobbler cupcakes…. S’mores…. Mojito. Then it was Bread Pudding for one of my best friend’s bridal shower. Before too long, I was getting asked to bake for more and more events. And I was experimenting with more and more flavors.

 

But the whole time, if you had asked me…. I was NOT trying to do this as a living. I was NOT going to be pursuing this. It was just fun. It was just a creative outlet. I thought it would be too taxing, or boring, or I couldn’t even tell you what, if it was my full time job. More likely, I was scared from a previously failed entrepreneurial experience. And I wanted the safety of a typical job with benefits and weekends off. Or a job in event planning. Which didn’t give me weekends off, but it was what I loved to do. Whatever it was, or the combined reasons, I just knew I had other plans.

 

I was hearing these compliments… and mentions of Cupcake Wars… but I was not really listening. To Him. I wasn’t trying to hear from Him in this, because this wasn’t my plan. But, as it turns out, it was His.

 

Fast forward to present, I was with a friend a couple months ago. She wanted me to think about finding little shops I could get my cupcakes in. — Keep in mind, she was the same friend who told the caterer about me that launched my dessert catering business! — Then, she wanted to take me to this dessert spot she frequented, because it was “the type of place she could see my stuff in some day.” Little did she know, by the end of our meal, she would be telling the owner about me. A few days later, I was there to do a taste test.

 

It hit me as we were leaving. She JUST said I should try to get my desserts into shops, as another way of exposing my sweets. And I was still halfheartedly agreeing with her. But, that whole day, was nothing but Him trying to get me to listen.

 

All this time, I kept waiting to hear from God…. especially when it came to my career. See, 2 years ago when this started, right before my 30th birthday, I found myself unemployed and frustrated. I wanted 30 to be amazing, to be the next chapter. I had no idea it was starting, without my input. I had NO idea it would lead me here.

 

…But that’s because I wasn’t listening.

 

When I started baking for the church, it was my tithe. I didn’t have financial means to tithe, so I baked.

When I was asked to make the dessert for the lunch, I was asked to make something specific.

Because I didn’t have those ingredients, I made something else.

Because of what I made instead, it had to be refrigerated.

Because it had to be refrigerated, people who knew I bake, had to ask me specifically for my dessert.

Because it was refrigerated, there was one left at the end when the caterer returned.

God was right there, in the details. Speaking.

But, I wasn’t listening.

 

I enjoyed being asked to bake… I thought that was it.

 

I recently celebrated another birthday. Everything, and I mean, everything, I got from family & friends was baking related.

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As I was telling a trusted mentor, she said, “I guess God’s trying to tell you something!” From our conversation, I went back and really looked at all the details. I was speechless.

 

Not only had God been clearly orchestrating everything on my behalf, and opening doors I never could have imagined opening…. He was doing so without my input.

 

Even more mind-boggling, He was honoring my tithe. He didn’t have to. — We don’t tithe to get something back from God, as a down payment for the blessings or life we want. Or, we shouldn’t, anyways. — If you’re in a transition; if you’re in need in some way, please, let that sink in. I was using my gift as a tithe, when I didn’t have an income to tithe with. Yet, somehow, God saw fit to turn my tithe into a job opportunity. And He can do the same for you.

 

He wants our time, talents, treasures. He wants quality time with us. He wants us to trust Him with how He has gifted us. He wants us to trust Him MORE than the treasures of this world. We cannot depend on formulas to get God to work on our behalf… but He is bigger than any formula that we could come up with. Listen to what He’s asking you to give. Pay attention to gifts He wants to awaken in you through obedience. Reading Malachi 3:10 and Luke 6:38, when I had no money to tithe was hard. But, reading it once I finally saw what God was doing? PRICELESS!!!! And the fact that the language in Luke 6:38 references cooking/baking…. that’s just icing on the cake!  

 

Now, trusting God has become even sweeter…. not just in finally getting on board with what He has in store for me…. but in knowing He will wait patiently when I don’t listen. He will wait until He has to shout it loudly, like with my birthday gifts. And even more ironically, He uses this shouting moment to remind me of His still small voice all along. 

 

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