Peter and I were engaged to be married. Ours was a brief courting (a month or two ;) and now we were excitedly awaiting our wedding day. We were in marital counseling with our pastor and he told us that the top four reasons people get divorced are: Money, Sex, Religion, and In-Laws (sorry guys).
Peter and I conflicted on each of these in some way and it brought tension into our newly forming bond.
The hardest, I think, was religion. We couldn’t seem to find a common ground. We were both Christians and loved Jesus. We both wanted to follow Him and serve Him with all of our hearts. But I grew up in a conservative Bible church. He had been saved two years earlier in a small charismatic church in the woods that I lovingly coined a cult ;). And why? Because it was different and I didn’t understand it. They worshiped too long (Two hours before moving on to the sermon) and hung around afterward to pray. Then everyone went to get something to eat. A full day of fellowship… not the hour from start to finish, smile, go home, I was used to. It made me uncomfortable. I didn’t fit in.
So, we argued about it. Not just about how long we needed to spend our Sundays with those strange people ;), but on a deeper level. Which manner of worship was right? Which honored God more? Certainly how I had been doing it, how I had been raised and taught was right. Right?
On one such evening, we had argued ourselves into such a fit, that I had gone to bed quite mad and quite sure I could never marry this man. We were just too different. Did he even understand me?
At 4am, before the dawn, before the world stirred, I woke to the sound of a mockingbird outside my window. And I listened. With my eyes on the ceiling of my dusky room, I listened.
For those who don’t know the mockingbird, he has a very distinct call. But not because it is his own. He does not sing his own tune. He does not have his own unique voice. Instead, he mimics the sounds of other birds and strings those together to make his song. Thus giving him his name.
I laid in bed and listened. And through the quiet listening the Lord spoke.
He said, “That is you. And Peter. You are taking the songs, the opinions of others around you and stringing them together to find your voice. Stop listening to the views and judgments that clamor for your attention. Stop trying to build yourself and your faith on what others say and do. Stop. And listen to Me.”
“Stop. And listen to Me.”
In a world where the clamor is loud, who am I listening to?
Who are you listening too?