Stop a moment.

Pull out the ear buds.

Take your hand off the mouse.

Put down your beverage of choice.

Now, close your eyes and listen for a moment or two.

Do you hear it?

Do you hear what your life is saying to you?

I don’t know about you, but for me, listening requires intentionality. And when it comes to listening to my life,  sometimes I wonder if I need hearing aids. The noise of busyness and obligations drowns out the even, quiet tones of life, and if we’re not careful, we’ll arrive at the other end of our journey full of regret and without a clue about what life said to us along the way.

Life sometimes installs speed bumps that force us to slow down and pay attention. Health crises, job changes, deaths, moves, relationship changes, and other life-redirecting events require us to discard the trivial and strip down to the core of who we are and what life is. I’ve experienced a couple of these already in 2015, and I’m trying to listen better than I have in the past.

But it’s not easy.

It’s been a week since I stepped down from my position as a technical writer. I’ve had people ask what I’m doing now that I’m not working at a J-O-B. Depending on who asks, I mumble one of the stock answers I’ve come up with about rest or housework or looking into potential part-time or telecommuting opportunities.

I have been doing all of these things. But I’ve also been reading and researching and praying about my next steps. Reading The Art of Work by Jeff Goins reminded me of the Frederick Buechner quote in the featured image of this post. After referring to Buechner’s call to “listen to our lives,” Goins follows up with this:

What Buechner was saying is that awareness doesn’t just happen; it must be cultivated. If you pay attention to your life and the lessons it can teach you, you won’t feel so lost. Your story will seem less like a series of disjointed events and more like a beautifully complex narrative unfolding before you. You will understand each setback, inconvenience, and frustration as something more than what it appears to be. And perhaps, as you listen to it, your life will speak.

And that is what I’m trying to do with this time I’ve been given. That’s my first step. It’s a place where I’ve gotten stuck in the past either because I didn’t listen, didn’t like what I heard, or didn’t act on what I did hear. But for right now, I’m listening.


Coming soon: Learning to Act 


Posts in the Series, Making Life Changes
Step 1: Listening to Life
Step 2: Ordering the Clutter
Step 3: Your Life—the Final Frontier, Boldly Going Where You’ve Not Gone Before

As a part of this new adventure, my website and blog will be getting a makeover in May. If you’d like to follow my foolish adventure and begin one of your own, here are four easy ways to do it.

Photo credit: © 2014 Sherri Tobias

Photo quote: Frederick Buechner, Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation