Nurturing and Listening to that Inner Voice
From Rev. Nancy Nourse
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet God feeds them…seek first God’s kingdom and God’s ways, and all these things will be given to you…”
…Matthew 6:26, 33
It’s mid November and almost daily in the sky are giant flocks of geese flying south in their V formation. I am always amazed at the ability of birds in general to migrate the way they do. Birds have this incredible instinct to listen to that voice within them.
They sense the change in season at just the right time – not too soon, not too late. They start eating extra to store up energy for their migration. They give themselves enough time to travel the hundreds or even thousands of kilometers needed to reach their winter home. And they will come back again in due time.
Birds also know where to go. Many of them—those newly-hatched this summer—have never seen the land towards which they migrate to for winter. Yet they go there and go to the very place where their parents went before them! Why do they go south? Why don’t they fly north, east, or west? And they know the way as well. Birds instinctually know not just which direction to go, but also how to get there. Do they recognize land marks? Do they pay attention to where the sun rises and sets in the sky? Do they know which mountain range to turn at or what highway to fly above? Somehow their inner GPS guides them. And most importantly, they pay attention to it.
As humans I think we have come to rely on devices for going that far, haven’t we? So many of us have GPS on our phones and in our cars to help us find a new location. And for generations we have used maps or an atlas or a compass, or even some in ancient days studied the stars to help find the right direction. As well, pilots and ship captains rely on navigation tools to find their way across the ocean and through the skies. And we learn about the seasons and watch the weather forecast to decide when it\s the best time to travel.
The geese flying south right now – that inner voice that guides them…it makes me think about how we have a similar inner guide. But perhaps our busyness in life, and the habits we have created over time have caused us to rely more on technology and less on creation and less on the wisdom of faith to guide our lives. I do love my technology. It simplifies my life in many ways. But there’s another way – more important ways - that we as Christians can seek and use for direction in our lives.
Individually, we have those spiritual practices we can build into our days…morning prayer, quiet meditation away from our desk at lunch, filling our lungs with mountain air and giving thanks for creation on a weekend hike. And coming together, finding strength and renewal in a faith community, there are opportunities like Sunday worship, a book or bible study, and volunteering on an outreach project in the neighbourhood.
What do you need in your life so that you have the guidance and direction you need, and that helps you listen to that voice within you…