October 8, 2010

Be Our Guest / Joanie Nobbe

Listen carefully because God is nudging you in your life

Joanie NobbeThose of you who know me are currently laughing because you didn’t think the word “listening” was in my vocabulary. I have never been good at listening.

As an adult, I have really worked on this area of my life with little success.

In the old days, I would be thinking of what I wanted to say next while the other person was talking to me. Most of the report cards that I brought home from grade school had notes attached that said, “Joanie has trouble listening and staying in her seat.”

God also knows me. He knows that if he whispers my name that I am not going to be still long enough to hear him.

God knows each one of us and how best to approach us. He is calling us to do his work. God uses us to accomplish his purpose. Imagine Mass on Sunday if no one volunteered at your parish.

My own personal struggle was that I didn’t think God could use me. Why would he pick me for holy work when I was far from holy?

Throughout the Bible, he used sinners for his work. But the only thing that was stopping God from using me was me.

Through Christ Jesus, God forgives us the moment we ask for that forgiveness, but I am never quite ready to forgive myself. I like to hold on to these sins, which helps me say that, “I am not the one, God. Pick someone else.” But God keeps nudging me.

Running from God’s call doesn’t work either—just ask Jonah. Not that I think I could get swallowed up by a fish anymore than I think God is going to speak to me through a burning bush.

He speaks to me through my determination, something that I excel in. If I set my mind to something, I don’t let anything get in my way.

I also tend to go with my urges. The stronger the urge, the more determined that I am to do it.

Now I know what you are thinking, and the answer is “yes.” Sometimes I ignore the urge if I feel it is out of my comfort zone. But God keeps nudging me.

God presses upon my heart what he needs from me. Through dreams, memories and “out of the blue” thoughts, I know when God is telling me that someone needs me.

It is really easy in those times to make a phone call, drop a note or send up a prayer for them. What I find hard is when God is urging me to do things that are not easy for me. But God keeps nudging me.

For those of you who don’t know me, I like to talk. In fact, I love to talk. It is my “gift” from God. And I use it for everything but his purpose.

I can talk about anything except my relationship with God. I feel it is private. I worry about being judged. I am even uncomfortable talking about it with my husband. But God keeps nudging me.

I have never been a writer, but when God gives me the urge he also gives me the words.

Just know that when answering God’s call, he will give you all you need to accomplish it. You shouldn’t fear it because he is with you.

St. Paul said in his Letter to the Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).

Jump out of your comfort zone because God is your net!

(Joanie Nobbe is a member of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Enochsburg.)

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