The earliest memory I have of an actual prayer when I was a kid was a recurring petition: God, just let me hear your voice. Often more breathed than spoken, this deep-hearted yearning was the subliminal wallpaper of my teenage years. Named or unnamed, I think this is the quiet cry of many a heart. Perhaps in some sense, every heart.
This past January three leaders named this desire to hear God in a very active way: They joined me for a three-day guided retreat to discern what God had to say about the year past and the year ahead. What a way to start a year! It was amazing.
As leaders of companies, churches, and workgroups, you are making decisions with far-reaching effect every week. Sometimes every day. So does that desire resonate with you? Lord, help me know your will. Help me make decisions that honor you and produce good outcomes for those I lead and for your larger purposes in the world.
Drew, Bob, and John—each pictured above—joined me at Roan Mountain for several days of earnest conversation, prayer and journaling, hearty meals, a bit of wine…and a hike up the mountain. (Bob gets the “Badass Award” for summiting Round Bald in sub-zero wind chill!) Each were there to discern what God was doing and saying in their personal lives and leadership. And guess what? God does what God does best: reveals, draws, confirms, and loves. Each one of these guys left with fresh encouragement, insight, and direction. And so can you.
It doesn’t require a three-day retreat and a mountain climb to hear God’s voice (although those can help). What it does require is space, inquiry, and attention—commodities often in short supply in our daily lives.
I dare say that many of you face an important decision right now—a question with various possibilities that calls for more than human smarts; it calls for divine wisdom. Fortunately Jesus offers us precisely that. Remember, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all…and it will be given to you” (James 1: 5).
What if this is what God is doing every day—offering wise, loving counsel to you…but you’re running too fast and hard to hear it? What if God is inviting you into a depth of relationship that yields a holy partnership within your workplace calling…but you’re too busy to invest there beyond your perfunctory “morning devotions”?
Look, this is a no-guilt zone so I’m not trying to shame anyone. We’ve all been in that space, but I think we want more. I know God wants more for us. What if every workplace decision could be a matter of discerning what God is doing in that moment—how amazing would that be?! Let’s lean into that together.
Take your current decision or question to God today. Block out an hour on your calendar to work through this Discernment Exercise. Watch how this is different than your typical approach to problem-solving. But be careful, this might become a habit.
Plus, think about whether you might want to join me next January for your own mountain adventure in hearing God.
Dial down the volume on your workplace noise long enough to dial up the volume on the divine Whisper who is always speaking, always loving, always drawing.