Learning through Life

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Hampshire, United Kingdom
I love how our day-to-day life can teach us lessons to help us understand our past, challenge our today, and inspire our future. We can learn through experiences, situations, conversations, songs, books, nature ... the list is endless! Live with eyes ready to see, ears ready to hear and a heart ready to be touched.

Friday, 21 October 2011

The one with the Teabag

I am very blessed.  Yes, I know it.  You see, most mornings one of my sons will bring a cup of tea up to me in bed.  Some mornings I might even get two!  Life is good.

The other morning however, it was not so good.  My alarm had gone off, and been put on snooze, and there I lay, drifting in and out of sleep, waiting to hear the familiar 'chink' as a cup is placed on my bedside table.  It seemed a long time coming this particular morning, but it did arrive.  I slowly sat up, picked up the new Starbucks mug that had appeared, and with a content sigh, I took the first sip.  MMmmmmm ......

BUT - the MMmmmm soon turned into Ewwwwwww.  Something was wrong.

It was still hot.  It looked the right colour.  It was in the right mug (yes, that does make a difference!) - So - what was the problem?

It just didn't hit the spot!  Something was different.  Somehow, something seemed missing.  And then it dawned on me ....

Caffeine!  Or rather, the lack of it!

Somehow, the teabags must have been mixed up in the cupboard and the teabag my son had used was void of caffeine.

Not so good first thing in the morning! Thankfully, I still had time to have a 'proper' tea before leaving the house.

Later on that morning, I met with a friend (yes, you guessed it, for tea!), and I shared my early morning experience with her.  After laughing at how I can make such a big thing out of tea, she explained that she wouldn't have known the difference.  This got me thinking ...

How did I know with such assurance?  After all, it was early in the morning and I was still very sleepy and decaf tea doesn't really taste that different to regular tea.

But ... I knew.

I knew because I drink a lot of tea!  I know how it should taste.  Even with the diversity of brands and strengths I drink, I know when an imposter, with its clever disguise, tries to sneak in.  Decaf teabag - you will not fool me!  I know my tea.

I wonder, do I know my God that well?  Do I always hear him when he speaks?  Hmmmm ...

I know how tea should taste because I drink a lot of it - it is a big part of my life.   Can I say I spend enough time with God that I know his voice?  Easily?  Always?  Sadly, I know the answer to this isn't a resounding yes.  I wish it were.  I really do.

In John 10, Jesus explains that sheep follow their shepherd because they know him.  They have spent enough time in the pen listening to his voice, that when he says follow, they do.

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.  The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 
Do we know our Shepherd that well?  Do we follow when he speaks?

If we are not able to easily recognise the voice of Jesus, it isn't because he isn't speaking.  He loves to tell us we are loved, to give joy and peace, to guide us, to reveal his splendour and majesty to us.  He does speak.  We just don't recognise it.

I spotted the decaf imposter that morning because I knew the real thing.  I would like to say that I know Jesus that well too.  I am getting there slowly.  I need to read his Word, and talk with him more.  I need to stop running around bleating like crazy, and spend more time in the pen listening.

What about you?  Do you need to get in the pen with me? :)


  1. I really like this blog Jo, I was praying earlier this week before a hosp appointment and just get so wound up beforehand that my prayers were just becoming almost frantic and disjointed, if that makes sense?? I was almost having a conversation with myself and rather than calming down and waiting on the Lord I was ultimately trying to reassure myself... Which obviously didn't help much! I think I could definitely do with more time in the 'pen'!

  2. How did the hospital appt go Sam?
    Your reply totally makes sense - I know that thought well - rushing around - even in our prayer times, flitting here and there, saying all the right things, but never stopping still even long enough to completely finish our sentence or train of thought! Good job God understands us eh? Still - that said, pen time, quietly resting,listening to his voice - has to become a much bigger part of our prayer time - and life in general! That's two of us in the pen! We are not alone :)

  3. Count me in the pen too! We can also be so busy doing 'things' in the church - all legitimate things that need to be done and are ministries to other people - that we can lose sight of the Shepherd himself and fail to hear his voice when he is calling us. I think I somehow need to find opportunity to 'do' a little less and 'listen' a little more.

  4. Hi there, this could explain the mistakes we make in guidance when we are young Christians. We are sure that it's God's will and guidance because of a, b, c. In fact, we are reading it all wrong, and we haven't really heard his voice, or interpreted his directions correctly.

    With practice, one just "knows" when one has heard his voice--but that does not make it easier to explain to someone else--either that we have indeed heard God's directions, or how to learn to listen themselves.

    I guess it just flows out of the relationship.

  5. I need to be in the pen too! Tend to be very much a 'Martha' more than a 'Mary' (mixing my manuscripts now)...

    We always sing about 'strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord' etc but how often do we actually do that!! Time to go and do that now I think...

  6. Dan - I know ... we sing these songs but often don't put them into practice. 'Hungry' makes me laugh for that - 'So I WAIT for you' ... but not that long because then I am RUNNING TO YOU! Bit stop and start that one! Running to God - no - wait - no - run - no wait!! Hope you managed to get some good 'pen time' in :)

  7. I'm coming in! Love this analogy. Habit-forming takes discipline and I want to be able to hear HIs voice as a habit! And I completely understand about the caffeine!


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