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Words of Life

Breathe and Listen

By Lisa Harper October 12, 2014 Words of Life

The Old Testament book of Isaiah gives a clue regarding how to sail through Ca.Ray.Zee. seasons without overturning: 

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:21) 

In other words, God gives us specific directions — even when life is loud and chaotic. All we have to do is listen

I hate to admit it, but the most recent place I heard divine GPS (I’ve intentionally rechristened that term to mean “God’s Positioning System” because the lady who lives in my dashboard has an annoying voice unlike the pleasant tone of the Holy Spirit in my head) was in the drive-thru line at Taco Bell. Or as I prefer to call it, Taco Smell. If you are ever desperate enough to eat one of their burritos, the odor will seep into your hands and linger, thereby shaming you about your digression into teenage-boy-fast-foodom for days!

 Well, anyway, I was in a hurry as usual and the joint that blessed the world with the bazillion-calorie-Doritos-inspired taco was the only place I had time to grab a bite before racing into another meeting. So I wheeled into their drive-thru with the thought: I think there’s some little bean thingy on their menu that’s only like ten points at Weight Watchers. And while I was pondering the I-bet-this-makes-real-Mexicans-wince list on the menu in front of me, a very sweet voice piped out of the metal talk box: “Welcome to Taco Bell, may I take your order, please?” I was surprised by the genuine kindness in this disembodied voice so I said, “You sure can! I want one of those little plain bean burritos and a Diet Pepsi, please.” Then I pulled around the corner to meet the person the voice lived in. 

The first thing I noticed was that she had a wide smile, which in my experience is an atypical expression for a teenager working the drive-thru window. I’m more used to sullen and clipped with a side order of rolled eyes. In that exact moment, I sensed God poking me and whispering, She could use a little encouragement today, Lisa. So, I said, “You have a great voice and a wonderful smile, what’s your name?” To which, she grinned wider and said, “my name is Leondrea.” I asked, “Lee-Own-Dree-Ah?” She replied firmly,” No, Lee-Awn-Dree-Uh.” And I said, “Oh… your mama sure was creative!” Which I hoped made up for by abysmal ability to pronounce urban names. But then I said, “Lee-Awn-Dree-Uh, you reminded me of a verse in the Bible that says, ‘Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame’ (Psalm 34:5 NIV).” 

Of course, we’d only known each other for thirty seconds, so I wasn’t sure how well the affirmation would go over. But then in a tumble of words Leondria told me it was her eighteenth birthday and she’d been bummed all afternoon because she really wanted to be hanging out with her friends instead of being stuck in a Taco Bell drive-thru. She explained that she’d just been thinking, Lawd, I need some kind of reminder that you see me today because this ain’t exactly how I wanted to spend my birthday, before I appeared. Her eyes lit up as she explained, “Then he sent me YOU to remind me of how special I am!” And for a minute there I thought she was going to try and squeeze through that itty-bitty window to hug me. 

The next time you’re feeling flummoxed by the length of your to-do list, just breathe, then lean in and listen for God’s directions. He might tell you to be still… or he might just guide you to do some small something for someone else before tackling your own seemingly gigantic stuff!


Lisa appears this Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. Reprinted by permission. Overextended…and loving most of it! by Lisa Harper. Copyright ©2013 by Lisa Harper. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. 

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