Linger to Listen
It’s been my One Word theme for 2020, even before Covid-19 twisted it into a theme for all of us.
And for the month of August? I concentrated on lingering to listen, specifically, listen to pain. My own and others. 2020 has been an appropriate year for that, too.
Last week, one of my best friends was in pain. I wasn’t able to be with her in person. That hurt. But as much as possible, I still tried to linger with her in her pain by listening to her words.
It’s what I’m about to embark upon with Jesus in September through November. Specifically, I’ll be lingering in his words that ended the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7.
Linger in Jesus’s Words
A few times a year, I take on a Bible memory challenge with Do Not Depart. We’re starting again September 6, taking 1 to 2 verses at a time.
We’ll be lingering in the red letters. The words of Jesus 2000 year ago. I look forward to it.
I know some of the words will sting. They’ll be painful.
“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye” (verse 5)
Other words will be full of hope.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find” (verse 7)
And yet other words will be an encouragement to love others better.
“So whatever you wish others would do to you, do also to them” (verse 12)
With the slow pace, I’ll get to linger with Jesus in each word, in each circumstance of my life, in each relationship I encounter.
Linger for Spiritual Exercise
Whether in pain or in silence or through experience, lingering is a spiritual exercise that has benefited me more than I could have predicted. It keeps me from moving ahead too fast. It forces me to be little more patient, to wait a little longer on God.
Because part of me wants to move on. To be finished with 2020. I want to return to normalcy. I want to be able to sit with my friends when they’re sick and listen to their pains and linger in their joys in person.
But I know God still has us in 2020 for good reasons. So I need to linger here with him, with his words, in his presence.
If memorizing scripture is something you’d like to try or return to, we welcome anyone to join us in this challenge to memorize Matthew 7:1-14.
You’ll receive lots of resources to print and encouragement along the way when you sign up.
And if consistency is an issue with you (it was our #1 reported hindrance in our unofficial Facebook poll), read here for 5 ways to be more consistent in memorizing scripture.
Lingering isn’t always comfortable. But lingering helps you notice things you wouldn’t notice otherwise. It affords opportunities to immerse yourself in deeper ways, in deeper places.
I can think of no better place to linger than in the truths of Jesus.
How are you doing with lingering in 2020? Share your thoughts in the comments.
- “So, What Do You Do?” When You Don’t Have an Answer
- On the Blog—August 2020