Carrots, Bikes and Listening

Three weeks ago I found myself down for the count. In fact, I was so down that I was gathering my things to go to the hospital.

I called a nurse hot line and was assured that I wasn’t in any danger but I should call my doctor. I did and they made me an appointment the next morning. After my exam I was told I would be fine but I should schedule a procedure in the next three weeks, just in case.

Jeff and I were at the grocery store a few days later and I had an overwhelming craving for carrots. To my great disappointment, there wasn’t a carrot to be found; its a very busy grocery store. Three days later I was back at the same store and I was excited that the carrot truck had been there. By the time I checked out, I had five bags of carrots; baby, whole, chopped, whatever they had.

Back home, I steamed them, smothered them in butter, sprinkled a little brown sugar and cyanine pepper on them and devoured them. I ate them for breakfast the next day. I ate them as a snack. If asked, I would have eaten them in a box, with a fox, on a train and in the rain.

Carrots? How bizarre. I went to the google to find out what these wonderful creations had to offer. There were many, but the two that jumped off the screen – iron and potassium. The two things my body was depleted of the week before. Go figure…my body knew what it needed to heal.

I’ve recently had a desire to get back on my bike and ride. I live in a beach town where I can ride 25 miles along the Pacific Ocean. Biking here is a delight, not a chore but it still takes the effort to actually get on the bike. After years of no rain, it’s finally the rainy season here in California, so I’ve been diligently riding my stationary bike in the garage till the weather breaks.

Yesterday, I geared up for my first outdoor ride. My hope was to make it five miles, but for some reason I chose the ten mile route.  About two thirds of the way into my ride, I was delighted that I was going to make the entire route and I noticed the knot I carry in my stomach was beginning to release. For the past thirty years, I’ve been trying to convince myself to follow a very strict diet. When I do so, all my digestion issues go away. When I don’t follow it (which is a lot of the time) I get all knotted up. By the time I was home, my tired little tummy was happy.

Hmmm. Carrots and biking, our bodies know what they need – we just have to listen.

Most of us can’t hear our bodies talk cause we’re so preoccupied with the unimportant conversations in our head. We have to get to know the unimportant voices, and to most of them, we need to tell them to shut up and go away. We have to stop trying to figure everything out, sometimes things just are. We have to stop analyzing every thought or feeling that runs through our minds. And we have to stop blaming everyone else for our struggles. We have to stop drowning in the pool of self-obsession and start living. We have to STOP TALKING, SIT DOWN and learn to LISTEN!

You never know what you might hear. Sometimes it may be as profound as “eat carrots and get on that bike!”

Who told you you were naked

Genesis 3:11  And He said, “Who told you that you were naked?

Voices are distinct. Often we recognize an actor’s voice before we recognize their face. We have telephone conversation with people we can’t see but are certain they are who they say they are because we know their voice.

Many people claim they hear lots of voices. These are typically intellectuals whose brains never stop. Unable to turn the voices off, they live their lives with continual conversation going on inside their heads. I read once that when this happens, one should try to identify one voice at a time, mentally put that voice in a lidded jar and soon all the voices would have a new home. I repeated this to my friend who only looked at me like I was crazy – he hears lots of voices.

Adam knew only a few voices, that of Eve’s and God’s. After the apple incident, Adam and Eve confessed, “We hide because we were naked.” It is God’s response that clenches my heart as if someone has reached in and grabbed it; “Who told you you were naked?” Adam, who told you?

I ask a similar question; Who told you you are bad? Who told you you are wrong? Who told you you are sinful? Who told you you are stupid? Who told you you are a failure? Who told you you are going to hell? I know for sure it wasn’t God. So whose voice is it? Who are you listening to?

It takes time to get to know God’s voice. It requires putting all those other voices in lidded jars and setting them on a very high shelf where they won’t be disturbed. If you’re not sure which is God’s, I suggest you begin with removing all the ‘you are bad’, ‘you are wrong’, ‘you’re a failure’, ‘you’re going to hell’, type of voices first; those can be jarred!

We fail to hear Him because we’ve allowed all the other voices in. God’s voice is the gentle whisper that says, “I love you. I have a plan for you. I’m right here waiting for you. I know everything you’ve done and it doesn’t matter. Let’s walk together.” His is the voice of love and forgiveness. It’s the voice of redemption. All the others are not.

So I ask you, Who told you you were naked?