Leaning In

This comes from the finding-the-truth-in-strange-places department of my life. If you want to know why God often speaks to us in a still small voice, I know of no better explanation than this, by a chef and former NFL football player:

If you want your kids to listen to you, don’t yell at them. Whisper. Make them lean in. My kids taught me that and I do it with adults now.
Mario Batali, in Esquire

Great advice for parents! Even better for us to understand why God doesn’t scream his plan and purpose into our lives. It’s an invitation not a demand! Yes, it takes a bit to learn to listen to that voice and give it the place in your life that it deserves, but what he wants most is for us to lean in and enjoy him, not just get his wisdom.

My sheep know my voice, Jesus said. It’s not about hearing first; it’s always about relationship!

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24 Comments
  1. Kelly Martin-Shirk October 21, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Love this ‘leaning in to Him’.

    There was a strong wind, but the Lord was not in the wind; there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; there was fire, but the Lord was not in the fire – then, there was a still small voice – and Elijah went out [leaned in] and he heard Him.

    Yes! Thank you.

  2. Don Feazelle October 21, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I love the pictures of you with your grandchildren. I have two of my own. God gives grandchildren a special place in our hearts. Amen to this post.

  3. Wayne October 21, 2010 at 11:16 am

    My daughter takes most of these pictures. She has a fabulous eye for photography and catching the most wonderful moments with her kids. I didn’t even notice when she took this picture. I was having a tender moment with Aimee and she sneaked into it with her camera unnoticed by me. When I got the picture a couple of days later in my email, I was really blessed to recapture that moment of delight between a grandpa and his grandgirl. It screams “Abba” to me, which is a bit strange given my post above. Shhhh… No sreaming! 😉

  4. David William Edwards October 21, 2010 at 11:26 am

    “I have faith that God will show you the answer. But you have to understand that sometimes it takes a while to be able to recognize what God wants you to do. That’s how it often is. God’s voice is usually nothing more than a whisper, and you have to listen very carefully to hear it. But other times, in those rarest of moments, the answer is obvious and rings as loud as a church bell.”
    — Nicholas Sparks (The Last Song)

  5. Theresa Lode October 21, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I love that pic too; too precious!

    Wayne, I am always amazed how these simple lessons have so many applications. In writing about educational models and learning differences, I’m always struck with the similarities about living free from religion. I guess it’s all about the quest for freedom.

    My model any more for education is: Relationships first, Skills second, Academics last. And then I find that works with the life of the believer too. So often we “disciple” new believers with telling them to dig into the word and follow disciplines. And the relationship is never allowed to mature; ditto for the learning HOW to live loved.

    In academics the backwards approach of academics first creates book smarts but no practical application. In the spiritual…well, we know where THAT leads eh?

    It’s GOT to come down to relationships first.

  6. Kelly Martin-Shirk October 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Love this ‘leaning in to Him’.

    There was a strong wind, but the Lord was not in the wind; there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; there was fire, but the Lord was not in the fire – then, there was a still small voice – and Elijah went out [leaned in] and he heard Him.

    Yes! Thank you.

  7. Don Feazelle October 21, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I love the pictures of you with your grandchildren. I have two of my own. God gives grandchildren a special place in our hearts. Amen to this post.

  8. Wayne October 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    My daughter takes most of these pictures. She has a fabulous eye for photography and catching the most wonderful moments with her kids. I didn’t even notice when she took this picture. I was having a tender moment with Aimee and she sneaked into it with her camera unnoticed by me. When I got the picture a couple of days later in my email, I was really blessed to recapture that moment of delight between a grandpa and his grandgirl. It screams “Abba” to me, which is a bit strange given my post above. Shhhh… No sreaming! 😉

  9. David William Edwards October 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    “I have faith that God will show you the answer. But you have to understand that sometimes it takes a while to be able to recognize what God wants you to do. That’s how it often is. God’s voice is usually nothing more than a whisper, and you have to listen very carefully to hear it. But other times, in those rarest of moments, the answer is obvious and rings as loud as a church bell.”
    — Nicholas Sparks (The Last Song)

  10. Theresa Lode October 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I love that pic too; too precious!

    Wayne, I am always amazed how these simple lessons have so many applications. In writing about educational models and learning differences, I’m always struck with the similarities about living free from religion. I guess it’s all about the quest for freedom.

    My model any more for education is: Relationships first, Skills second, Academics last. And then I find that works with the life of the believer too. So often we “disciple” new believers with telling them to dig into the word and follow disciplines. And the relationship is never allowed to mature; ditto for the learning HOW to live loved.

    In academics the backwards approach of academics first creates book smarts but no practical application. In the spiritual…well, we know where THAT leads eh?

    It’s GOT to come down to relationships first.

  11. Danielle White October 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    I long to have a relationship with God of what your picture portrays!

  12. Danielle White October 21, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    I long to have a relationship with God of what your picture portrays!

  13. exdroid October 22, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Small Still Voice is the name of a very good old song by Leon Patillo (1984)

    You can hear a sample of it here
    track 10
    http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/39540037-the-sky-s-the-limit

  14. exdroid October 23, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Small Still Voice is the name of a very good old song by Leon Patillo (1984)

    You can hear a sample of it here
    track 10
    http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/39540037-the-sky-s-the-limit

  15. concerned October 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    How do I tell the mother that called me today in tears because her daughter grabbed her hair and punched her that she speaking in a whisper is suppose to make her daughter lean in and listen?

    Although she hasn’t been a perfect mom, she is very much opposed to taking the harsher route. Yet she IS being abused by both her kids. This mom is so scarred.

    It seems to me that the statement as it sits is counting more on a method than relationship and understanding God and fallen human nature. We cannot discount the gospel message.

    Kids that are growing and developing do need to be yelled at from time to time because they won’t listen. Is it what God desires? I don’t believe so. I believe He does prefer to whisper, but He will use other routes if He needs to. That’s love too.

    It is an invitation. It always has been, but there is a standard and in a sense that is a demand too. I get what your saying, I’m concerned though with how it is communicated here. We can be wonderful parents and our childrean can still go astray…even if just for a time.

    Hope you can understand my issue here, especially after the phone call today.

  16. concerned October 24, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    How do I tell the mother that called me today in tears because her daughter grabbed her hair and punched her that she speaking in a whisper is suppose to make her daughter lean in and listen?

    Although she hasn’t been a perfect mom, she is very much opposed to taking the harsher route. Yet she IS being abused by both her kids. This mom is so scarred.

    It seems to me that the statement as it sits is counting more on a method than relationship and understanding God and fallen human nature. We cannot discount the gospel message.

    Kids that are growing and developing do need to be yelled at from time to time because they won’t listen. Is it what God desires? I don’t believe so. I believe He does prefer to whisper, but He will use other routes if He needs to. That’s love too.

    It is an invitation. It always has been, but there is a standard and in a sense that is a demand too. I get what your saying, I’m concerned though with how it is communicated here. We can be wonderful parents and our childrean can still go astray…even if just for a time.

    Hope you can understand my issue here, especially after the phone call today.

  17. Wayne October 25, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Dear concerned, I’m sorry for your friend. It is incredibly painful when family relationships go bad. I hope she finds a way back into her kids’ hearts. I’m not sure yelling back is going to help, but the punching should not be ignored. It is assault and parents who allow their kids to treat them that way are asking for even more trouble down the road. Obviously this family needs some help. My blog was not meant to address hostile situations, but people who already want to know God and be drawn into a relationship with him.

  18. Wayne October 25, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Dear concerned, I’m sorry for your friend. It is incredibly painful when family relationships go bad. I hope she finds a way back into her kids’ hearts. I’m not sure yelling back is going to help, but the punching should not be ignored. It is assault and parents who allow their kids to treat them that way are asking for even more trouble down the road. Obviously this family needs some help. My blog was not meant to address hostile situations, but people who already want to know God and be drawn into a relationship with him.

  19. nancy October 30, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Concerned, from someone’s who’s been there, “standards” and “demands” will not help your friend. Her children are acting out to defend their hearts against something that is overwhelming them and keeping them in turmoil. Not knowing the background of her situation but having been through similar with my kids i will suggest that she needs to speak her heart to their hearts in simple, truthful words. I cannot count the times i heard “i hate you” and answered “i still love you”. She can tell them she is “for them, not against them”. She can tell them she knows they are hurting. She can tell them that hurting her will not help their hurt. I have said to my kids when they acted out…”is that who you really are, is that who you want to be….i don’t think that’s who you really are.” God will give her the internal confidence to be a safe person for her kids, someone they can trust so they can let their defenses down, and she, in turn, will need to have confidence in the hearts God gave them. You start by disregarding most of the parenting advice out there, you stop reacting to their behavior and start looking at why they feel they must act out to defend themselves, and what and who they are really defending against. This may be complicated and/or difficult for you and them to face. Don’t expect them to be able to explain or analyze, or to listen if do. When you care about their hearts and speak to their hearts and show trust in their hearts, you will become a safe person and over time they will feel safe enough to slowly let down their defenses. It is a process and it does not include lecturing, threats, accusation, judgment, condemnation or demands. It takes time for your kids to realize you are safe and that you are real and truthful and that they can take a chance on trusting you. Being real includes being imperfect and accepting that in yourself and your kids. Give grace and more grace. Treat them as forgiven even when they don’t apologize. Share and enjoy the little things, laugh with them, give them space to sort things out, forget expectations and live from your heart….walk beside them, not above them….live love to them, not fear….live gospel to them, not law….remember God is “for” them just as much as He is “for” you.

  20. nancy October 31, 2010 at 12:31 am

    Concerned, from someone’s who’s been there, “standards” and “demands” will not help your friend. Her children are acting out to defend their hearts against something that is overwhelming them and keeping them in turmoil. Not knowing the background of her situation but having been through similar with my kids i will suggest that she needs to speak her heart to their hearts in simple, truthful words. I cannot count the times i heard “i hate you” and answered “i still love you”. She can tell them she is “for them, not against them”. She can tell them she knows they are hurting. She can tell them that hurting her will not help their hurt. I have said to my kids when they acted out…”is that who you really are, is that who you want to be….i don’t think that’s who you really are.” God will give her the internal confidence to be a safe person for her kids, someone they can trust so they can let their defenses down, and she, in turn, will need to have confidence in the hearts God gave them. You start by disregarding most of the parenting advice out there, you stop reacting to their behavior and start looking at why they feel they must act out to defend themselves, and what and who they are really defending against. This may be complicated and/or difficult for you and them to face. Don’t expect them to be able to explain or analyze, or to listen if do. When you care about their hearts and speak to their hearts and show trust in their hearts, you will become a safe person and over time they will feel safe enough to slowly let down their defenses. It is a process and it does not include lecturing, threats, accusation, judgment, condemnation or demands. It takes time for your kids to realize you are safe and that you are real and truthful and that they can take a chance on trusting you. Being real includes being imperfect and accepting that in yourself and your kids. Give grace and more grace. Treat them as forgiven even when they don’t apologize. Share and enjoy the little things, laugh with them, give them space to sort things out, forget expectations and live from your heart….walk beside them, not above them….live love to them, not fear….live gospel to them, not law….remember God is “for” them just as much as He is “for” you.

  21. concerned November 6, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I was not in the best mood when I posted so do accept my apologies. I don’t believe in being harsh either, unless that is what it takes to get a situation under control, but I do realize that won’t change the heart.

    My point was that relationship with God will also include a firmer hand from him at time and maybe I misunderstood but it seems to me that the way things are communicated is to say there is a formula and if you follow that formula, your kid will turn out well. That can be an awful guilt trip on parents that are suffering. Have we forgotten the gospel message? Have we forgotten grace in regards to what Paul said in Romans regarding Esau and Jacob, and more?

    I understand love is always priority, I’m just saying that maybe it was the mood I was in, and for that I apologize for, but I was concerned regarding the impression it was relaying. I wasn’t looking for aid in the situation, but I thank you all that offered it. Not looking to seem ungrateful, just clarifying the point I was trying to make.

  22. concerned November 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I was not in the best mood when I posted so do accept my apologies. I don’t believe in being harsh either, unless that is what it takes to get a situation under control, but I do realize that won’t change the heart.

    My point was that relationship with God will also include a firmer hand from him at time and maybe I misunderstood but it seems to me that the way things are communicated is to say there is a formula and if you follow that formula, your kid will turn out well. That can be an awful guilt trip on parents that are suffering. Have we forgotten the gospel message? Have we forgotten grace in regards to what Paul said in Romans regarding Esau and Jacob, and more?

    I understand love is always priority, I’m just saying that maybe it was the mood I was in, and for that I apologize for, but I was concerned regarding the impression it was relaying. I wasn’t looking for aid in the situation, but I thank you all that offered it. Not looking to seem ungrateful, just clarifying the point I was trying to make.

  23. concerned November 7, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Last one on this as I’m not looking to start trouble. You can have two children and raise them the same way in a home and one can become a fine citizen, the other a hardened criminal. God chooses to whom to dispense grace for what He is looking to accomplish on Earth. There is also our portion of trusting in Jesus to remain in his grace, yet that doesn’t guarantee that the other picture will fall into place right away.

    What I find is that God in his grace does things through others for what He is looking to bring in, then they get sidetracked into thinking it was all some marvelous thing on their behalf…I mean look at how well my children turned out, look at my business or ministry…but they forget about who put them there for what the Lord was looking to do and bring in. Grace for that. Then they start looking down on others and dispensing formulas and forget about grace…this is nothing new under the sun. We all need to keep trusting in Jesus and pointing to him as we share what can be beneficial too. Just please, when things go wrong it isn’t always just because a certain person or group is doing something wrong. We have all fallen short…

  24. concerned November 7, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Last one on this as I’m not looking to start trouble. You can have two children and raise them the same way in a home and one can become a fine citizen, the other a hardened criminal. God chooses to whom to dispense grace for what He is looking to accomplish on Earth. There is also our portion of trusting in Jesus to remain in his grace, yet that doesn’t guarantee that the other picture will fall into place right away.

    What I find is that God in his grace does things through others for what He is looking to bring in, then they get sidetracked into thinking it was all some marvelous thing on their behalf…I mean look at how well my children turned out, look at my business or ministry…but they forget about who put them there for what the Lord was looking to do and bring in. Grace for that. Then they start looking down on others and dispensing formulas and forget about grace…this is nothing new under the sun. We all need to keep trusting in Jesus and pointing to him as we share what can be beneficial too. Just please, when things go wrong it isn’t always just because a certain person or group is doing something wrong. We have all fallen short…

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