Be still, and know that I am God.
As some of you know, this is a subject I feel very passionately about. I think that in today's world people have a hard time being still, and quiet, so they can really listen. Listen to others, listen to themselves, and most importantly to listen to God.
Elijah in the Old Testament tells us:
...and behold the word of the Lord came to him.... And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.
And, behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind:
and after the wind and earthquake,; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
1 Kings 19: 9, 11-12
So we learn from Elijah, that there's a lot of noise out in the world, but the Lord isn't in any of them. The Lord is a still small voice. Dare I say that when you take time to listen to all the voices around you, not only is it hard to hear the voice of the Lord, it's often really difficult to hear your own voice too.
Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, tells us that even if we have great spiritual experiences in the past, if we allow ourselves to, we can drown out the voice of the Lord in our lives:
...Ye have seen an angels, and he spake unto you; yea,ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken to you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling,that ye could not feel his words.
1 Nephi 17: 45
So what can we do to make sure we aren't getting to the point where we are past feeling? How do we ensure that we are able to hear that still small voice in our lives?
You need to be quiet. You need to tell everything and everyone else in your life to be quiet, just for awhile so you can listen. This means turning off the computer, tv, cell phone, mp3 player, and (IMO) anything considered 'technology' these days. Find a quiet spot in your home, or near work, or wherever you can go (sometimes I take a walk without the iPod and the phone on airplane mode). Start small, 5 minutes a day or an hour on the weekends. And quiet everything that may distract you and meditate, or read the scriptures, or write in your journal.
You will never hear the Lord's voice if you do not give Him opportunity to be heard. Sometimes it may take awhile for you to start hearing the voice of the Lord. Especially if you are used to loud commercials, loud blaring music, the chime of a text message, etc. For some of you who already take time to have daily prayer and scripture study, this will be an easy transition, just add a few minutes to that time to be still and listen.
Which brings me to my final point, and one I'm bit cautious about sharing. Every Sunday you are given the opportunity to unplug, be still, and listen to the voice of the Lord. It's called church. The Lord blesses you with all of the abundance you have, the least you can do is give Him the time it takes to attend your church meetings.
Leave the phone in the car, turn off the wifi on you iPad or Kindle. Better yet bring actual hard copies of the scriptures with you to eliminate the 'I need to have it with me because my scriptures are on it' excuse. Yes, excuse. I know people who say that and then spend all of sacrament meeting checking email, Facebook, and making dinner plans via text.
Those things can wait. The Lord cannot.
P.S. I found these guys on Facebook, if you are the type that taking a public pledge is a goal keeping strategy that works for you: Tech Timeout