The wide-eyed, delighted grin of God
Growing up, I was a quiet girl with a voice to match. Literally, I had a teeny voice that, even at my fullest volume, never seemed to project across rooms and somehow came out sounding muffled. This was compounded by a personality that didn’t demand to be heard. In college, this played out in parties, bars, and trivia nights -- imagine me saying “ohms measure resistance!” over and over from the end of the table into the commotion, only for the guy with the pen to write “current” on our trivia team’s slip of paper.
As a result, there is a unique flavor of delight I’ve experienced in moments of being unexpectedly heard when I assumed nobody was listening. It happens when noisy voices are swirling and someone catches my words, leans in, locks eyes, and engages.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my intentions for the year ahead, and the word that came to me was listen. For me this means to practice listening - with a posture of openness and curiosity - to what is both said and unsaid by my loved ones, to the signals from my body and emotions that my mind covers, to the sounds in nature. But mostly, I’m curious about what it looks like to listen more intently to God. On some level, is God like me sitting at the end of the table getting talked over in a too-crowded room? Is it possible to give God that same feeling of delight that I’ve felt at being heard?
As I’ve considered this, I get the image of a wide-eyed, delighted grin flashing across God’s face when he realizes I’m listening. I picture him breaking into a playful, excited, radiant smile that exclaims, “oh!” when I tune in to the conversation that he’s constantly having with me. Like everyone, I enjoy being listened to. I can only imagine God does, too. And that back-and-forth of shared listening is a delight to me.
I feel God speaking to me through the image of his delighted face, replacing my old static views of him. He’s always listening to us, and I genuinely want to listen back. I feel his invitation to listen as an entry into a more dynamic relationship with him.