Graceline: Take the banana out of your ear

July 9, 2013 

The last month, I have been busier than a one-legged man in a rear-end kicking contest.

Some days I expect to meet myself on the road going in the opposite direction. God has been telling me lately, ever so gently, to slow down and listen to Him.

But I am like the guy who sat down in a bar next to a man with a banana in his ear. He didn’t know if he should say anything, but he just couldn’t help himself.

“Hey, mister, did you know you have a banana in your ear?”

“What? Speak up, I can’t hear you,” the banana man replied.

The man yelled, “Did you know you have a banana in your ear?”

“Look, Sonny, I can’t hear you. I got a banana in my ear!”

I know God is talking to me about stopping long enough to hear what He has to say. It’s not that I’m deaf. I have a banana in my ear, too.

I hear Him, I just can’t find (or make) the time to stop running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

The last four weekends, we have had two weddings, a men’s conference and a birthday party for which we spent more time preparing than they did for the inaugural ball.

Today is Monday. I promised myself I was going to play golf today and absolutely nothing else. Well, it’s raining cats and dogs outside right now as I’m writing this. No golf.

So, instead of talking to God, I wrote a sermon, ran off a Bible study and wrote out cards.

Today I have been doing one thing when another thing I needed to do would come to mind. I’d get up and start doing the new thing only to be reminded of something else I “need” to be doing. I was frazzled and aggravated.

Then the Lord reminded me of something Isaiah told Israel. The Lord may give you troubles and hardships, but your teacher will no longer be hidden from you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. You will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way. Follow it, whether it turns to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:20- 22 GWT)

What the Lord is teaching me is that I will save time, accomplish more and get less aggravated if I will simply be still and ask Him for His guidance. It’s amazing how God will prioritize my day and focus my energy so I can be more productive. It is not a waste of time to sit still before the Lord.

A lumberjack knows it is smarter and more energy efficient to spend 30 minutes sharpening his axe rather than trying to knock a tree down with a dull hunk of iron. You have to work smarter, not harder.

But you know how guys are. We just won’t stop and ask for directions. When we get lost, we simply go faster. Why do we do that? I’m learning that asking for His direction before I begin my day can double my productivity and cut my anxiety in half.

Then why don’t I do it more often? I told you ... I got a banana in my ear.

Kenny Ashley is pastor of The Journey in Lake Wylie.

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