Our alarm clock is set to softly play music for about 15 min. before the alarm goes off each morning.
Brian has been getting up at four or so every morning to do some work. (He does this so we can spend time together in the evenings).
At first I used to wake up to the alarm even before he did and then had to fall back asleep after he left.
Gradually I got to the point where I never heard the music – only the alarm.
Then I barely rose to consciousness  as he left the bed.
Now I hear and know nothing.
Yet….even after several months of disuse, if my watch alarm went off – a quiet little beeping for 30 sec. I would snap awake.
Our response is all in what we are conditioned to hear.
I slowly conditioned myself to not respond to Brian’s alarm with a response of rolling over and going back to sleep – I ignored it’s call. I could not use that alarm to get me up if I needed to. To wake up by that alarm I would have to change things a bit and make the alarm more drastic and then discipline myself to get up as soon as I heard it. Gradually I would come to the point of being alert when the first few bars of music sounded forth.
Attentiveness is trained through action.
Listening for God’s voice is the same. If we are in a habit of ignoring it, soon we will cease to hear it even when we want to. God has to speak in a more drastic way and we have to respond consistently in order to come once again to the place where we can hear the still small voice.

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