You Don't

You Don’t Listen…

I confess, I left last Thursday to attend a conference, certain I would learn little.

I am pretty good at this gig, I assured myself.  I just signed with Harvest House, I have a growing Facebook community, whom I adore, and I LOVE to blog. And I went into blogging kicking and screaming. Alas, it has been an outstanding blessing.  Stuff I said I would never do, stuff I said was cliché and silly – somehow made me who God intended me to be.  And if I hadn’t been teachable, I would have missed out on opportunities I couldn’t have imagined.

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Still, it is my nature. I want a list. When I have completed the list, I want to walk into the blue yonder smarter, more confident and move onto the next thing. I credit myself with being teachable, but I know this isn’t true.  So in this instance, I knew I would have to make things happen at the conference, I knew everything I could possibly need to know.

I was confident that I would network and hob knob with some old and new friends, but I hardly needed to be taught anything.   And as the conference opened with the theme PRESENCE, I fidgeted and tried to listen.

And I barely heard, “Jami, you don’t listen.”

ME?  I do too listen! I scanned the table looking for other Jami-es, thinking perhaps I heard someone else’s message from the Great Beyond.

“Nope. You don’t listen and you are not fully present.”

Offended, I leaned in to listen harder.  And the more the conference went on, the more I was faced with the truth.

I don’t listen. 

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Alone in my hotel room, I prayed, “I want to listen. I want to be present.  Show me my folly.”

Listen when I say this to you friends; don’t pray this.  Seriously.  Just print out this blog and take my word for it.

But, at the time I was fully prepared for Him to show me. The next morning, I started off by not listening to Siri and I got lost on the way to the conference.  I stopped and asked for directions to the church, but I wasn’t fully present for the directions and I stayed lost for over 45 minutes.  At the conference, a familiar voice said, “You’re getting a migraine, find Advil.” But, I thought it could wait, I don’t even get migraines… very often.

With flashes of light hammering my right eye, I got on the interstate to go home a day early. Again, “You won’t make it all the way home. Pull over and get a hotel.”

I didn’t listen. 


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photo credit Beverly Dillow click here to visit her beautiful blog! 

In a random parking lot somewhere two hours from home, I threw up and then googled a hotel.  I explained my dilemma and a nice man encouraged me to arrive quickly and somewhere in the pounding I heard him say something about the location of the hotel.

 I didn’t listen. 

I drug my weary body into the lobby. My bag and briefcase weighed much more in the fog of my headache and the 100-degree heat. The bags weighed 10 times more at the next hotel, and 50 times more at the next, where I finally found my reservation.

An hour and a half after the initial call, soaked with sweat and tears, I threw up again and fell asleep on the cold porcelain of my hotel bathroom floor.

I woke two hours later; hungover, dizzy, and fully prepared to be a better listener.  I gulped ice water and pills, pulled off my clothes, and climbed into bed.

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By the light of morning, I was reborn.  I answered texts from the day before, bolted down the hall to the elevator, and got lost on the 6th floor. I backtracked down the hall and awkwardly ended up in the narrow way with an older couple. The man said, “Lost?” I laughed, “Yes, I can’t do two things at once.” He snickered. I nonchalantly followed him to the elevator.  The woman said, “Happens to the best of us.” We stepped onto the elevator and he pushed the lobby button. I kept texting. The doors opened and I blazed out of the elevator barely hearing them yelp, “Ma’am! This is the third floor!” I was halfway down the hall when I realized what they had said. I stopped, turned, and the man was standing in the hall, “We’re holding the elevator for you!” Humiliated I whimpered, “Go ahead.  I am going to regroup.”  He audibly snorted, “Maybe you should stick by your commitment to only one thing at a time.”  I slid down the wall behind a maid’s cart and weighed my options… laugh? Or cry?

I laughed, took a selfie and headed back to the elevator.  This time, in the company of a different couple, I kept my head down and tried to focus on just getting to my car. That’s when I spotted yesterday’s hot pink Hane’s Her Way cotton underwear hanging out of the bottom of my pants. I casually bent down to cuff them back up my pant leg and the woman said, “Happens to the best of us.” Since I was discovered I just pulled them out and shoved them in the front pocket of my briefcase and said, “Yeah… the best and the brightest.”

In the safety of my car, I had a good cry.

And I heard quite clearly, “Never be so smart you’re too stupid to learn.” 

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There is a place of humility that I find welcoming.

To be so full of self means there is no room for the blessing of learning, growing,  and becoming better.

I need this place. 

With my dirty underwear in my briefcase, dried vomit on my blouse, the shattering remnants of a headache, and the open road before me I confessed my folly and begged forgiveness. I drove, sipped on Earl Grey and chatted with God about all the things I couldn’t wait for Him to teach me and all the wonders of stuff I am certain I do not know.  I stopped the chatter more often than usual and waited patiently, with a premeditated presence for Him to teach me something new.

And somewhere in the silence, I heard Him say something I will never forget… “You just missed your exit…”

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May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained.  Love, Jami

Proverbs 2:6 (NASB) “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” 

You might also like:  The Not So “Gag Me With a Spoon” Pieces of Me…  and Silencing the Jerk that Lives in My Head

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  1. Rene on August 3, 2016 at 4:57 am

    This was so good. All I could do was humbly & tearfully read & listen… How grateful I am that you unashamedly shared a lesson you learned in such a tough, painful yet even comical way; so that if we’ll heed, we won’t have to. I appreciated this devotion more than anything I’ve read in so long. GOD Bless you!

    • jami_amerine on August 3, 2016 at 5:22 am

      Thank you Rene… ❤️

  2. pamela jablonski on August 3, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Ahhhhhh….I think you are me! What a humbling lesson, I have been trying to learn for most of my life. I’m a little better these days, but it really takes conscious effort! Blessings to you, dear one! <3

    • jami_amerine on August 3, 2016 at 7:35 am


  3. Cheryl on August 3, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Your words humble me and give me hope. The fact that anyone else could have a day (or life) like this makes me feel almost normal.
    I’ve been hovering on the edges of your blog for a while now, never commenting or hitting like or share. Somewhere in the back of my mind there was that little voice that said someone might realize it is true for you too or they might think “you have too much time on your hands. Instead of reading a blog you should be attacking the laundry or the dishes in the sink.”
    God has been slowly whittling away at me, helping me find ways to seek him out and listen to his voice. He is using you for this purpose.
    You are gifted and blessed. Thank you for sharing the blessing with the rest of us.

    • jami_amerine on August 3, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Dear Cheryl, thank you. Just thank you. ❤️

  4. Melanie on August 3, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Listening is hard when your brain is cluttered with worry and anxiety and concern for what the next day might bring. It’s hard to listen when you have life screaming at you from all directions… it’s nearly impossible not to drown in the noise. But so, so imperative to listen. I am not a good listener… I always think I know so much. And suddenly, in this season of life, I have found how little I actually know. And yet, I still don’t listen well. Thanks for sharing, Jami – you made me laugh because you are so much like me… and cry because I realize I am totally lost in the noise inside my own head. I know He is telling me to quiet down, stop trying so hard, and listen. Great post, sweet friend. <3

  5. Bonnie Peirce on August 3, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Just wow! Lightbulb! And ditto all of the above comments. Too much going on in my head. Going to fast. Need to slow down. Be present and listen! Thank you.

    • jami_amerine on August 3, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!!!

  6. Glenna McKelvie on August 3, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    My mini-me!

  7. Tone on August 6, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Wow! Thank you so much for this lesson! I needed this today! Sometimes it seems hard to listen! If I’m honest, I feel like I don’t have the time to listen. Your story helped! Thank you so much!

    • jami_amerine on August 6, 2016 at 12:04 pm


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