One of the things I enjoy doing is trap shooting (shooting clay pigeons with a shotgun). Some days I’m fairly accurate hitting a high percentage of clays, and other days I can’t seem to hit anything. On those “off” days, if I get all worked up with “why am I missing all these shots?” and “I’ve got to figure out what I’m doing wrong,” I’m doomed to failure and disappointment. But I’ve learned that if I can simply take the pressure off of trying to find an answer and enjoy the activity, I will usually start to shoot more accurately. In other words, aiming for the experience of trap shooting rather than understanding allows me to reach my goal.

We can work so hard for understanding in our circumstances that we lose the purpose and experience of it, not to mention God’s presence within it. Understanding comes to us more fully after the event, upon reflection; so what we must do during the event is stay fully engaged. A friend and mentor, Paul Stanley, told me that we don’t learn from experience—we learn from evaluated experience. It’s hard to evaluate an experience that we were absent from at a heart level.

Driven by the need for an immediate answer to the question “What should I do right now?” or “Why is this happening to me?” we put a great deal of pressure on ourselves, and we narrow our range of hearing. God may want to speak to some area in our lives or in our relationship with Him, but we are unable to hear because we are only open to a particular conversation.