John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me
Last year, I had a dinner with women from different Christian denomination and social, cultural backgrounds, we discussed a variety of things but the but the topic of God speaking to the women. Each woman was in different milestones of their faith journey. Some for decades others (or maybe just me) were only a few years, but each interaction with God was personal and specific. God didn’t speak with each of us the same way; the method was all different event the tone. I being one of the newbies (not walking in the Lord as long as the other women), was fascinated. I wasn’t the only one who thought I heard God.
Not the First Time
This wasn’t my first time being aware of God communicating to me. Early in my faith journey, women in my bible study I would talk about it, and it made me think of my experiences. Until that dinner, I only had three divine communications of God speaking to me. As I thought about it more, God is directing me almost daily. Now that I have been truly listening to Him I am finding that He is answering my prayers and guiding me, I just haven’t been listening because my mind has been clutter with other things.
John 8:47 (ESV) Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Discovering what was always there
I find it funny because the years I was lost in the world and trials would come I would go to prayer. Some would consider that good but the only time I would pray is when things went wrong. My relationship with God was not a daily conversation admiring and praising His work, praying for others and sometimes my request. I was placing my order on how I wanted Him to fix my life. Only calling on him when I needed or wanted something and was in complete desperation. Even then when I had no adoration, God was still leading and guiding me. Whispering just small enough for me to hear but I wasn’t interested and never paid attention.
Guidance I can use
Now the advice is different; it’s not conversational, but I am hearing Him more and more, and I don’t know because I am listening more or because our relationship has grown that He speaks to me more. It makes me think, has he been there all along? When I ask Him to have discernment, to make right decisions, to honor and serve Him, is He now answering? Has He been the entire time, right there as I ignored Him, still not sure and no, he hasn’t told me? Like I said, I am not having full out conversations with God. I am deep in prayer more often these days than I used to be, and I am in the Word daily, but I am not sitting around sipping tea and chatting with God.
Acts 22:14 (ESV) And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth;
How do I hear God?
Before I was consciously seeking His voice, God would have to shout at me to get my attention. Like a mother, warning their child from danger. (Sometimes He still does, but I am getting better). As of lately, He can just talk to me. Do I hear voices? Yes, but it’s consistently the same voice every time, so I hear a voice. It’s usually different from my inner thoughts, often interrupting my on-going unceasing mental to-do list and very efficient and to the point. It’s never been a lengthy explanation more like wisely commanding (and not to do bad things usually directional so I have ruled it out as insanity.) This post is also not a confession of my speculation of some mental illness. I feel like it is God answering my prayers and guiding me.
For months, I kept hearing the same thing during my usual ongoing mind chatter of daily to-do’s; “be still.” Although I would hear it, I intentionally would ignore it for nine months until I was forced to be still. Life circumstances kicked my legs from underneath me and sat me down for a few months. Every time I would get up I’d get knocked back down until I realized, “maybe I should be still.” That’s where I began to get to the place I am today. Staying in God’s word, eliminating outside noise (not all of it that is a daily struggle) and being conscious of God’s direction. (Which I am still trying to “Be still” and again getting better at it but still have not mastered it.)
How often do I hear Him?
Hebrews 2:1 (ESV) Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
Now, I hear him more frequently and sometimes it is nice because it gives me and idea of what to do next, how to handle a situation and then sometimes it’s not so helpful because it can be something that I do not want to do. His shouting is less often, and my obedience is getting better, but this ongoing relationship is not completely perfected. I think God’s okay with that (although he hasn’t told me) but He loves me unconditional and has the patience of grace like no other, and I am grateful for that.
How does God lead you in situations? Signs, clues, words, inspiration? It’s fascinating how he communicates to each of us differently.