Sis, have you ever wanted to hear from God so badly that you would do anything? If that’s you, then you and I are in the same boat. Since 2021 began, my goal has been to hear from God like never before. Maybe this is your goal too?
Before I share a few of the things God has been showing me. I want to first say that if you have a desire to hear from God, you will. If you have the expectation to hear from God, you will. I’m learning that the key is getting to a place of stillness and practicing patience.
I know, it sounds very passive. And maybe you are like, there has to be more. You may be also be thinking, “what do you mean by stillness?” When I say this, I mean pushing aside all distractions, to-do lists, vision boards, and goals for the day to make room for God. It means setting aside a time of quiet to hear from God. From my experience, I don’t hear from God when my life is cluttered and I’m running around all over the place. I find that he speaks to me when I’m not busy. I’m learning that God isn’t impressed with my busyness if I forget to make time for him.
I find that he speaks to me when I’m in the shower, right before bed, and while I’m in my car. Sis, I don’t think that’s by coincidence. All the places I listed are places where my mind tends to be quieter and my focus is less on what I have to do for the day. I believe the same will hold true for you.
Sis, please know that God is always speaking. And contrary to what we may think or even feel, he doesn’t speak to one person more than the other. (This applies only if everyone involved has a relationship with God.) Here’s a lesson that changed the game for me—-the only difference between that person you admire who hears from God and you is that they make time to listen. If we’re always filling our day from start to finish, there is no margin or space for God and we’ll miss out on what he has to say to us. I’ve had to learn this truth. It can be difficult to create that space because of the hustle and bustle of the day. We also live in a society that emphasizes “making moves” but that can cause us to move before we hear from God.
It's about creating space and making time. And it's also about making a personal decision that our time with God will be a conversation. An attitude of “I’m not only going to talk to God, but I’m going to let him talk to me.” Never forget that God loves two-way conversations. He wants to talk to you as much as you want to talk to Him!
Another thought that may cross your mind is “why would he want to talk to me?” Sis, if you’re questioning your worthiness, here’s a question that may make things clearer for you—-Why would we have a God that loved us enough to send his only son to die for us but not want to talk to us? That would be crazy right?!! He’s a God that wants a personal relationship with us. It’s the main reason Christ had to die. He had to open up the line of communication between us and God that was blocked by our sins. So sis, starting today, please don’t believe the lie that you can’t hear from God. You absolutely can!
In reading a book called “Discerning the voice of God” by Priscilla Shirer, she mentioned that there are three activities that create an atmosphere to hear from God-worship, prayerful listening, and meditation. Worship “rolls out the red carpet” for God's presence to come down. It’s why you’re in church and singing worship songs just feel different from the upbeat praise songs. Worship music sets a certain tone.
Prayerful listening is supposed to happen after we bring our requests to God in prayer. A lot of times, we bring our needs to God and that’s it. The prayer ends. I’m so guilty of this! Prayerful listening says God, you heard me but now I want to hear from you. At first, this type of listening may feel really awkward but over time, God will really start speaking to you. He may show you a scripture. He may speak through your situation or he may even tell you something through someone close to you. God has different ways of communicating.
The last activity is meditation. Meditation just means to ponder or think about what you’re reading in the Bible. It’s about not just reading but experiencing what’s on the pages. You may be thinking, “how do you do that?” I love to ask questions like what is God trying to say to me through this verse? What is this teaching me about God? How does this relate to my life now? What can I do to live this out in my life?
So now that we’ve discussed how you can set an atmosphere for God to come in. The next question you may have is how can I know for sure God is speaking to me? This is the part that has tripped me up for so long. But I recently read chapter 2 in the book I mentioned earlier. Keep reading to hear what stood out to me---
We all have a conscience. Our conscience is like a compass that tells us what’s right and wrong. Let’s break it down further. Maybe you have said words like, “for some reason, I felt...” or “something told me...” That is your conscience! It’s like an “inner nudge” that tells you to do or say something. And it’s up to us whether we listen to it or ignore it.
So keeping that in mind--- when we first enter into a relationship with God, he gives each of us what he calls, the Holy Spirit. I used to think this Holy Spirit sounded like a churchy version of a ghost. But he's so real. This Holy Spirit is now apart of our conscience. When we get saved, our conscience doesn’t go away. Instead, God uses our renewed conscience to direct us. Our conscience does not replace the voice of God. But God uses our conscience to speak to us. Remember that sis!
To put it even simpler, when God speaks to you, you will have this gut-level of “knowing.” In other words, when hearing from God, you will still feel this sense of “something told me to...” Now, instead of it being something, you can know that it is someone, it is God. It’s God speaking to you, sis!
I don’t like overcomplicating spiritual concepts. I always like to break it all the way down so I can comprehend it. That’s why I’m the same way in my blog. So practically, this is how God speaks to us when we’re trying to make decisions—-
He gives us three signs:
1. A red light of conviction that tells us to stop. (In other words, don’t do it, sis!)
2. A yellow light of caution that lets us know to hold back and wait a second. (So basically, slow your roll. It does NOT mean go ahead and do it. It means hold on a second before you move forward.)
3. A green light of peace and permission that encourages us to go ahead (This means do it! Move forward with the decision because you have God’s stamp of approval.)
Now that we know this, it’s up to us to decide if we’re going to listen. I’ll let you know now that I’ve missed it. I’ve thought, is this me or is this God? I’ve made the mistake of ignoring what I felt inside and made the decision anyway. But can I share this—I’ve always always always regretted not listening to the voice within.
Sis, God is always speaking to you and me. We just have to look for Him! Look for God everywhere and in everything. I promise that if we have the expectation for God to speak, he will! And remember, there is no such thing as coincidences but God-incidences. A tip I’ve learned is that you can know God is speaking to you about a certain situation when it seems everything you hear, see, or read points to the same issue. He often leads us through these persistent inner nudges that are matched by external confirmation. So sis, if you see a theme going on in your life, lean in...God is speaking!
With all this talk about hearing from God, I don’t want to neglect the fact that sometimes, we do get it wrong. Sometimes, we hear wrong but the beautiful thing is that God is filled with grace. He is not sitting around ready to “come for us” when we try to get it right but end up getting it wrong. I've had to learn that this is totally different than intentionally doing wrong. It’s all about our intentions. I believe if we are trying our best to hear from God, he honors that. So if you’ve missed it, remember this—God is big enough to redirect you back on track. His plan already includes our mistakes and other people’s mistakes. Because of His goodness, our miscalculations can be our greatest teachers for hearing from Him in the future. He’s just that good!
Let me say it again for your peace of mind, sis—God honors the fact that we really are trying out here! He sees that we really want to hear from him but we don’t always get it right. Here's what someone said and it allowed me to exhale so I'll share with you—“I don’t always get it right. Turns out, there are no experts at hearing from Him. Each of us is still learning on the job. So give yourself a break. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Even when you hear incorrectly, God knows your heart well, and he honors the person whose sincere desire is to know and do His will even in their imperfection.”
So take a deep breath because God tends to say things more than once and in more than one way to us. This way, if we’re genuinely trying to listen and respond to his direction, we won’t miss him. I personally find that God confirms things to me in “3’s.” I may see a scripture, hear a message or even a podcast, and then someone might come up to me and say something that confirms what I’ve heard from God. God is just that amazing, sis. We just have to look for him.
The last thing I want to say is that it is a process to learn how to hear from God. It’s actually a lifelong process. As we practice listening for God and put what he says to use, his voice will become clearer to us and we will respond quicker. We just have to make it a priority to get quiet and keep the expectation that we will hear from God. So don’t give up sis!
When in doubt, think of this—-The things God wants you to do include you! So why wouldn’t he speak to you and include you in it?! His purpose for you includes you. His plan for you includes you! Sis, you will hear from God because he can’t leave you out of it!
Keep leaning into Him. I know you’ll hear from him. Chances are, God is speaking but it may look different than what we expect!
Book I mentioned: Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer
Also, she has a message you can find on YT called “Positioning yourself to hear from God.”