I went to the park yesterday morning on a quest to hear God speak to me. I've done this many times when I need an answer from Him. While I know I can't force God to speak to me unless He intends to, I think He is blessed by the fact that I'm seeking Him.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
It was a very cold morning and the sun was out. I went to the river where my daughter and I like to swim in the summer. Everything was frosty and the water was steaming. I have to share these beautiful pictures with you.
To Remind Us
Not only are the trees and rivers in full autumn swing, but I'm in an autumn season in my life as well. Some parts of my life have "died" and I'm looking forward to new growth in the future, when the time is right for spring. I went to the park to ask God about my future. I'm starting to dream about what I want to do with my life, and I am asking God to make it abundantly clear what He wants me to do.
Yesterday I couldn't stay outside for too long because it was way too cold, so I parked my car near some trees so I could pray.
I started out by realizing I was scared to ask God what He was thinking. I said, "I'm afraid to ask what You want me to do because I'm afraid it won't be what I want."
He said, "You know that whatever I say will be Right. Because I'm God."
And I believe that. But He often asks me to do things that just aren't easy and that just aren't fun. Wouldn't it be so nice if life was all about my comfort and my desires?? (Feel free to roll your eyes).
God did speak to me yesterday about my future and He gave me incredible peace about what He was telling me to do. I'm not ready to share yet what I think He's cooking up for me, but I wanted to say I'm amazed at how often I hear God speak to me. I've gotten better at listening to Him this past year. A dear friend of mine, who is good at hearing the Lord, helped me get started on learning how to listen for His voice and know that it's Him.
The most important part is maintaining an intimate love relationship with God. It's like with your spouse, if you have a good relationship, you learn to hear one another's voice and even the other person's meaning better and better the longer you're married. So each day I spend time reading the Bible, even if it's just for a few minutes. This helps me learn Who God is and what He's like. Then I learn His heart and know the kinds of things He will say.
Then I spend time in prayer, and lately, because I have been gifted with a season where I have time to spare, I spend awhile just listening. He talks to me in my thoughts, and if what He is saying is consistent with what I know God's heart to be, I assume that it's God. I heard a pastor say recently, "What if instead of telling yourself, 'It might be God speaking, but it's probably just me,' you said, 'It might be me speaking, but it's probably God'?" That opened my eyes! Sometimes we spend way too long hesitating about something we think we felt God prompt us to do, say, or know, and we waste precious time wondering if it was really God. Lately I've been assuming that it is God when I hear something in my spirit. As Christians we do have the Holy Spirit living inside us.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.
So If I hear something that aligns with God's Word, which is the Bible, and God's heart, which is always love, then I can go ahead and act on it. Like if God told me to reach out to someone in peace and forgiveness, I know that's God's heart because He says so in His Word!
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as in Christ God forgave you.
But sometimes God gives specific direction that is not mentioned in His word. An example for me was, "Start a blog." So how did I know it was God telling me to do so? It took Him saying the same thing in several different ways before I was certain what He wanted me to do. A friend said, "You should start a blog!" Much later I got an email entitled: "Why the World Needs Your Blog." I noticed how often people told me what I wrote in Facebook posts encouraged them. I read Lysa Terkeurst's book The Best Yes, and she said we have to make time to do whatever we feel called to do. For her, it was writing, and I knew in my heart that was my dream as well. And then I read Experiencing God, and it asked, "Is there anything God has told you to do that you haven't done yet?" and I felt in my spirit: "Start a blog." Then when I shared it with a godly person I respect, my husband, he agreed that it was from God and he helped me follow through.
Has that ever happened to you? You hear the same message or Bible verse or idea from several different people or books, etc., and then when you pray about it, you also just feel God's peace telling you it's right. And then other Christians confirm that what you are hearing sounds like God's leading.
Keep in mind that God will never give you any instruction that is contrary to what He has already stated in His Word. He cannot go against His own nature, His own heart, and His own laws.
But whydo I want God to speak to me? Because I don't want to miss out on anything! I don't want to miss out on a word of love or encouragement from Him. I don't want to miss out on an assignment He has for me that will impact others' lives and my own. I don't want to miss out on His correction or discipline, even though it feels uncomfortable and annoying at the time,because I know He disciplines me as a loving Father who doesn't want me to be selfish and ugly. And also, I want to hear God speak to me because I just want to know Him. God is wondrous, captivating, awe-inspiring, and so good, and I pray I will never, ever stop seeking His face to discover Him more.
The thing that I love best about learning to hear God speak to me is this: When I follow through on what He says to me, I get to experience Him! I get to see what happens as a result of my obedience, and it can be amazing and beautiful! He brings about such good, strong, lovely things in my life that would never happen if I didn't seek His face, hear His voice, and obey whatever He tells me to do.
I have to add something awkward here. Sometimes when I obey God, it doesn't turn out all rosy and lovely. Sometimes hard things result, and it hurts. Sometimes other people get upset by what I've said or done, even when I think God told me to. And that's ok. I trust that He uses the trials for developing my character. I trust that His ways are not my ways, and that He uses all things for good. And I continue to obey the next time, even though He does not guarantee that the path will be easy and fun. I would still rather be in His will and have the peace that results than to stray from Him.
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and mythoughts than your thoughts."
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.
Do you hear God's voice too? If not, keep asking Him to speak. Keep reading the Bible, and then make time to stop and be still and really listen. Then obey whatever He tells you to do so that He will continue to speak! He may be silent if you haven't obeyed something He already told you.
I'm going to leave you with a song that I love. "Speak to Me" by Kari Jobe.