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When I get in the car alone, the first thing I want to do is fill a void. A favorite podcast or music playlist will do. If it’s been a long day of writing, I retreat to the sounds of Netflix while cleaning the home or laying down.
Words either pour out or pour in. But how often are those words from the voice of God?
I can become so encumbered with the thoughts, opinions, and ideas of myself and others, that I find I’m unable to hear or recognize God speaking to me.
Have you felt this way too?
God doesn’t shout us into hearing from him, like a dictator. Instead, he trains us to listen to his whispers. He often leads with the meekness of a shepherd. If we continually take in all that fills our eyes and ears, we will not give room to notice the still small voice of the Holy Spirit within us.
God has much to say, sometimes we just need to consider how to hear from him. Here are a 6 things we can do to hear from God in our days:
1. Quiet the External Noise
Media brings an onslaught of external noise. Others tell us how to live, what we should think, why we are wrong, and how we can do better. In this age of technology, it’s more important than ever to take a step back and create space for soul deep breaths.
We do this by intentionally creating moments of quiet. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out. Start small, even three to five minutes. Just start.
Set aside time in the day where no media devices are allowed. Drive in silence. Talk a walk alone without your phone. Wake earlier, or go to bed later.
If needed, ask for help in caring for children or other responsibilities in order to prioritize at least a few minutes of quiet.
2. Quiet the Internal Noise
One of the most pervasive methods of the enemy is one which keeps our minds busy with lies and accusations. We can hold on to negative thinking patterns by mentally repeating painful experiences. We can also allow lies to penetrate and multiply.
The enemies’ lies are often rooted at the core of who we are and who our God is. We need to recognize them so we can actively reject and replace them with biblical truth. Without intentional effort, these lies can perpetuate.
As we renew our minds, we quiet the internal noise while also learning God’s voice.
3. Activate the Will Towards God
Could we limit our ability to hear from God because we have selective hearing? It may be that He has been speaking, but his voice has been ignored. We might brush it off because it’s unpleasant and it doesn’t seem to be “right”. It may not be what we want to hear, so we tune it out.
If we are only willing to accept what God says when it lines up with what we want and what feels good, we’ll find that we hear from him less. He asks us to obey what he says and we have to choose to want His ways over our own.
Choose to activate your will towards the heart of a God who is good and whose plan is always best.
This may look like choosing hard things even when we don’t want to. Many of which are already laid out for us in the Bible. When we act on the words given us in scripture, we become more pliable and available to hear what we need to be hearing.
4. Accept the Will of God
What if God is in fact speaking to us about something we don’t want to hear? Obedience may be painful, it may cost us our image and reputation with others, and it may feel like stepping into unsafe territory. Yet, if it’s a decision that lines up with who God is and how he works, we can be sure that our decision will be the safest one we can make.
By choosing to accept his will over our own, we are choosing to put our trust in the one who promises to lead us.
If we have been ignoring or rejecting God’s will through sin, we must choose to admit this sin, turn away from it, and ask God for the forgiveness He freely offers. A disobedient heart, as well as an unforgiving heart, is going to find it hard to hear from God.
We cannot expect to hear from God if we continually choose to ignore and dismiss what he’s already said in his Word.
5. Invite the Holy Spirit
When we go to God in prayer, we often bring our troubles and ask for help. This is an important aspect for developing communion with him, but it needs to go further.
As believers in Christ, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit’s presence. He is our helper. He is the one who nudges our hearts with conviction to change or repent. He is also the one who helps us accept the hard things and obey them.
By choosing to invite the Holy Spirit to speak to us, we make ourselves available to listen and receive instruction as well as comfort.
The Spirit is already with us, we just need to remind ourselves of his presence and power in our lives. Invite his voice and choose to follow it.
6. Know the Voice
When we spend regular time with God’s word in the Bible, we are choosing to know God better. We cannot know what his voice sounds like if we haven’t spent time getting to know it first.
People often say they can’t hear from God. They don’t know how, or maybe they feel he’s gone silent. While there are times when I believe God allows and purposes silence, his words throughout scripture remain timeless and powerful to speak into the most deafening silences.
They are only muted if we choose to ignore them. Instead, choose to know the voice by knowing what He’s already said in His Word. Become increasingly familiar with it.
We tend to want to hear from God when we need his help. But we can’t expect him to give us magical responses.
For example, when we don’t know what to do in a given situation, we might ask God to show us what he wants. We wait for a ‘this or that’ answer and we don’t get it we might be tempted to say that God isn’t responding.
It may be, God is trying to tell us something altogether different.
What if, rather than laying out the question we want answered, or expecting what God will say, we asked Him to tell us what he wants us to know.
What if, we went to him in simplicity like the young boy, Samuel, and said, “Here I am, Lord. Your servant is listening.”
While there may be a number of reasons for not hearing God, let us begin with remembering He is always present, always good, and eternally faithful.
May we choose to listen close.
Jolene Underwood has experienced a number of trials in life and knows that many of her readers have too. She writes about real life in need of real faith by inspiring an authentic pursuit of hope beyond the challenges of life. She is a lifter heads and a facilitator of encouragement because she knows the need for emotional care intimately. She writes regularly at joleneunderwood.com and as a contributor for Grace Table. She also offers both spiritual and writing encouragement for writers, speakers and entrepreneurs with her Rise Up Writers community and newsletter. Join her conversations of encouragement & faith via Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest at @theJoleneU