Have you ever had an inner prompting deep down inside your consciousness that gives you a clue, an insight, as to what you need to be doing?
In the grand din of the universe, we have the privilege to be able to discern divine guidance and communicate with the God in a relational way, even while the universe itself expands with new galaxies and dies within the crushing pressure of black holes. It is easy to feel insignificant and small in this incredible living design. How can something so indeterminably vast reach out and touch our hearts in an instant with a single word? What is the voice of God?
Ever since I was little, I have always heard inner promptings for my life, for other’s lives. This is where I heard my calling to ministry, from my place of refuge. While the voice of God is a sanctuary for us, that does not mean that we are always going to be comfortable with what is being said. However, God continues to speak with us, communicating through whispers, signs, symbols and other intimate connections that are impressions upon our soul as unique as fingerprints.
But listening is a practice, a discipline…a tedious art.
When I first embarked on my spiritual journey, I took it upon myself to tell God who God was to me in my life instead of allowing God to show me. Perhaps it was because the vastness of God’s nature was too much for me to fathom. Whatever the case was, at times I was very impatient and made horribly rash decisions (insert two abusive ex-husbands here).
Because of this imbalance, other people could see my spiritual weakness and took advantage of my gifts. I became empty of spirit. My compass just kept spinning as I tried to traverse the rough terrain of life without providence. There was even a time when the whispers and the messages completely stopped and I could hear nothing but my own voice berating me in my head. That was the first time I ever felt truly alone.
God calls us to be still and to be quiet, to be quick to listen and slow to speak. It is imperative for us to find stillness, a quiet place to pray, so that we may be able to discern the difference between promptings from spirit and our own thought projections. When holiness speaks through us, our first reaction is to dismiss the whisper from the breeze, the connection between that pain in the chest and the feeling of remorse; chalk it up to a bad burrito. It’s not God speaking, it’s just gas.
All my life I have struggled with depression in the form of inactivity and a loss of interest in my health, well-being, and activities that bring me joy, such as writing. At the height of this time of my life, when I was faced with a big project, sometimes I would get so overwhelmed that I shut down. I had been over eating way too many carbs for my diabetic body to handle, and I was ignoring the dreams in which visitors would ask me to eat healthy. God whispered to me before the French fries went down my gullet. God whispered when I looked at my computer and refused to write a single sentence. What is wrong? Why are you checked out? What are you afraid of facing?
I got all the questions, but I kept running on autopilot. I totally ignored God.
One evening I was preparing for bed. It was late and my husband Eric and I had just gone on a pleasant date where we laughed, talked, and enjoyed a delicious meal. I went to the bathroom. I washed my face. I placed a very warm cloth over my face that soothed my skin and blocked out all light.
Then it happened.
All of a sudden, this bellow, the lowest tone I have ever experienced, spoke loudly and filled my head. My fingers tingled, my heart raced and I was very scared. Imagine a very loud pipe organ on the very last key times infinity.
Yikes. I was in trouble.
“You must eat healthy. You must write. You have a purpose. Do not waste this time I have given you.”
The voice kept bellowing until I began to cry. I told my husband what was going on. He clutched me to his chest and told me everything is going to be alright, but the voice just kept on bellowing until I surrendered.
“Yes. I hear you. I will do it,” I replied. “But you don’t have to sound so scary!”
“Apparently I do.” The voice was cut to the quick.
I felt as if I was losing my mind. All my life I had heard these divine messages of love, peace, and positive action so much so that when I was a teenager, my stepmother demanded that I be tested for all kinds of mental illnesses. I had flashbacks of personality tests and prodding questions: “Do the voices tell you to hurt others?” But my husband sat with me, unwavering, supportive of this holy experience.
When I sat to have my appointment with God in the morning, I turned to this:
“My heart pounds at this and leaps from my chest.
Just listen to His thunderous voice and the rumbling that comes from His mouth. He lets it loose beneath the entire sky; his lightning to the ends of the earth. Then there comes this roaring sound,
God thunders with his majestic voice.”
How could I be important enough for God to ask me to take care of myself? Somewhere out in the vast universe where I feel totally irrelevant, God loves me? Wants me to be happy? Seriously?
God will not stop communicating, speaking to and through our lives. We do not have to believe in the power of divine communication for God to speak directly to us. It may not be a burning bush; it could be a bellow, a song on our playlist, a barking dog, a major global event, or just a simple pause. The question is, how do we tune into the right frequency of preparedness to hear what God exhorts?
Find Inner Stillness: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Stillness isn’t just sitting without fidgeting or meditating without the mind racing. It is an active process of seeking to know and embody a sense of transcendent peace that allows an intimacy with the great I AM. Be still and know that (particular) I AM God, the great I AM God. Sometimes stillness looks like dancing, sometimes stillness is dying to our stagnation, sometimes stillness is loss.
Recognize God’s Character in the Message: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits without favoritism and hypocrisy.” James 3:17
When we open our heart to hear the whispers from the Holy Spirit, we may not hear what we want to hear; we may be instructed to forgive a person who violated us. We may be told to offer our time (or lack thereof) to our community in need. When we can discern God’s plan for us and act on it with trusting joy, we taste authentic holiness and our character and consciousness shift in alignment with the Holy One.
Acknowledge your Doubt: “If I am not doing the father’s works, then don’t believe me. If you do not believe me, then believe the works. That way you will know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father.” – John 10:34-37
We cannot hide our doubt from God, nor should we be ashamed of it. By asking questions and realizing that disbelief is part of the process of understanding the complex nature of God, we are expanding ourselves with a willingness to learn of Spirit. This is the meat of the journey. What a joyous time it is to unearth and therefore transform doubt by the lesson our questions bring!
Accept: “Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop–some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” – Mark 4:20
“The word” is not The Bible as we know it, but messages from God passed down from ancestors through sacred scrolls, visions, and sacred meetings directly with God. When we expand our horizons, we let God know that we are willing and ready to invite messages into our human experience however the messages manifest. This one act of courage on our part can create much more courage to act on God’s sacred work within us. The ripple effect of saying yes to the Most High is not only faith-building but life-changing.
What has been a life changing message that God has given you?
What messages have you ignored?
In what ways do you wish to deepen divine communication in your life?
Share with a comment or write it in your journal!