Today I’m going to start a new series called “Hearing from God”. I’m really excited about this series and how it all began with one little question someone asked me at a dinner party…
I was at a dinner party back in January, and was talking to my new friends about all the crazy adventures I’ve been on with the Lord, and I kept making comments like, “…and then God told me to…” and “…God said…”, and my friend finally looked at me and said, “How do you hear God?”
Her question totally stopped me in my tracks and I looked at her and asked, “what?”. She said, “you keep saying that you heard God say this or that, and I’m just curious how you are so sure and what it looks like for you to hear Him.”
This is honestly something I’d never even thought about before. I mean, I know how I hear Him, but don’t we all hear Him the same way? And then I remembered something I’d heard Kris Vallotton say years ago, “God’s first language isn’t English”, and it got me thinking about how God made each of us so differently, so it would only make sense that He would speak to each of us differently. Why had I never thought about this before!?
So that evening, at the dinner party, my friends and I had a beautiful conversation about what it looks like for each of us to hear from the Lord. I was so intrigued that we all hear so differently that it inspired me to write this post.
So I pose the question to you,
How do you hear from God?”
I know God is speaking to all of us but I have this theory that many of us don’t recognize His voice because He isn’t speaking the way we’d expect Him to, or the way we want Him to. I don’t know many people who hear God’s voice audibly, so if He’s not speaking audibly, how is is speaking?
When God speaks to me it comes in all different forms but these are the three main ways –
The first way I hear God is in my thoughts. It’s not audible, but it may as well be because it’s usually very clear what He’s saying. If someone could hear the conversations and arguments that go on in my mind, they might think I was crazy. The practice of hearing God in my thoughts hasn’t always been so easy because the enemy used to come in and clutter my mind with a lot of doubt, distractions, etc. but over the years I have learned what is God’s voice and what isn’t.
I call it a practice because it really is something I’ve practiced over the years, and as I’ve taken the time, it has become easier to discern what the Lord’s “voice” sounds like. Something I’ve told people a hundred times is, “usually the first thing you hear is the Lord and everything that comes after that is the enemy trying to talk you out of what God is saying.” If you use this as a rule of thumb, it will help you be more confident in what God is saying to you.
The second way I hear God is in pictures. I have a prophetic gifting and when God is giving me a word for someone, it often times comes in the form of a picture in my mind. Months ago I was praying for a friend and all of the sudden everything in my mind went purple. All I could see was the color purple so I told her, “God is giving me the color purple for you, I don’t know what that means but it’s all I can see right now.” Fortunately she knew what it meant, and it totally spoke to her.
My rule of thumb for hearing God in pictures, is to only go with what you see or feel about the picture. Never assume you know what the picture means, unless God tells you, because as soon as you put your own interpretation on it, it robs the Lord of what He’s trying to say. Often the Lord will give me a picture for someone, and I’ll have no clue what it means, but they will know, and it speaks to them.
The third way I hear from God is in dreams. I don’t always dream but when I do they usually mean something. From time to time I’ll have meaningless dreams but if I wake up in the morning and I remember a dream I always write it down. Believe it or not God can speak so much in our dreams! I’ve had warning dreams, dreams that have ushered me into a new season, I’ve had prophetic dreams about my job and our kids, dreams about our marriage, and so many others (some of my dreams are HERE). If you’re a dreamer, start writing them down. I recommend taking a dream interpretation class, finding a friend you can bounce your dreams off of and purchasing a Biblical dream interpretation book (this is the one I have). You will be amazed at what God is speaking through your crazy dreams!
I wanted to share with you some of the ways I hear God’s “voice” but since I know we all hear from Him differently, I also reached out to a few of my good friends, and asked them what it sounds like for them to hear from God. Here’s what a few of them said –
If it’s something small, like to take someone dinner, He’ll just put the idea in my mind and then I always check my motive to make sure it’s something God would want me to do and not because I have an ulterior motive. If it’s something big, God will repeatedly bring the idea to mind. It’s usually not something I’d come up with on my own, or necessarily want to do. When it’s a big thing, God always uses people I’m in relationship with to confirm it and then He always gives me some sort of scriptural confirmation through a book I’m reading, or a devotional. I’m usually terrified if it’s a big thing, but I know it’s good because God is going to have to show up because it’s something I couldn’t do on my own.”
“I hear God when I turn off distractions and create an atmosphere where I can hear Him. This often means no music in the car. I always know it’s Him because He’ll put an idea in my mind and sometimes it’s an answer to a question I hadn’t even asked Him yet.”
“I am always listening. I am not a mom but I would describe it similarly to always listening for your kids, even on a subconscious level, making sure you are aware of them at all times. This is how I am with the Lord. I like to always be attentive to what is happening around me and try and listen for His voice. I have become more familiar with his voice, and things He may or may not say, as time has gone on. Similar to getting to know a best friend – more and more you can predict what they may or may not do in situations, and you can pick their voice out in a crowd. I would describe His voice as an inner knowing or an intuition in moments where the confidence I feel cannot be shaken. Or a thought that comes into my mind that is random but feels right. I move forward in those thoughts or feelings and repeatedly have been so thankful I have because it was exactly what I needed at that specific moment.
I have a belief that God is always the best choice to lean on when making any decision. He has the highest perspective and can see outside of time, and has revealed Himself over and over of his profound love for me and my life. Because of that I trust Him with my decisions and I want to know His perspective. This trust is what opens the door for me to actually hear Him through everything. I take notice to what I hear around me, and take note to how many times, specifically the number 3. Three is one of God’s favorite numbers (the trinity) so if I hear something three times I usually know it’s coming from Him.”
Now you’ve heard how I hear from the Lord, and how some of my dear friends hear from Him, I want to challenge you to ask yourself the question, “what does it sounds like for me to hear from Him?” He is a loving Father that can’t wait to talk to you, and I’m sure He has so much to say. Take some time today, whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour, turn off all the distractions around you, and just sit and listen. He’s waiting, are you ready to hear what He has to say?