When I started thinking about this topic of hearing from God, I reached out to a few of my friends to see how they hear from Him. Two of my friends replied and said very similar things, which I think is an important topic to cover – making space to hear from God. So today we’re going to look at what it looks like to make space to hear His voice.
Years ago at my church we did a series called Vox Dei (you can listen to it HERE), which means “the voice of God”. Our pastor talked about this exact topic, making space to hear what God is saying, and one of the things he talked about was silencing all the noise around us.
Noise comes in lots of shapes and forms, and it’s not always just something we hear with our ears.
In our modern day culture noise can look like the obvious things – music, TV, the car stereo, etc., but it also looks like Facebook, Instagram and other social media. I would venture to define “noise” as anything we use to fill in the empty spaces of our day.
The last time you had to wait in the school pick up line what did you do? I would venture to guess that you picked up your phone and scrolled through Instagram, while probably also listening to music. Noise is everywhere and it’s constantly trying to consume us. It was actually the Vox Dei series that made me very aware of this issue. At the time I used to listen to music every time I was in the car. I love music and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with listening to music in the car, but during the series the Lord convicted me and I challenged myself to a month of no music in the car.
What happened when I turned off the noise in the car, is that I started to hear God and see Him everywhere. I could hear Him so clearly in my thoughts because He wasn’t trying to compete with the music I was listening to, and I could see Him in the beauty around me because I wasn’t distracted by trying to get all the lyrics to my song right. 😉 Again, I love music, and there’s nothing wrong with playing it, but for me, I realized the car was a great place for me to talk to the Lord. Even all these years later I only turn the music on about 75% of the time.
On the flip side of this though, the Lord speaks to me a lot through worship music. If I’m having a hard day, or if I’m just craving His presence, I’ll turn on worship music and blast it, letting it fill my car and letting His Spirit surround me.
A huge problem with our culture these days is if we have a few minutes of space in our day we feel like we need to fill it with something. If you have to wait at the doctor’s office you either pick up a magazine or flip through Facebook on your phone. If you have down time in the evening, you watch TV or play games on your phone. If you have any extra time in your day you feel the need to fill it, or you start feeling anxious. Why is that?
I believe our culture has built in us this idea that if we have free time, we aren’t doing something right – we’ve bought into the lie that we must constantly be productive. So if we find ourselves with free time we fill it, even if it’s with meaningless things like social media. You want to know what I think about that? I believe it’s the enemy.
The feeling that every second of our day has to be filled with something is the enemy’s scheme to keep us busy so we don’t have time to hear from God.
If the enemy can keep us distracted then we aren’t at “risk” of hearing God’s voice. The problem with this is that as humans we crave knowing who we are, our purpose here on earth, we crave definition. If we can’t hear God’s voice then we are allowing the noises in our lives to define us, and we will never find true fulfillment.
In order to be fully alive, fully defined, we have to hear from our Creator, the One who knows us better than we’ll ever even know ourselves. I know it can be hard to fit in time, in our busy lives, to spend with the Lord but if we don’t we are only robbing ourselves of the one true thing our souls really need.
So what does it look like to quite the noise and take time to hear God’s voice? For each of us it’s going to look a little different but for everyone is starts with discipline. I know for so many of us the word “discipline” has such a bad connotation, but it’s not meant to be a bad thing, it’s simply the practice of doing something over and over again. Setting aside time for the Lord might feel like a sacrifice at first but I promise you, when you start to hear Him and be filled up by His truth, you’ll begin to crave it.
Here are some of the ways you can start –
- Turning off the music in the car
- Talking to Him in the shower (I once heard someone refer to the shower are their “telephone booth to the Lord” because you have to take a shower and there are usually no distractions in there)
- Setting your phone down and walking away from it for a designated amount of time (set a timer so you don’t end your time early)
- Asking your spouse for 5 minutes to yourself in the evenings after the kids are fed and dishes are cleaned up
There are countless ways, these are just a few ideas to get you started. If this isn’t something you’ve been doing I know it can feel overwhelming but I urge you to just start somewhere. Don’t get anxious by the quiet, don’t just talk and talk, quiet your mind and listen. Ask the Lord a question then just sit in the silence and listen for Him to “speak”.
And remember, He speaks in all different ways so you might not hear a voice (you probably won’t hear an audible voice) but you might get a feeling, or see a picture in your mind. You might just have an overwhelming sensation of peace, you might get a flutter in your stomach – God speaks in hundreds of different ways so if you don’t hear a voice, don’t be discouraged, just pay attention to everything going on around you and in your mind. If you ask Him to meet with you, He will show up because He can’t wait to spend time with you!