How to know when God is speaking to you
Hungry to be directed by God? Me too. In fact, I wished He would email! Sometimes it takes a catastrophe, a health challenge, death, or a near miss to stop us in our tracks, help us to realize we’re spinning our wheels, or just a deep desire to have peace in our lives that pushes us to finally seek God’s guidance.
For some odd reason, we often seek God and his plan for our lives last—right after we’ve tried everything else and failed. Right? Assuming you’re at that place now, or you’re wiser than I am and you’re seeking His direction before you fall off the cliff, let’s talk about seeking His will.
Here are ways to know God is speaking to you:
He reveals Himself through scripture.
Reading the Bible is like reading an instruction manual for our lives. We tend to think scripture was written during a time that no longer applies today. However, people are people. Daily problems that arise have extraordinarily minor differences today than they did then. We all need to eat, have a roof over our heads, desire to be validated, fall in love, raise a family, and be good at our purpose in life. Think of the Bible as a text book of successes and failures of people who are striving to survive or live their best life. If we mentally place the situations into today’s time period, the problems are similar, and the advice is tried and tested. When I read the Bible, I study a character and ask myself what were the situations surrounding them, and why are they listed in the Bible?
A passage in the Bible may provide exactly the answer you’re looking for. Read slowly and pay attention to the verses’ meaning. Let its wisdom sink in. Is there a sin you need to confess? A command you need to obey? Forgiveness you should seek from someone? Do you need to embrace and believe a promise you’ve read?
There must be a lesson to teach: perhaps do what they did or to run from the situation. I’ve found there is a story for every circumstances I’m going through that I can glean something from—but you must know your Bible. Scriptures can give encouragement and guidance, but we have to be there to read it and listen. Be quiet and listen to the best of your ability. Then confirm what you believe you’ve heard. This may happen through others or another verse, a sermon, or a moment where you realize that not moving forward is no longer standing still but moving backward.
Be Aware of the Battle Front
Sometimes situations arise that insist we pay attention. They may be a lesson God is stretching us through because He knows what else is coming at us and we need to be prepared. Perhaps we’ve ignored the red flags that have gotten us in this situation, or we’ve been in trouble for so long we no longer see the dangers. Don’t be that frog that can be boiled in water because it doesn’t recognize that the water is heating up. Rather than moan about how difficult life is—recognize the warzone, ask yourself what you can learn from this situation, and how/who will you pass the lesson on to. Then go back to prayer and scriptures and take the first step of moving forward.
Does the answer or instruction align with God and His commandments? Be aware of your enemy and the wiles he may employ. Put away ego or serving yourself. Our inexperience might fool us into thinking we’ve heard from God because we are eager to resolve an issue. God’s guidance will never be contrary to scripture.
God Often Speaks Through Others
If you have surrounded yourself with your wise circle of 5 (check out chapter 41 in Dare to Be a Badass) then share with them the situation and ask what they think. They may see things so much more clearly than you. They may have even wanted to tell you, but you weren’t listening. Ask their advice and check to see that it is anchored in scripture. You may have ignored that still small voice within your heart giving direction, but when another says the same thing, it will sound like the true ring of a bell within. Don’t second-guess it. If the advice aligns with God’s word, get busy moving on it. Don’t wait! God can not bless step #2 in your life if you don’t obey step #1.
I can’t tell you how many times God has given me instructions that did not make any sense to me, but I acted on it anyway. Later, down the road, it all made sense and that first step was pivotal to success.
If you haven’t already, find a faithful prayer partner. Share your prayer request with them. Pray together and separately, and when you get back together, you should be like-minded. If you are not on the same page, go back to prayer until you are. God will not tell you one thing and another Christian you’ve teamed up with a different answer. One of you is wrong. Go back to prayer.
Get out of Your Way!
Too often we don’t wait for God’s answers to our prayers. We take things into our own hands and attempt to ‘fix it’ ourselves. We may even be successful—for a while. But I promise you, this lesson and the obedience will come up again. God loves us so much that He will repeat the lesson over and over until we see it His way. Get your ego out of the way, wait until you are certain you hear from Him and then move.
Don’t assume God is silent because you didn’t get the answer you wanted. You might be waiting for a thunderous voice, when in fact someone you trust echoed what you already knew, or the answer came when you read it in the Bible. God may also be silent because the answer is, “Wait, I have something better.” Be okay with waiting. Then when God does speak to you through your thoughts, His Word or whatever He chooses, be certain you act on it.
Embrace the scripture: Philippians 4:7 (New Living Translation)
“7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
If you don’t have peace about the decision, then go back to the drawing board. God is NOT the author of confusion. If you have asked, earnestly seeking God’s truth, you’ll know when His peace settles in your heart.