I used to envy people who said they heard God and felt his presence. It was something I longed for, yet couldn’t quite figure out. Was He mad at me? Was something wrong with me? I had success in every other department in my life- yet for years when it came to my spiritual life I felt so lost & confused.
I realize now a lot of it was because I was too busy. Too busy with distractions. Too busy scrolling other people’s opinions and thoughts and unable to discern my own. Too busy to pray. Too busy to go to church. Too busy holding the shame of my past. Too busy to be still and listen.
It wasn’t until I truly stopped being so busy (which was years in the making) that I started to be aware of the presence and voice of God. It started as a presence that during hard times, felt like a weighted blanket and it also came through in tiny small commands.
I will never forget the first time He told me to pick up coffee for a coworker whom I didn’t know that well. I felt super awkward about it, but I did it. I showed up to a staff meeting that day and awkwardly offered this person coffee simply stating that I just felt the inkling to pick one up for her. I didn’t want to freak her out telling her that ‘God told me to do it’, because to be honest that kind of freaked me out too.
Her eyes got wide and she took the coffee in extreme gratitude, exclaiming how she had such a restless night and got no sleep and then woke up to her coffee maker being broken that morning. Whoa.
Little things like that started to happen a lot. And I stop feeling awkward about saying “God told me to.” I think this was his way of strengthening my listening & trusting muscles for bigger decisions down the road and also a small simple way to show others His love.
As my faith has grown over the last few years, he has asked me to do much more difficult things. Things that were not as easy as just picking up a cup of coffee or dropping off dinner at somebody’s house in need- that was childsplay.
I started to feel the pull to do things that I straight up just did not want to do or that didn’t make any sense or would make people upset. And sometimes I fought them every step of the way. Here are a few examples:
He told me to stop focusing so much of my energy on running.
He told me to quit my job even when my husband didn’t support it.
In early 2020, He told me over and over again to make no plans when I had all kinds of goals I planned to achieve.
He told me to keep my girls home from preschool.
To the outside eye, these may seem like not very big decisions, but to me they were. Every single one of these decisions above and then some others were things I wrestled with. And when I say wrestle with I mean, sleepless nights, begging for an alternate solution and trying to find every validation I could to go the opposite way.
Recently He has been asking me to do even harder things (insert full grown adult tantrum). And I would be lying to say that this life long people pleaser is struggling. Even after all He has shown me, I still sometimes lean towards people pleasing rather than God pleasing. Sigh. Working on it.
Some call it intuition, or inner peace or your gut feeling. I don’t think it really matters what you call it, but what does matter is that you listen to what it is saying. I also don’t believe just because God calls me to do something, that it is right for everyone. This is a very personal, particular thing and everyone is different.
But I do know that the more noise and distraction you cut out, the more clear the voice will be.
**If you are a reader and struggle with this whole hearing God thing- this is an amazing book that really helped me with this: Discerning the Voice of God