I’d like to say thank you for all of your prayers this past week. If you read my post last week, then you know that I applied to travel overseas once again and I asked for prayers for God’s guidance. And guess what? Your prayers were answered! However, I bet they weren’t answered in the way that many of you expected. While this trip sounds wonderful, I am actually writing this to tell you that God has told me that this trip is not for me. And that is okay because I know that He is in control and has a perfect plan for my life. I trust that He is leading me in that path.
Sometimes that happens to us in life. Sometimes God tells us no to something that we asked for. But other times He tells us yes and it is simply our own fear that is telling us no. It can be difficult sometimes to discern the difference between these two responses. “Who is putting on the brakes? Is it God or is it me?”
The only true to form answer that I can give you is prayer. And I know that sounds cliché, but that is the simplest way that I can say it.
For me, I know that it has always been easy to hear God’s voice in hindsight. I’ll look back on my life two or three months down the road and be able to tell you how God was leading me and what He was doing in my life. But it has never been easy to hear His voice in the present. I’m still not always great about it. But you know what? When I’m not great about it, it has more to do with me than Him. Generally, if I don’t hear God, then it is because I am not listening for Him. I wish I could tell you that since learning how to tune into His voice that I have always been in tune, but that is simply not true. I’m human. We all are. But isn’t it beautiful that God still pursues us? Even when we turn our ears to another direction, He is still there with wonderful words to speak to us. And when I finally turn back it is not instantly perfect. I have to actively find that radio frequency once again.
I just made hearing God’s voice sound tricky and difficult. And for that I deeply apologize because I shouldn’t make it sound any harder than so many of us already think that it is. I fully understand and know that it is something that feels intimidating at first. But I promise you that in reality it is a 1, 2, 3 step process.
We already know that hearing His voice requires prayer. After all, prayer is a two way conversation with God. But another way to help is to regularly spend time in His Word. We so often forget that. We ask God what He wants to say to us, but then we don’t open that Book. In a way it’s just like if I had a letter on my desk from a friend. If I wanted to know what she had to say to me, then I would open that letter and read it, right? God loves to speak to us through His Word.
And lastly, knowing what God has to say to you takes faith. Sometimes that means it also takes some trial and error. …I know that I’m making all of these statements that sound scary. Let me once again clarify. If you start talking to God, reading your Bible, and letting God know that you are listening, He will answer you. Yes, at first your mind might be busy or you might be constantly finding distractions, but if you learn to rest your mind and sit in God’s presence, then He will speak to you.
For me personally, it took a few weeks of daily sitting and listening (during my DTS in France after having a week’s worth of teaching on this exact subject), but eventually I began to recognize it. I wish that I could tell you what it will sound like, but I can’t. God speaks in so many wonderful ways (words, pictures, people: He uses them all!) and how He communicates with you is part of the extraordinary beauty of your personal relationship with Him.
So for me this past week when I tuned in and listened, I could feel Him saying (through words in my mind. I tend to think in words rather than pictures.) that I was not supposed to travel on this trip next month. And then when I did not want to hear that answer, God decided to use a person in my life who I greatly trust and told her that this was not His plan. At that point I spent a couple days praying it out and here I am, content with His judgment and sharing with you. That really might just be the final thing. God loves us so much. I can feel His love in this “no.” And I want to encourage you to seek God and let Him lavish His love on you too!