Friday, March 23, 2012

Listen for God's voice

If there is one thing that has got me through the last 10 years in my Christian walk, it's been about learning to identify and obey the voice of God. I want to share a bit about different ways that He speaks to us as His children and why His word is most important above all else.

The main way that He speaks to me is usually just through a still, small voice in my soul that I just know hasn't come from me, and it's like it brings all of my other thoughts to a complete standstill. For example - once I was praying about a job that I was failing in miserably due to a poor work environment and the job being completely unsuited for me. I was frustrated and angry and asking God why I wasn't succeeding in this role and He simply said "Maybe you aren't supposed to succeed in this role." Sure enough, He was right and success was not His plan for me in that awful job but rather learning about perseverance through difficulty.

God also speaks to His people through dreams. Just recently I was sound asleep and in my dream it's like I was talking with God about my struggles and He kept encouraging me to open up to Him about what I was feeling. I managed to address some strongly rooted issues in my own inner struggles while in the middle of a God inspired dream. This insight that I gained while I was asleep helped me to process and continue to heal some of the tension that has kept me so highly strung for so long and is now finally unraveling.

Someone once told me many years ago that I will face many critics over the years and people trying to sway me from the path that I was on but when that happens I need to hear the voice of God. The path I have been on has been a path to finding inner healing and it's come through digging into the heart of my deepest and most painful struggles to unpack and unravel what is there. Many have told me that I am focusing on the negative and that I need to stop being so morbid and turn my focus to positive things and that I'm making things worse by what I am doing, but I have continued to hear God's voice encouraging me to continue to go down the path I was walking down and that it was what I was meant to be doing.

I've learned that nothing is more important than hearing the voice of God and obeying what He says when it comes to different situations. If others disagree with you then so be it - it's not between you and them but between you and God and if doing what He wants you to do pisses other people off, then they can go and take it up with Him. God doesn't always speak the way that we expect Him to and He doesn't always say what we think He should say - but He says everything for a reason.

His reasons for saying things can be different to how we interpret them. Shortly before I went through complete burnout last year, God put someone on my heart very strongly and no matter how much I protested, God would not let me let this person go so I began to place my hopes and dreams upon this person as I believed that they were going to be an important part of my future. God never actually said that they were going to be an important part of my future but based on His refusal to allow me to let them go I began to believe that they were. Shortly before I collapsed through burnout it became strikingly apparent that the future I had been believing for due to hearing from God was not going to happen and due to my already fragile mental state I crashed completely.

I had not heard wrong as God had encouraged me to hold onto the hope that I once had but His reasons were different from mine. I know I heard His voice and I was obedient right till the end. I thought I was going to be blessed but God used my obedience to His voice to break my hopes and dreams for this future I believed in so that I would break completely. It sounds horrible and it was traumatizing at the time to say the least but I have come to realize that it needed to happen for my sake because I needed the time off to get my first ever proper rest and I couldn't heal completely without breaking completely first.

What I learned from all of this was to listen for what God has to say and don't immediately assume you know why He is going to say it as His purposes are greater than ours and He might set us up for a totally different outcome than we expected. But if we listen for Him and obey Him, He will protect us (even if it means we have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death as I did) and He will see us through.

Take care.

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