Life can be loud.
Often it can seem like we are busily chugging through life, weighed down by an unending list of to-dos, and an ever-growing list of not-yet-dones. We live in a society that thrives on busy. Fast-food drive-thrus, microwaves, supercenters, and the growing demand for online and televised church services are only a few by-products of our need-it-now culture. Yet every moment gained by utilizing some time-saving device is quickly filled with another task. The mental and emotional capacity required to successfully complete, or even attempt the goals we have set, can leave us feeling like we are living out the latest zombie movie as one of the title characters –
zoned out, hungry, tripping over our feet, falling apart, and overflowing with all the wrong emotions.
Hearing from God amidst the busyness of life can prove challenging to even the most organized and focused person. For those of us who tend to try to juggle eight tasks while uni-cycling backwards and blindfolded, hearing from God will prove infinitely more difficult.
Living in such a busy manner without divinely apportioned direction is a sure-fire recipe for the loss of peace and joy.
Contrary to popular belief, a joyful and peace-filled life is not dependent on our circumstances. It has already been secured by the sacrifice of a risen Savior, and can only be accomplished by consistently engaging in two-way conversation with our Lord.
Our lives are full of decision-making opportunities that require us to utilize our direct-line access to Christ.
As we grow in faith we learn the value of praying both continually, and about all things. God’s faithfulness and wisdom teaches us that we can and should trust Him with our choices, big and small. Yet over and over again we may find ourselves struggling with the ability to discern His voice through and above the endless litany of issues and people vying for our attention.
Trusting God to guide us in correct decision-making is only possible when and if we are able to hear and distinguish His voice.
I find it helpful to refrain from making choices that could impede or delay the work that God strives to perform in my life. So, instead of just writing all my choices down on a piece of paper, throwing the lot of them into a hat, shaking vigorously and choosing one to live by, I have learned that it is much more effective to submit the situation to God, and allow Him to direct my steps. Through the years, there have been many ways through which the Lord and I have communicated. However, three methods have proven to stand head and shoulders above the rest.
It never fails to astound me that the Creator of the universe desires to hear from me. As foolish and stubborn as I am, it continually amazes me that He would care about anything I would have to say. Whether I come before Him with a contrite and broken heart pouring out my latest confession, or a proud and finger-pointing mindset ready to call down fire from heaven onto my husband, He mercifully and patiently engages, encourages, corrects, teaches, rebukes, and reproofs me in spiritual communication. We serve a God who not only hears and answers us in prayer, but who also leads and guides us through prayer.
Image designed at Canva.com
Although my flesh struggles against it, the spirit within me desperately needs these times of intentional sacrifice. There is considerable debate regarding the effectiveness of fasting, what can or should be abstained from, and the proper manner to abstain. I will forgo each of these for the moment. Instead, please allow me emphasize a point that might encourage you when your flesh wrestles against the idea of endeavoring to fast. Anytime we deliberately abstain from something our flesh desires, while pressing closer to Christ, we release our hold on worldly entanglement even if only momentarily, and are certain to hear Him more clearly than we had before.
One of my favorite things about journaling is that there is no one proper way to do it. It is difficult, though not impossible, to become legalistic about it because there is no biblically prescribed manner through which to accomplish it. Whether we are recording our experiences like Matthew, our visions like Isaiah, our heart’s cry like David, or wisdom that, like Solomon, we have acquired, we are free to write as the Spirit moves us. Journaling offers us an opportunity to see what God has accomplished in and through our lives. It can also enlarge our vision, as we are able to examine and reflect on His purpose fulfilled through our everyday walk.
The most magnificent thing about seeking to hear and understand the leading and will of God, however, is this:
if we seek Him, we will find Him.
That’s a promise we can count on.
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” Jeremiah 29:13 (MSG)
For further study: 2 Timothy 4:1-3, Habakkuk 2:2, Philippians 4:6-7, Matthew 17:21, Proverbs 2:1-5
All scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.