Over the last 4 1/2 years, God has brought me on a journey of learning to recognize His voice. Actually, it’s been a journey of realizing it’s even possible for Him to speak to us. God has been my teacher. I’ve felt Him, I’ve heard Him, I’ve obeyed. He’s given me verbal commands, visual signs, words through others. He’s put dreams and actions on my heart. I’m writing a book sharing this journey and the steps it took to build this relationship with God, and crazy as it is, I’m at the point of sending it to potential publishers! This is both scary and exciting at the same time.
However, even though God has taught me and is using me to teach others, there are still times I can’t hear Him. I used to get frustrated until I dove deeper into the reasoning behind these times. It’s not that God isn’t there and isn’t listening. The reasons, from my experience and research, that we sometimes can’t hear Him are as follows:
- Sin or Worldly Focus
There are things we do and think about that block our ability to hear God speak. Are we knowingly living in sin? Are we struggling to pull our thoughts and focus from worldly struggles, goals, and dreams? I believe these are roadblocks to hearing God speak. When we ask God to speak to us and tell us our next steps, we have to be fully ready to accept what He says. If we are too focused on our own agenda and just want God to tell us to keep going with what WE think is normal and making us happy, we might not be receptive to what He’s trying to tell us. We have to surrender our lives, goals, and purpose to God. We have to be willing to let go of things if it’s not what God intended for us. This can be hard. However, we have to remind ourselves that God’s plan is so much bigger than what we could come up with on our own. We have to know that Satan is trying to distract us, but that God is so much bigger if we make the decision to open our ears to Him and turn away from sin and our own personal agenda.
2. God is Waiting for You to Act
This one happens to me all the time. God puts something on my heart. He lights up a step. Not multiple steps. Not an outcome. One tiny step. “Start a blog.” “Quit your job.” “Write a book.” “Tithe every week.” These are some commands I’ve heard over the years.
Usually I get one command. Guess what happens during my quiet times after that? I either keep hearing and sensing that command or I hear nothing. Do you know how long it takes to write a book? Yet I know the times He is quiet, He’s waiting for me to obey and finish. In fact, many times I pray, listen, and struggle to hear His voice guiding me in my next steps. I also struggle to put time into my book, knowing that it is not currently an income producing activity that a family of 6 needs to buy groceries. So often I choose to work on my business or clean the house instead. I continue to struggle to hear God speak.
When I actually obey, when I take the time to work on my book, things happen. I magically get new clients for my business (which has nothing to do with my book). A door opens. Things fall into place. When I obey, the steps continue to light up and my life seems in alignment.
Is there something God has put on your heart that you haven’t fully accepted and stepped into? Maybe it’s because of fear. Maybe it doesn’t seem sensible. But God doesn’t give us steps that are in our comfort zone or that make sense to other people. He gives us steps that are leading us to something we can’t imagine, a bigger purpose. What ACTION could God be waiting for you to do?
Funny story. The last 2 days I’ve prayed and then got ready for my “listening time”, asking God to speak to me. Within seconds, I rolled my eyes and stopped, opened up my computer and started writing. I could sense God saying, “You don’t need me to speak to you. I’ve given you your next step. Quit wasting time praying and get to work.”
3. God Is Saying Wait or Not Yet
Sometimes we pray for something and expect an immediate answer. However, God’s timeline is much different than ours. This is hard for our 2-day-shipping-Amazon-Prime-minds to wrap our head around. God’s perspective on our life is much bigger and includes our eternity. In our minds, we need an answer to our prayers right this second. Yet, sometimes God is telling us to wait. Sometimes what we think is the answer is not the right answer. Often it’s just not the right time. Often God is gently pushing me, “Keep going” as I’m following His lead and wondering when I’ll get to the goal and destination.
4. God is Waiting for Us to Learn
God wants to bless us. God wants to answer our prayers. God wants us to live a joyful and fulfilled life. However, sometimes He’s waiting for us to learn in the midst of struggles and hard times. Struggling with finances? What is He waiting for you to learn? Is He waiting patiently for you to tithe out of trust when you aren’t sure where the money will come from? Is He waiting for you to truly show and understand the idea of giving over receiving, the idea of not spending on things that aren’t necessary?
Is He waiting for you to gain strength in your relationship with Him and in your self love and understanding before He answers a relationship prayer?
Is He preparing your mind and heart before He produces the miracle in your life or allows you to fully tap into your big dreams and goals? Is He teaching patience? Is He challenging how long you can hold on in faith and trust? What is He wanting you to learn in this time and how is He allowing you the chance to grow and be prepared for what He has in store?
If we can’t hear God’s voice, it is not because He isn’t there. There is a reason. Whether we are blocking it unknowingly or He is patiently waiting for us to take action, grow, or be patient, He is there. As long as we keep the lines of communication open, continue listening, and fully obey, we will hear Him speak again.