I was heading out the door to have lunch with a friend when my mother asked for my thoughts on a matter. I didn’t look up as I spoke. Instead. I continued searching my purse for the missing keys and replied that I didn’t know the answer. She asked, “You don’t feel like the Holy Spirit is giving you any direction?” Without much thought, I replied, “Mom, right now I don’t’ know if I’m hearing the Lord’s voice or my hormones.” We giggled, and I rushed out the door.
It’s important for me to recognize my limitations and biases as I go to the Lord in prayer. This lesson was painful for me to learn. There have been times when I wanted something so desperately it distorted my ability to listen. To be honest, I don’t think I wanted to hear His voice. I wanted Him to hear mine. I wanted Him to agree with me instead of me aligning myself with him.
There have been other times when I couldn’t hear anything at all. No matter how much I cried out to Him for answers, he remained quiet. Have you ever needed to hear from the Lord? Were you uncertain you could hear His voice, even if he used a megaphone to speak to you? Yes! I’ve been in that place too. There are times when I only want to say, “Speak up Lord, I’m hormonal,” but the reality is, He already knows that.
Praying through our Emotions.
So, how do we hear the Lord’s voice in the midst of our emotions? Or how do we make sense of His silence? Well, I don’t have all those answers, but here are a few things that I’ve learned over the years.
Spend time in the Word- There are no shortcuts here. We must spend time with the Lord through the reading of His Word if we expect to hear His voice. Don’t think I am promoting the idea that we begin hopping around the Bible, grabbing at any verse to make it apply. Instead, let’s spend time with the Lord to understand the context of what’s written. Let’s read to learn God’s character, God’s desires, and God’s plan for us.
Spend time in Prayer- This goes without saying, but I’ll just say it to make sure we’re all on the same page. Friends, if we want to hear from God, then we must position ourselves so we can hear from God. It’s important to find time to pray on a regular basis. Joe, my husband, and I spend time each morning praying. I spend the evenings in private prayer for people and issues important to me. Those are both quiet times set aside for nothing but prayer. Yet, during the day, I am often thinking of someone or a situation that I will talk to the Lord about. Prayer is simply a conversation with God. Like all relationships, the more I listen (by reading the Word) and talk to God (through prayer) the more my relationship grows.
Give it time- I have learned that waiting is an active task. God is at work even when it feels all is at a standstill. God is changing me. If only I could remember in the midst of waiting all the times past when waiting had its perfect work in my life.
Okay, now what?
You might be saying, “Okay, I know those things, and I do them for the most part, but I still don’t know when it’s God’s voice or when it’s my own.” Hold tight. I’ve got a few more suggestions you will find helpful.
If you’re like me, you can be in prayer, be in the Word, be waiting, and still not know if God’s leading you to go this way or to go that way. In those times, I am encouraged by the testimony of Moses, Gideon, or Thomas (just to list a few) who needed God to reveal Himself through events. I ask God to open doors no man can open and shut doors no man can shut. God has been so gracious to me over the years to give me hope in tangible ways and provide direction when I wasn’t sure which way to go. I know He’ll do the same for you. He’s no respecter of persons.
A final note, Let’s keep our emotions in their proper place! When my little girls were growing up, I would remind them that emotions should act as a thermometer to show us our current situation. Emotions are not a compass that takes us off in this direction or that direction. It’s important to govern our emotions if we want to be emotionally and spiritually healthy! When our emotions or hormones do get the best of us… let’s just remember that the God of the universe loves us even in the midst of our hormonal mess.
Until our next chat,
Mrs. Joseph Wood