What are we listening for? What do we expect God to sound like? Some of us want writing on the wall, or a ground-shaking thunderbolt. God has never chosen to speak to me like this. He can if He wants to; after all, He is God. But I have never, personally, heard Him speak this way.
It amazes me how often Christians, women in particular, have a hard time hearing the voice of God, yet are more than open to listening to messages of defeatism, failure and poor self-worth that come from within. They have listened to these messages for so long that they no longer recognize them as lies. For some of us, these are leftover inner recordings of negative messages we've been told by our parents throughout our lives. For others, a negative thought may have been embraced from a traumatic emotional event.
Whatever the reason, these self-condemning themes constantly play over and over again in our minds and are often lived out as truth. I wonder how long a person would remain friends with someone who continually spoke unkind, condemning words. My guess is not long. Yet we continue to listen to these lies from within. The commandment tells us to love others as we love ourselves. Some of us need to begin loving and accepting ourselves more and stop listening to these childhood prerecorded messages. Maybe the voice of God is being shouted out by the condemning thoughts from within.
One thing to consider is that God tends to speak within our personalities and particular gifts of the spirit. He has made us diverse and those differences are what make the body of Christ so blessed. He never expects us to mimic each other. For some, He might choose to speak through Scripture. That tends to be the way my husband usually hears from God. For others, a timely prophetic word comes into play. For people like me, that inner voice becomes the spoken tool, often during, but not exclusively, in my prayer times. He will speak to us in His way according to who He is and what He wants us to know. Don't worry: He will speak. The question is, are you listening?
Barbara Ho is the author of Ultimate Connection: Eight Principles That Will Transform Your Prayer Life (PrayerShop). She is also a marriage and premarital counselor, and a very active pastor's wife. After ministering in a vibrant, multi-ethnic church in Queens, New York, for 25 years, her husband, Daniel, and Barb became church-planters in Houston, Texas. The Hos are also very active in ministering in orphanages in Ukraine. Barb and Danny have two married sons.
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