Discipleship 2022: Is that You, God?
by Heidi Looney
I have a secret. Now, this probably isn’t what you’d expect from a women’s discipleship blog, but…I can be notoriously bad at discerning God’s direction and voice. I used to joke that instead of a gentle tap, God would have to hit me over the head with a 2x4 for me to get the message. I often seek out signs when I should just lean on faith. I try to be logical when I need to lead with love. I am stubborn when I need to step aside and follow the path of grace. I really have difficulty discerning God’s voice at times. However, over the years, I’ve learned a few things that have helped in those difficult moments when God is speaking and I’m just not prone to listening.
I’ve learned that God will often speak in my language. God is our Father and creator. He knows me – and you – well enough to communicate with you best. Often, I find God speaking to me where I naturally find my strengths. As I said before, I tend to be logical. I’ll make a list to evaluate a situation, and not surprisingly, God will show up in the middle of crossing off the pros and cons. It may come in a different format than I expect, like a revelation as I’m making that list, but God knows how and will often work through my own processes to speak to me. This isn’t always the case, but to this day it still surprises me when He chooses to meet me where I am.
Discerning God’s voice is not just about the answer, but about the conversation. During trying times, I can get laser-focused on an answer. I just want God to show me the way in a situation or what next step to take. In some cases, I can whine and demand an immediate answer, as if God is a magic 8 ball just telling me what to do next. In the difficult times of discernment, I’ve found that the conversation with Him to be just as important (if not more important), than the answer itself. Sometimes He leads me on a path of deeper fellowship, meaning, or understanding. Those conversations can even soothe and bring peace when I find out I don’t need to move or take the next step at all. Sometimes the only way to get to the point can be through conversations with God as I’m seeking a specific answer.
Discerning God’s voice is ultimately about peace. This has been the most recent lesson I’ve learned, but incredibly helpful to my walk. When God speaks on a matter, and we follow His instruction, we will have peace. It may not be easy or fun to do. I’ve been through several situations where I’ve followed His voice and Spirit, and even though they were difficult, they brought peace. Once I could honestly see the situations as they were, the path God had laid out, and knew that I followed it; no matter the consequences, peace always came. 1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us that “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace…” And that God of peace is the one who is speaking into our lives.
The noise of the world can make discerning God’s voice difficult. But it’s His voice that leads us in our everyday lives. Through hearing Him in our most basic forms of communication, we can see Him often in our daily life. When we know that the conversations during discernment are just as important as the answer, we can find ourselves growing closer to Him. Finally, when we discern God’s voice and follow His wisdom, we will have peace no matter what.