sometimes i feel like i can't hear God. i have recently come to the realization that He actually is trying to talk to me, i just wasn't making the necessary time in my busy schedule to be quiet before Him so that i could hear Him speak. it was a thought provoking concept. yes, i pray, read my jesus calling devotional and i try to read my bible every day... but i hadn't actually stopped to ponder the fact that God can and does speak to us in a variety of different ways. He WANTS to communicate with us.
God has a perfect plan for my life, and He wants to be involved in every single intimate detail of my life. His plan will lead me to a place of peace and contentment, but how am I to know what His plan for my life is if i'm not hearing from Him? i certainly don't want to believe that i am wise enough to run my own life. to acknowledge Him is to recognize His presence and power in my life, and care about His opinion instead of trying to do things my own way. through a lot of reading and thinking, i've learned a lot about how God speaks to us that i feel is worth sharing :)
Jesus always has something new to say about the situations we are facing. Jesus spent three years, day and night, with His disciples and he indicated to them that they still had more to learn. THANK THE LORD that i don't know all there is to know about Jesus and his goodness. as our Lord, He knows and understands our needs and we can trust Him to lead us to the right path every day.
more than that, i can EXPECT to hear Him. He wants to lead me step by step to the good things He has in store for me, and He cares about the desires of my heart. in psalm 139 it says "all of my days were ordained in your book before one of them came to be." if that is so and God knew all of my days before i was born, it's important for me to be able to hear from Him because it is not only exciting, but will keep me on the right track. furthermore, God will tell me the way to go, but then i have to do the walking. a walk with God takes place through one step of obedience at a time. we may not always know what exactly we're supposed to do, but every time we reach a fork in the road, God will guide us.
my biggest problem in college as it pertains to hearing from God is creating the right atmosphere to hear from Him. seeking Him with my whole heart is a full-time job. to enjoy the fullness of God's presence, i have to consistently maintain an atmosphere conducive to seeking Him, and that is hard work. if i truly want to hear from God, i have to check my attitudes at the door and learn to be led by the Spirit in all of my ways. having a listening attitude will keep me from becoming dull in my hearing. another thing i struggle with is knowing whether or not things i hear are God actually speaking to me or if the things i hear are just the things i want to hear. i've learned that if God is speaking directly to me, i will have a peace in my heart about whatever it is that i'm hearing. if i don't have peace about it, then it's probably not from God, because He knows my whole story and isn't going to lead me astray.
as a christian, i have to maintain an attitude of faith in what God tells me, even when no one else believes it with me. when i hear from God, i don't need to wait for three more people to tell me the exact same thing - i just need to have an attitude of faith and wait for God to show me the next step. God may call me to do something that i'm not used to doing, but an attitude of faith will keep me moving toward the fulfillment of my calling. as far as wisdom goes, in order to hear God, i have to be willing to wait on wisdom out of a desire for God's will to be done in my life more than anything else. i've started to figure out that i'm going to hear from God more clearly if i'm not rushing to make the next move in the heat of my emotions or fleshly desires. i have to wait for sound wisdom before i act on an impulse that i think is from God.
God speaks to me every day in different ways, but i think that one of the most interesting ways that God speaks to people is through prophecy. sometimes the Lord will reveal His will for our lives in this way. prophecy inspired by God will encourage, strengthen and comfort the one who receives it (1st corinthians 14:3). a personal word of prophecy should confirm something that was already in my heart, which is nice because i know that the person prophesying to me didn't know what God was already telling me. if a prophetic word is actually from the Lord, he will make it happen in His own time. even when i have clear direction from the Lord, i am going to wait it out in order to let him fulfill his promises in my life without manipulating their manifestation.
something that completely blew my mind while reading was that if a believer spoke a prophetic word over me, opposition is one of the greatest signs that the word was from God. when i first saw that, i started questioning it, thinking to myself that if i encountered opposition it would make me think twice about the decision i was about to make. then i was reminded that the devil wants to make sure that the Lord's will is not manifested in my life and will place obstacles in our way to make us doubt what God has told us. prophecy is meant to encourage us with God's promise to us while we wait for Him to work it out in our lives.
it's been a season of learning, pondering and prayer. i can't believe i'm almost done with my first semester of college. God is teaching me more than i ever expected to learn, and i'm excited to see what else he reveals to me in the next three and a half years and the adventures and experiences he places before me!