Our minds race from task to task, from discouraging thought to hopeful anticipation, telling our heart how to feel from moment to moment. How can we slow our frenzy and hear God's still, small voice?
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 NIV
I struggled to be still, and discovered an amazing way to hear Him more clearly. Hopefully through my experience you will see ways you can do the same. Here's what I did and what you can do to prepare your heart to hear from the Lord:
1. Purposefully schedule alone time with Him
2. Get out of your normal environment and walk
3. Stay out a little longer than you think you need to
4. No electronics
My responsibilities include serving at church, running a business, working as a financial analyst, and caring for a family and household. They all pull on my attention and leave very few hours left in the day. Doing any one task means the rest are being neglected. How do I fit God into this tornado of activity?
I discovered the hard way that nudging Him out of my life because of my busy-ness made my life even more chaotic. In the summer of 2018 I knew I needed to change my business somehow because it wasn't working and I no longer felt a connection with it. Life was chaotic and I had no idea what I would do. I also had no time to put aside because I worked the majority of my waking hours, and I felt very distant from God. I knew I needed to hear from Him or I'd go nowhere fast.
I decided to put God on my calendar. I know it sounds silly, but I had become so good at crowding Him out. His voice wasn't even a whisper. I worked from 5am until 9pm because there is just that much work to do when running a business. I needed to prevent my tasks from taking over His place in my life so I literally put Him on my calendar and to-do list.
I was about to have a date with God, but how? Where?
I love waking up to Psalm 46:10 reminding me to be still first thing in the morning! Can you see it on the succulent? Click here to see the mugs.
My desk makes up my normal environment, full of distractions like my laptop, to-do list, notebooks, a cup of cold coffee, and various brightly colored sticky notes taunting me because I haven't dealt with them yet. A very wise business mentor recommended that I get away from the distractions of normal life and find a place to walk.
I live in Phoenix, AZ, and you may know that the temperatures can climb between 110 and 120 degrees in the hottest part of the day in July and August. I chose to listen for God's voice on a desert trail fairly close to my house on an August morning, so it was only 95 degrees or so. He may have planted a thought or two about why I would choose to walk in the desert in August, but that's beside the point.
That morning as I took in the breathtaking scenery of the desert southwest, I walked and listened, wrote anything that came to mind in my journal, then stopped and sat on a flat rock by the trail. I waited, and for the first time in what seems like forever, I heard silence. The kind of silence that I forgot was possible. No sirens, cars, dings, or alarms. This experience alone was enough to make my walk worth it. Then He spoke. Not audibly, but to my heart.
This is the trail I walked on while waiting to hear from God. He spoke to me in the silence of this beautiful scenery. Get alone with him whenever possible and just be still in His amazing creation!
I stared at a saguaro cactus in front of me, and He impressed on my heart to create a design of a cactus, and to hide His Word between the spines of the cactus. He expanded that to hiding His Word in other designs as well. I wrote furiously to try to capture everything that came to my mind and heart. I would not have had this experience had I stayed in the comfort of the familiar.
This is a saguaro cactus! When God told me to hide His Word in my designs He gave me a vision of putting it between the stripes of the cactus, among other possibilities!
On my walk I carried a journal similar to this one. That walk helped me with clarity on what God wanted me to do, and I recorded it all down! You can find this journal here.
My experience out on the trail was not sunshine and butterflies, though both were present. For the first half an hour, I walked, pleaded, listened, jotted down a few surface thoughts that came to me, and cooled myself with the copious amounts of water I brought. I became frustrated because I wouldn't have another opportunity for a long time, and He still hadn't spoken to me. The temperature rose quickly and I was very close to turning around and going home. Shortly after I had that thought, He spoke to me.
God is so merciful and He waited until I was ready to really hear Him. I would have missed His still, small voice had I turned around when I wanted to.
Stay out and give Him time to prepare your heart to hear Him!
My phone feeds my addiction to information and entertainment. I knew I would be distracted and might as well stay in my comfy environment if I were to hold that thing and keep the ringer on. That said, I was on a hot desert trail in August so of course I took my phone with me in case of emergency. I put it in a pocket with the ringer off so I wouldn't be tempted to check it.
If you are unable to get out and take a walk and have to stay home, try to take a few minutes to an hour with all electronics turned off. Try to achieve total silence as much as possible and just...listen. He will honor your desire to hear Him! The circumstances do not need to match mine, but He deserves your full undivided attention and will bless your effort to be close to Him.
When He answers prayers in His still, small voice, I love to store them in a beautiful keepsake. This prayer box will help you keep those answered prayers handy anytime you need a reminder of His unending love for you! You can see it here.
I would love to know if you found this blog post helpful. I read all my comments and emails. You can either leave a comment below, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, questions, or prayer requests. Blessings to you!