“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.“
– John 14:26
There’s a lot of talk in our culture about people who hear voices. It’s one of those topics that’s mostly a joke … until it’s not.
Let’s face it: most of us know “someone like that.” Someone whose carton is a few eggs short. The one who does crazy (or even morally wrong) things, then says to us, “The Voices told me to.” The one everybody avoids at the family reunion. The one whom everybody cringes at when they pop up in Messenger. The one whose mug shot we see in the local paper.
It’s not super popular to be a person who hears voices. Which is why people get weirded out when you say you hear The Voice on a daily basis.
The Voice of God, that is.
There’s a lot of difference between a voice and The Voice.
I believe that not everyone who hears “The Voice” in their head is crazy or deluded. God says in His word the Bible that He speaks personally and individually to anyone who has chosen a relationship with Him through His son, Jesus. This voice is less an actual audible sound and more a deep prompting rising up from somewhere within. And it’s quiet. In fact, the Bible calls it the “still, small voice.”
People tell me all the time, “Lisa, I’m a follower of Jesus, but God doesn’t speak to me like He speaks to you.”
I’m here today to call that a lie, and the sooner you stop believing it, the faster you’ll start hearing from God, too. Because the problem isn’t that God isn’t speaking.
It could be that you’re so afraid of the “crazy person” designation—and the attendant potential ostracism—that you’re blocking The Voice from coming to you at all.
It could also be that you’re not quiet enough to hear Him.
Shhhhh… God is speaking!
Getting quiet enough to hear the Voice of God is not merely the province of gurus on mountaintops, or a saintly nun tucked away in a cloister. It’s a process of coming face to face with all the noise inside us: all the unaddressed trauma, and fear, and anxiety that keeps us running for our lives day to day. It’s the to-do list. It’s the pile of bills to pay. It’s all the voices that haunt our sleep at night, replaying angry cut-downs spoken by people who were supposed to love us … and left instead.
As long as you run from all that internal clutter, instead of running to it, admitting it and allowing Jesus to heal it, you’ll never really be able to heard God the way He desires you to hear Him.
Because you can’t hear Him and your fear at the same time. You can’t listen well to His plan while also trying to calculate your own next move.
The Devil loves to keep us running in place, always looking backward.
Anything to distract us from the still, small voice.
Run straight into the mess, not from it
So you want to hear from God? Radically? Like, the kind of hearing that has Him telling you not only what to do next with your life, but also what to eat for breakfast and which route to take on your drive to work? Then it’s time to stop hiding from all the mess inside.
For me, this process began two years ago when I went through an unexpected (and undesired) divorce. It was only as my life unraveled that I began to fully understand how my decisions and my lifestyle had been driven by my fears rather than my faith, by my insistence on listening to false voices who told me I was Not Enough, rather than the voice of God who said, “I am Enough for you.”
It took God pushing me literally flat on my face to finally see the truth. In July of 2016 He sent me a wham-bammy of an emotional experience that dropped my whole body into what I like to call a “six-day heart attack.” I was running three hours a day for no reason, not able to breath, unable to eat, dealing with 9000 lb weight on my chest and surges of internal energy I could not control.
On the sixth day, I smashed my face into the rug on the terrazzo floor of my apartment and begged Him to make it stop, or take my life.
In that moment, the pressure dropped, the world got still and I heard the Voice of God for the first time. His inaugural observation?
You do not know how to receive love.
The truth hurts, but it also heals
Um, wow. Yes. I knew immediately that this was true. I could not explain where this crystalline insight had come from, except that it was completely intelligible and somehow had come from complete silence. And it was completely true.
It all flashed through my mind: the struggles I had had growing up, my endless battle with perfectionism, man after man in my life who didn’t see me as “worthy” romantically (including my soon-to-be ex-husband), my battles with intimacy that left me feeling like less of a woman, all the fear and anxiety I lived with on a daily basis, my endless feeling of isolation.
All of that … because I was unable to receive love?
It was a crushing blow, and the beginning of real healing. Because from that day forward, I began to hear God’s Voice more strongly. Sometimes He told me things about myself or others. Sometimes He asked me to do something simple—like eat oatmeal for breakfast, or turn right and take a back way instead of turning left for the more obvious route.
At first I thought I was crazy. But as time went by, I realized that He wanted to be involved in every aspect of my life. Not just the big things. But the small things too. I simply had to do the one thing that seems harder for human beings than any other.
Like, really, truly listen.
It’s your turn. Are you ready?
People ask me all the time now, “How can I heard the Voice of God, too?” Well, assuming you already have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ—the only way you can hear Him on this level—I cannot guarantee for you when and how you will begin to hear that voice. All I can tell you to do is to begin to pray. To seek His face and ask Him for His favor.
You will also have to begin cleaning out the emotional clutter that works like supernatural distraction for your eyes and supernatural cotton in your ears. That looks like actually dealing with:
- Experiences of rejection
- Past abuse experiences
You see, most of us never really deal with the emotions around these things. We simply stuff them down—like I did with anxiety, sexual dysfunction, and feelings of failure and isolation. Talk to a trusted friend or mentor who can help you process through experiences that may be very tender. Don’t try to do it alone.
But the point is … let that stuff out. You might need to scream. Cry. Pound a pillow. Let yourself sit in a corner and shake like you never have before. Speak what happened to you, even if you have never allowed yourself to utter it aloud to anyone.
In short, you have to let yourself fall apart, so real emotional healing can begin.
Dare to become a beautiful mess
In our culture, we’re so afraid of these experiences. We do anything to avoid feeling pain, and when we do, we try to drown it out with exercise, work, or any other busy-ness that will keep us running to the next thing. Which is, by the way, precisely why we can’t hear God the way we want to. When emotions get lodged inside our physical body, they create barriers to our spiritual sensitivity and freedom. It’s like our whole being is “numbed out” trying to deal with what we were never meant to carry around inside.
I’m not saying by doing this your life will be perfect overnight. Or that you’ll suddenly hear The Voice fifteen times per day. But if you stick with prayerful practices of emotional clearing, you will be amazed at the luscious empty space inside that begins to form when you finally let go of all the pain you are hanging onto, and let God take it.
You’ll also find that you are suddenly able to be quiet and listen. Because it’s everything undealt-with inside of you that is keeping you from sitting still and really hearing the Holy Spirit.
The choice to hear God is yours
The Devil would love for you to remain in emotional bondage so that you miss out on the still, small Voice of God.
Don’t give in. You know now what’s up. He can speak to you just as He speaks to me, comforting me, guiding me, showing me each step on the road ahead—whether it’s my next big move, or my breakfast menu.
Rise up. Tell all that emotional clutter that it will no longer have you and keep you in bondage. Ask Jesus to break those chains. Pray. Praise. Speak with someone who also loves God who is qualified to help you get free.
And then get quiet.
Because the Voice of God may be a whisper, but when He hits your life, trust me. Even the oldest, strongest foundations will shake.
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