Years ago we had a teacher walk us through some different tools to help people hear God's voice. Over the years we have learned multiple different tools and strategies. This is just one. I was reminded of it on Sunday as we hiked along this crystal blue river and watched it curve around bends, hop over rocks and crash down waterfalls.
1. Calm yourself down. This sounds easy but in reality getting to a place of internal calm is a thriving business these days. Mindfulness, yoga, various therapies and breathing techniques are all different ways to slow our brains down. Some people emphasize clearing your mind. We emphasize more being able to focus. To quiet all of the "to-dos," the analyzing, the stress.
2. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Once you have calmed yourself down internally our teacher would have us find a way to fix our eyes on Jesus. Whether this was internal visualization of Jesus beside you, looking at a scripture passage or just mentally turning your attention to the God of the universe.
3. Turn to the spontaneous flow. We believe God wants to speak to all of us. Just like a good parent wants to connect with their kids, so God wants to connect with us. That connection can come in lots of different ways, not just through talking. But this exercise is to help us tune into the voice of God. After calming yourself down, turning your attention to Jesus, pay attention to the thoughts, the words that come into your mind.
4. Write them down. Write down what flows through you. It might not all be from God but you can assess later. For now write down what flows. You can strain out the rocks, the particles of dirt later. Just let that river of God's voice wash over you. Sometimes music helps. Sometimes asking God a question helps--who did you make me to be?
5. Give yourself grace. Once you have spent some time turning your attention to what God might be saying and writing it down. Let yourself go back and read what you wrote. As a general rule of thumb, anything that is full of fear, condemnation, hate, is not from God. God's voice is one that brings love, courage, healing. It takes time to learn to recognize someone's voice. Give yourself grace as you get to know God's voice and how God talks to you.
Have fun. God is good. God is with you and for you! .