176: Three Ways to Hear God’s Voice
Have you ever heard God speak to you? Chances are you haven’t heard him audibly, but you may have sensed his presence and direction in your life. Then again, maybe you feel you’ve never heard from him at all.
As believers, we must learn to hear God speaking in our lives. Again, I’m not talking about hearing an audible voice, although I firmly believe he would make a way if he wanted us to hear his voice audibly.
Learning how to hear God speaking to you can be helpful in so many ways. Maybe you are struggling with a decision about something that could be life-changing. Perhaps you need reassurance that God is there and in control of your life. Whatever the reason you want to hear from God, there are ways we can learn to discern his voice.
In episode 176, I share three ways that you can hear God speaking to you. So grab your favorite beverage, settle in, and let’s get started!
Last fall, as I was beginning the second year of the relaunch of this podcast, I did an episode where I explained some changes that I felt the Lord was leading me to make with the podcast and with The Planning Woman brand. I mentioned that I would be shifting my focus and emphasizing living out your calling over productivity and time management. I still planned to keep The Planning Woman brand but adjust it for this new focus.
While I felt that was the right change at that moment, God has shown me in various ways that there were more changes to be made. One was moving away from The Planning Woman brand. Another was refining my focus to helping women live out their faith with clarity, courage, and consistency.
If you’ve been listening to the podcast for the last couple of months, you will have heard several episodes that revolve around this new focus. I’ve slowly been integrating this new focus with this podcast and how I’ve presented information on social media, my weekly newsletter, and the new Live It Out Community group.
Now it is time to fully switch from The Planning Woman brand to something different. After much prayer, thinking, and dreaming, I feel the Lord has moved me to a new platform I call Jennifer Booth Ministries.
You can see how I’ve changed the website to reflect this new platform. I’ve also changed my handles on social media to Jennifer Booth Ministries.
This was not an easy change because I’ve been The Planning Woman for 5 or 6 years. But, staying with that platform was not bringing me peace. I knew God had called me to write and teach more about how to live out our faith, so I knew that being The Planning Woman would not be the best way to do that.
You may be wondering what this has to do with hearing the voice of God. Well, it was only through his direction that I could make this shift. I had to be intentional if I wanted to know what he wanted me to do.
Three Ways to Hear the Voice of God
These are not original to me. I believe I first heard about them in the Experiencing God Bible study by Henry Blackaby. And if I’m correct, he may have more ways to add to this list. These are just the three that have stuck with me over the years that I fall back on when trying to make a big decision.
The first is that God speaks through His Word, the Bible.
That may be obvious, but sometimes I think we forget that. When we read the Bible, we should always read to find out what the passage says about God. When we do this, we begin to know and understand the character of God.
The way God spoke to me through the Bible is that God has placed in my heart a burning desire to study the Bible on my own without commentaries or formal Bible studies. Yes, I still use maps, historical information, and other tools to be aware of the different things going on in what I read. But I try not to default to a commentary at first.
This desire has carried over to my writing and teaching and has led me to pursue a seminary degree. This desire was birthed, I believe, by being in the Bible regularly, where my appetite was whet for more. Passages like Psalm 19:7-10 made me want to know more about God and his saving work through Jesus.
If you are making a decision, big or small, my advice is to turn to the Bible and let God speak to you. Using a Bible app or Google to find verses that speak to your decision may be helpful. Or, as has been the case in my own life at times, if you read the Bible consistently, the word from God that you need often shows up at the right time. So that’s another way to stay in the Word consistently.
A second way God speaks is through circumstances.
One of the things I did before deciding to move away from The Planning Woman brand was create a timeline of my life. I wrote out important highlights by decade. For example, from birth to age ten, I noted that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up and that I accepted Christ as my Savior at the age of ten. In my teen years, until I was 20, I went to college to pursue an accounting degree. I also took a correspondence course on how to write children’s books while I was in high school. I noted that writing seemed to come easily to me.
In my 20s, I graduated from college, started working at an accounting job, got married, and had my first child. I also began participating in Bible studies at my church and teaching in children’s ministry activities during this time. Then in my 30s, I had my daughter, started
a blog, and began writing for a national publication. I also became the women’s ministry leader at my church, served as our interim children’s minister for a brief time, and led women’s conferences.
All of these experiences, along with what I’ve been doing the last few years through The Planning Woman, when written out, painted a pretty clear picture of God orchestrating my life to get to where I am today. Jennifer Booth Ministries really started when I was a young girl, and now it is coming to fruition.
I have to be honest here, though. God has been calling me to this place for a long time, and I just didn’t listen to him. This is something that should have probably happened years ago. But here I am, and I’m determined to see this through now.
Look at your own circumstances. If you feel that God wants you to take a job or start a business, what have you done in your life that could inform what you should do now? Maybe God is calling you to step away from something. Look at your schedule and life. Would stepping away from a responsibility free you up to do something more important?
A third way that God can speak is through other people.
We are not called to this faith journey to do it alone. There are people who can walk beside us and help us to make sense of what God is doing in our lives.
Over the last few months, I’ve had several people I believe God has placed in my life to lead me to move away from The Planning Woman. In fact, it was someone whose program for ministry leaders that I’m in that spoke out loud what I had been thinking. I knew when she suggested that it was God speaking through her.
When people around you start to confirm what you’ve been thinking about, especially when they don’t know all the details, it’s probably a good sign that God is affirming the decision you need to make. Surround yourself with people who can encourage and point you in a godly direction. It’s so important to have people in your life who are believers you can talk with and get godly counsel.
To wrap up, God can speak to us through the Bible, our circumstances, and other people. I challenge you to get into God’s word daily so you can begin to hear His voice.