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Hearing from God


"Most of us are afraid of our guidance, our intuition, our 'hunches'," says Agnes Sanford. She goes on, "We try to close our minds to them, thereby increasing our restlessness and losing the benefit of the heavenly warning that would tell us when and how to pray."

I have a knee-jerk disagreement with this until I pause and think. My heart desires to hear from God more than it desires any other thing, and yet...a hunch sets off an internal dialogue that sounds like the noise level in a crowded restaurant. Was it me, was it Him, was it Satan, was it really just appetite or a yen for sushi? How to silence, to quote Kerry Cosgrove, "the thousand screaming monkeys in my head?" Blah, blah, blah. And like the restaurant chatter, all those thoughts seem simultaneous, although I'm told we are only capable of one at a time. I blow past my hunches not infrequently, talked out of them by the crowd in my head.

I think each of us has a variation on this battle, based on our particular mental construction. We all have different fights between our ears. I've known people who KNEW when He spoke to them, but had a real fight with their own willingness to act on what was said. I've known people who went full-steam with their every inclination, not stopping to sort out the source. (I actually kinda' admire both of these problems, as they are not my own.) Some of us set up a hedge of noise around ourselves that drowns out the guidance, neatly absolving us of the responsibility to act, since we never heard it. Then we try to explain to God, like Steve Martin explaining to the IRS "I...forgot!"

Me, I am pretty much always thinking about something, so my fight tends to be about the source of the thought. But that's not the issue, if I get honest. The issue is fear, as Agnes Sanford pointed out. If I hear from Him and know it's Him then there's no getting around the fact that I'm not in charge and I may have to step out of the warm mental jacuzzi I like to live in. As I write that sentence, I can feel the fear, and possibilities spring to mind: being confrontational, traveling a new road, going out on a limb with a new project, going against the crowd... I act as if He's about to ask me to address my seventh grade homeroom on the subject of boogers, all while wearing nothing but a hand towel.

Here's the thing: His words to me, as I look back, have all gone straight to the heart of whatever is crucial. They hit the nail exactly on the head, even if I didn't know there was a nail. And they patiently ask one thing of me at a time, and wait for my response. And wait, and wait. They may not be easy, but they are simple.

And they are, at their core, kind. Kindness and painfulness can go hand in hand, just as can comfortability and malice. (Some folks in Pompeii no doubt listened to the internal voice that told them not to worry about Vesuvius.)

The great majority of things I've ever heard from Him have been small tendernesses, endearments. And when my internal dialogue drowns out those, how great is the loss. I marvel that fear can cut off the flow of this vital stream simply because a challenge may flow through the same pipeline.

If we accept that He still speaks (and one name for Him is The Word, for pity sake), then it follows that there's vital guidance and encouragement for our particular journey available, if we permit it. There's help for the road ahead, and we all need it.


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I always receive a lot from your blogs, Mary, just as I was always helped and refreshed by our visits.

This one speaks volumes to me because I have all those questions you mentioned nearly drowning out the still small voice. I always doubt that I heard it right or that it was meant for me - or some negative thing. I know the Lord speaks to me and cares for me - look what He has done for me these past 3 years? And of course all the other years before.

I hate that I'm a doubter and that somehow I can't be the one the Lord is speaking to - must be for someone else or just my wishful thinking voice in my head. So, once more, thanks for putting words on paper so to speak that make me think.

Bless you dear girl.

            - Jane


I love the idea of stepping out of my warm mental jacuzzi.

Mary, you are a gem.

            - Ruth

Loved it!!!!

            - Ann


This is fantastic. I like how you think. I like to think with you. Thanks!

            - Marsha

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