Last night a young lady called me. She’s in a very sticky situation.
She is currently separated from her husband. A young man from church started pursuing a relationship with her. She’s not interested in him romantically and has made that clear. But they are talking and becoming friends due to their common interest in the things of God.
She told me, “I’m trying to free myself from this guy. I just want to focus on my relationship with Jesus and healing my heart! But for some reason, I keep feeling like I’m forced to be his friend and maybe more some day. I’m praying and praying, but I can’t get any peace. What can I do?”
Whew! That’s tough. When you are praying and yet don’t see the results you had hoped for, what can you do?
We talked for some time. She’s been growing rapidly in hearing from God and learning His ways.
One thing she said that caught my attention – “feeling forced” to be his friend.
I asked her about it. She said she feels this pressure and she wonders if it’s God or not. She’s afraid to cut things off with him because she’s not sure if maybe God WANTS her to be friends with him.
I told her that there’s a big difference between following the leading of the Lord and the feeling of being forced or pushed.
I sent her this chart I made to help her discern when it’s God voice or some other voice.
She immediately replied:
“Wow, I havent realized how much of the other voices I’ve been listening to because I wasn’t sure whether they were from God or not. It’s so clear now.”
I know this chart has helped me – sometimes when we feel unclear about something and especially if our emotions are involved, this can help bring clarity about exactly whose voice we are following.
Some charts I’ve seen contrast God’s voice to Satan’s voice. I chose to contrast God’s voice to “other voices” because sometimes that voice is our own! We are sometimes our own worst enemy – we tell ourselves what we “should” be doing, using guilt and manipulation to get ourselves to do things. Sometimes that “other voice” is someone in our lives giving us advice or telling us what we should do. This chart can help us figure out whether what they are saying lines up with the Lord’s voice. And yes, sometimes that “other voice” is the enemy, Satan, whispering things into our minds (which sounds like our own thoughts).
I encouraged her to keep that chart somewhere she could refer to it frequently. You might want to do the same.
So how do you know when it’s God’s voice versus Other voices? Feel free to share your experience below. What advice would you have given her?
One of the ways God speaks to us is through dreams. Has this ever happened to you?
How can you tell when it’s God speaking to you? Sometimes it is obvious and other times, you might not be so sure.
Here’s a dream I had recently where it was obvious to me that God was speaking to me.
I dreamed that I was in a house. I picked up some papers from my father’s desk. It was an article that I was interviewed for back in 1993. My father was coming down the hall toward the room I was in and we were talking about the papers. As soon as he was in the room, we heard a loud noise and wind started blowing very strongly. I realized it was a tornado and immediately my father and I went toward each other. We grabbed each other’s arms so we wouldn’t get separated in the storm. He said something but the storm was so loud, I couldn’t hear him. The wind died down for a few seconds and I heard him say, “Would you turn …” but then the wind increased and I couldn’t hear the rest. I said, “What?” really loud, trying to be heard above the noise. He spoke again, “Would you turn your head so I can tell you I love you?”
This time I heard him clearly. I suddenly realized I had lost some of my hearing in my left ear. This surprised me because I didn’t know this and he did. When I turned my right ear toward him, I heard him clearly – he was so close I could feel his breath as he spoke.
Immediately I woke up – my husband had awakened me because it was time to go to a doctor’s appointment for him to be cleared for surgery.
I knew this was a dream from God. How did I know?
- I remembered the dream in detail. When God wants to speak to us in a dream, then obviously we will remember it clearly. Many times I remember little bits and pieces of a dream, but when I can clearly remember the whole dream in detail, I pay attention. God may be speaking to me.
- The dream involved my father. From my personal experience with God, whenever I dream about my natural father, it represents God, my heavenly Father. That may not be true of everyone – this is just how God relates to me.
- There was a clear message – God wants me to know that He loves me. The feeling I had when I woke up stayed with me all day. It was more than just a natural father’s love – it had a depth and completeness to it that is hard to describe. I felt embraced by this love in my entire being – it created not only comfort but a strong sense of security and protection. I was safe and cared for in His love!
- I couldn’t stop thinking about the dream all day long. Many times when God is trying to get your attention, He will make sure the dream stays fresh in your mind until you get the entire message.
There are many layers of interpretation in this dream as it relates to my personal life. One obvious one for me was the timing of the dream. I had it on the day my husband was going to doctors appointments to be cleared for major surgery. What perfect timing to be reminded that God has been with me in the past during turbulent times and He is with me now. And He loves me – He will take care of us. ❤
I have also heard that often dreams from God involve bright colors – you’ll remember a specific color that was in your dream (i.e. someone was wearing a green shirt or you saw a red stop sign). I don’t recall any specific colors in this dream. It has been my experience that color does play a role – if I have a difficult dream that is all in shades of gray and black, it is often a revelation of the strategy of the enemy. I pay attention to those too and ask the Lord what I need to know. It may reveal what is happening in the unseen realm regarding me, my family or something happening in my region or nation. Often He will show me something I need to be praying about.
Sometimes dreams are confusing – the best thing to do is simply ask God to show you what He is saying, if the dream is from Him. Meditate on any themes or feelings you had in the dream. Sometimes you’ll get greater clarity if you take the time to write it down or tell it to a friend. But if no insight comes, don’t worry about it. God has ways of getting your attention. He’ll get the message through to you one way or another!
Have you ever had a dream that you knew was from God? What did it tell you? How did it help you? Feel free to share it with us below.
At 1:30am, I awoke to the voice of God. It surprised me. I wasn’t expecting it – I had been deeply asleep.
How do I know it was God?
- It came out of nowhere. I didn’t initiate this.
- It was full of compassion and love.
- It was a complete thought instantly – an immediate download of information that came with such sudden depth of understanding that I did not have before it came. It was instant insight that took me 9 paragraphs to record in my journal.
What did it “sound” like?
Like my own voice in my thoughts. But I knew it wasn’t MY thoughts for several reasons.
- I couldn’t have made this up. This was entirely new insight that I didn’t have before.
- It was not a logical progression of thoughts, one by one, like what normally happens when I am trying to figure something out. It was like a waterfall of instant understanding. (Like Neo in The Matrix receiving instant information about how to fly a helicopter.)
- I was asleep and was awakened just as it started. That’s not normally the way my mind works. It takes me awhile to wake up and start thinking clearly.
- It was full of love and compassion.
- It started with, “It’s not what you think it is …” Why would I say that if it was my own thoughts?
I write this as an example for those who are unfamiliar with hearing from God. There are times like this where you KNOW it’s God. It’s not always this clear. And that list of how I know it was God is not a checklist – it doesn’t always happen that way.
What IS pretty consistent is the waterfall of new insight – to me that’s a clear indication that I’m hearing from God. You can’t make this stuff up. And if the insight is connected with selfless love and compassion, you can’t go wrong. Some people tell me they are hearing from God, but I wonder about that when it’s not leading them toward Love.
Always look for the Love – the insight should come with love, or move you toward greater compassion. That’s the litmus test of authenticity that you are hearing from God. Look for the Love! ❤