Hear the “Still Small Voice” of God
As Genesis 1:27 reports, “God created mankind in his own image.” Something of the Divine Spirit of God is implanted in each human being, but remains hidden deeply within us until we begin to orient our lives towards God. As we repent, turn towards God, leaving behind our oh-so-human ways and taking up a real relationship with God, we begin to activate that divine spirit within us. The more we surrender our lives to God, the more the Indwelling Spirit of God begins to “speak” to us in a quiet voice, that “still small voice” of 1 Kings 19:12. Still, it can take a long time before we will knowingly follow that voice because it can so easily be drowned out by the loud voice of our own minds and the priorities that were set in us as children.
Our self-image and many “do’s and don’t’s” are set in our minds by the age of six. We have absorbed our parents’ ideas of behavior and the direction our lives are to take, plus the values of our culture that early on. These values and behaviors were forged in our own guilt and shame as we failed so often to follow these instructions.
These early ideas speak loud and clear in our minds, so they make it hard for us to hear the quiet voice of God. When I first tried meditation, I ran from the room because of those loud voices that had so much power over me. I have found only one way to quiet these loud interior voices: that is to become an observer of them, to step back from any emotional involvement with them—guilt or anything else. It helps to see the source of many of them. For me, my parents wanted us to be on time for everything, if not a few minutes early; so I still feel that pressure when I’m on my way somewhere. Even If I know I’ll be early, the pressure still comes up in me. Now I just relax and let it go. My parents were cautious about spending money, and my Aunt Grace couldn’t stay on the phone more than a few minutes without hanging us for fear of it costing her, even if I had called her. So money is an issue for me. As is being poised in all situations. And so much more—all the “shoulds” of my life!
As I have become an observer of these loud interior voices of mine, I have been able to greet them like old friends—after all they’ve been with me all my life practically—but I no longer get upset or change what do, because of them. I had hoped for a long time that not paying attention to them would result in them going away, but I can tell you this—they don’t disappear! So, I don’t pay attention to them. And I am free from their influence.
As their influence over me has gradually diminished over many years, my ability to hear the Indwelling Spirit of God has grown greatly. The first thing I heard was this: “I have an agenda for my life.” I was shocked. All I had wanted to be was a wife and mother. But the Spirit of God was telling me there was so much more. So I started to ask: “What do I really want to do?” instead of “what should I be doing?” Later I was led to spiritual direction training and after that to being a writer totally from the eyes of a spiritual director.
Another time I heard, “How can I say I love God, if I can’t love my mother?” That stopped me cold. I was like a teenager with her, although then in my 40s. I tried for two years to love her, but it was impossible for me until God surrounded us both(and my husband) in a cloud of love while we were waiting for a train to take us further north. From that moment on our relationship changed radically: I was able to love her for who she was and she was grateful for every single thing I did for her. All the way on the train ride, all I could think, with awe, was that God took my rebellion and turned it into love!
Over the years I have heard more and more of what the Spirit of God is saying to me, from what to do next, to what book to buy, to what to write. I no longer have to think a lot about what to say in my weekly blog—it just flows out of me. I can hear His soft voice easily as I go through my day, and follow what it is saying to me. The Spirit has come forward in my life to now be the Pilot of my life, with me being the oh-so-willing co-pilot. What a gift! A grace! A treasure! I am no longer on my own. I live in peace. I am deeply engaged in my life and in the people God brings to me. My work is such a blessing, since I had no career before retirement age; while most people my age retired, I have written a weekly blog post since 2011 and four books since 2015, with another in process. I am so grateful for the life that God has given me! And for His quiet voice which has sustained me and led me through the last forty years!