Updated: Apr 10, 2020
I have to say that I am a horrible wait-er. I am terrible at waiting. Even since I was a child, my mom would tell me stories about how I was always active, always moving, climbing on things, and even refused to take naps because I wanted to be active and to play.
My impatience has often led me to try to do things on my own, without first waiting on God.
I think sometimes it's hard to know what God wants us to do in different moments of life. It's hard to differentiate his voice from others in our active mind. When I was really struggling to know my vocation in life, I would sit in front of Jesus in the adoration chapel, and all I would hear in my head is a loud voice that said, "You have to be a nun!" It was a loud and demanding voice, and it brought me lots of stress and anxiety. So for awhile, I was very confused, and I really thought that was God's voice. I listened to it and took it so seriously, visiting different convents and talking to nuns, but I never felt an inner peace about this way of life.
My theory is this: Because of my impatience about finally knowing what God wanted me to do (since the right man seemed to take forever to show up), I would listen to almost any voice that promised me certainty (even if it was not the right path for me).
Something that I learned from all of this is how to differentiate God's voice from the voice of the devil (which is the voice of impatience, anxiety, fear, settling for less, and impulsiveness).
The voice of the evil one is always erratic and loud. It speaks in absolutes. It makes you feel like you must act NOW, and it can come off as very demanding.
On the other hand, these are the qualities that I noticed in God's voice:
God's voice is consistent.
God's voice is not extreme and random, but He speaks to our heart by being repetitive and constant. Sometimes, when a wave of anxiety comes over me, it helps for me to wait for this wave to pass before I listen to any of the voices I hear in my mind. As the wave passes, whatever thoughts remain unwashed and are present in the peace and calm, that's usually the voice of God. It's consistent.
God's voice is quiet.
My sister once suggested that I think of Jesus as a baby deer. A deer is shy and quiet. Similarly, when we approach Jesus stomping around, being rude and asking for things, He usually goes into His hiding place, waiting for us to quiet down. Only when we approach him with humility and quietness does He begin to speak to our heart. God almost always waits for us to quiet down before we can hear what he has to say. Another way of way of thinking of this is realizing that only still waters can reflect the sky above. Sometimes we can only get in touch with God above once we become still and quiet, ready to hear him.
God's voice is an invitation.
God's voice usually does not feel like you're being bullied around and forced to do something. Instead, once you get really still and quiet, it shows up as more of an invitation or even an inspiration that brings you light every time you have this thought.
Learning to differentiate God's voice from the voice of the evil one has been immeasurably helpful and brought me so much peace. In the past year of my relationship, when my anxiety has showed up, I have learned to get quiet and hear God's voice, which has consistently been reminding me to simply be still.
I hope this blog post helps you to better know how to listen God's voice and that this knowledge will give you great peace in your heart as you move through life, walking with Him.