Have you ever told someone something important, only to find out they weren’t listening? Or rather, the person only heard what they wanted to hear? For me, this usually happens in arguments. It’s like all of a sudden, I have selective hearing. It’s not that the person didn’t say anything else, I simply chose to hear what I wanted to hear. Sometimes I think we turn on our selective hearing when we’re trying to recognize the voice of God, too. We limit our listening skills.
Several months ago, I applied for a new job position—my dream job to be exact. It was a pretty big step for me. It had already been a long process, and I was waiting for God to tell me what to do next. I prayed and talked to Him about how I knew He’d told me to apply. I knew the excitement, random puzzle pieces fitting together, and outrageous passion I had were sprinkles of His support and encouragement. But I heard nothing about my next steps from Him on what to do next. Nothing! Pretty soon, the enemy started slipping into my head and filling it with my toughest insecurities and weaknesses. I started to become angry with God. (Silly, I know.) I knew God’s character, and I didn’t want to be mad at Him! So why wasn’t I hearing anything?
I wasn’t hearing anything because I was too busy focusing on what I wanted to hear. I was looking for a miraculous sign, a “job well done,” or a gold star sticker to proudly display. But the thing is—God calls us to live by faith and not by sight. To recognize the voice of God, you have to silence every other voice in your head and focus on the one that matters most.
When I spent extra time in prayer, I felt an incredible peace and comfort wash over me. It was like God was giving me a big hug, saying, “I’m right here, Leanna. You don’t need to land this job for me to love you. But will you continue to trust me and seek my voice even if you don’t? I am your next step.” I realized that I had been listening to every other voice except His. I needed to silence the loud clutter and noise in my head so I could hear His whisper. I needed to willingly choose to sit down at His feet listen to Him.
For you, that might mean turning off the radio on your way to work, putting your phone down, or spending extra time on a devotional. The good news is this: God said in Jeremiah 29:13 NIV, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” God’s with you, He’s listening, and He’s talking, too. Relationships are a two-way street! But instead of looking for a tangible sign or specific answer, just look to God instead. Silence your thoughts. Search for Him! He could be speaking to you through something as simple as a song, another person, that overwhelming peace you have about a situation, or even the goosebumps you get when your pastor makes a really good point. Turn off your selective hearing, and tune into the Spirit.