I know when God is talking to me. It has taken me much of my adult life to finally realize that He still speaks to me the same way He did when I was a kid. Perhaps I was expecting “bigger” ways of communication, or more pronounced since now I am grown and have so much responsibility on my plate. If He had a Facebook account, I would be certain to get His messages, but that is not how He chooses to move me.
I remember a season in my life in my not-so-distant past when I was praying for God to send me some direction. I remember asking, “Could you just send me an e-mail or something and make this a little more tangible for me?” I think I prayed like this for several days as I was desperately trying to hear His voice so that I could move forward. Then one night I had a dream. In that dream I was watching the Children of Israel traveling through the desert as Moses was leading them out of Egypt in the Exodus. In front of them was that cloud by day and then the night time brought them a pillar of fire in front of them. The images flashed before me quickly…first day and then night. Then I heard God speak to me in my dream as if He was picking up on a conversation with me where we had left off, and I heard these words: “So you see, Cate, I never intended to be a God who sits behind a desk sending messages and executive orders. I am a God who shows you where to go by walking ahead of you and lighting the way.”
There have been a few occasions where God has spoken to me in the night in a dream. I can probably only count those incidents on one hand. More often, the way He speaks to me is by nudging me with thoughts that suddenly make my heart vibrate. The longer I think about them, the louder the vibrations in my heart seem to get. I have a choice at that moment to step out on the thing I hear Him saying or shut Him down. At first I would wrestle with thoughts like “Is that really God?” Then I began to realize that if it was uncomfortable for me (i.e-.-scared me to death), if it reflected the love and compassion of God, if it provided for the needs of another, or if it was something in my possession to give, or if I had the ability to obtain it, then I would stop arguing with my head because that is most likely God.
So, it happened again the other night. I was watching a movie with my family and I have a sudden flash of thoughts that tells me to give a particular person a call, pray for healing for their back, and tell them that God loves them and wanted me to pass the message on. It was so random. So I began the mental checklist: Is it uncomfortable for me? check! Does it reflect the love and compassion of God? check! Does it provide for the needs of another? (the need for love and prayer) check! Is it within my possession to give? check! The thoughts just vibrated in me until I picked up the phone and made the call. Once I connected with the individual, I was just swimming in peace. I was doing what I was supposed to do and the results of my obedience were not up to me.
It is like breathing to hear God’s voice, only sometimes I shut off the air supply. I sometimes make it much more complicated. So I have started with this simple checklist when I feel an idea hitting me and then I act on it. My list may change or grow as I get better at obedience, but for now, I’m just taking one step at a time and trusting that God is walking right in front of me already preparing the way.