I am often asked what the voice of God sounds like or how to know when God is speaking. In the Bible we read, “God told this person this stuff,” and we assume it is some booming voice from heaven, and even if it is booming, it is at least audible. I can tell you I have heard an audible voice that was unmistakably God a few times, but more often than not, it’s an internal thought or knowing. Here are two examples from this week.
At the beginning of the year I spent time seeking God for His desire for this year. I asked for directions on my writing, social media presence, physical health, social life, and career. One of the things I felt strongly led to do is get fit. Not “lose weight” but get fit. Get in the gym, lift some weights, and do some cardio. Build muscle, trim down, and build endurance. So for the last few weeks I’ve been in the gym four days a week doing just that. I do weights and spent 20+ minutes on cardio. I started with light weights, low reps, and shorter cardio times and intensity so my body could acclimate and I didn’t hurt myself. It has been going great.
Last week I was having my morning quiet time, journaling and praying, and I had the thought, “I need to be stretching every day so my muscles stay loose.” When I was in high school and even when I worked with trainers, that statement was drilled into my head. You stretch so you don’t hurt and so you don’t injure yourself. Stretching keeps your muscles loose and your body able to handle hard work.
Now, understand, I hate stretching, so I took that thought, held it up to my body at this moment, and realized my body was fine. I didn’t ache. I was sleeping okay with no residual muscle soreness. I was good, so I promptly dismissed the thought as a voice from coaches past.
Jump to Monday morning when I rolled over to my left side, and the pressure hurt in my hip joint. Probably just stiff from sleeping, so I ignored it. Tuesday when I worked in the yard my hip ached from the tightness, and I knew what it was. I had the same deep ache from muscle tightness when I was training for a 5K. The ONLY answer is stretching, so I did. I would lean my hip out and stretch the deep muscles at the joint. It hurt, which means things are really tight, but I was too busy for that 30-minute stretch thing. Yesterday I had to run some errands and get groceries. My hip throbbed the whole time. At one point I prayed, “Lord, can you please do something about this?” And immediately I had the thought, “Yeah. I can tell you to stretch.” And I remembered last week, that thought during my prayer time, the one I dismissed thinking it was just a voice from past coaches. Nope. It was not a voice of past coaches. It was the voice of God.
Example number two.
As I mentioned, yesterday I had errands to run and needed to get groceries. One of the thing I needed to pick up is potassium because I ran out Monday. I don’t take supplements every day, but when I know I haven’t gotten enough in food, I use supplements, especially since I’ve been working muscles and getting fit. Instead of just taking potassium, I take the muscle trifecta of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Yesterday I stop by to pick up some potassium, and I thought I should get a bottle of all three, which made no sense because I just bought a bottle of one of them two weeks ago, and I knew I had plenty of the third. I only needed potassium, and I am trying to streamline my life by not having unnecessary extras, so I only bought potassium.
Last night I was getting ready for bed, and I knew my body was running low on the trifecta so I went in my bathroom to take the supplements. Opened the medicine cabinet and picked up the empty bottle of potassium to toss it, except it wasn’t empty. It was about 1/3 full. Not good. That means…yep, the calcium bottle was empty. I didn’t need potassium. I needed calcium. Had I listened to the “Thought” that said to buy one of each, I would have bought what I actually needed.
Now you might be wondering what makes me think those were God talking. A few things.
One, both of those “Thoughts” went against my natural bent. My bent is to hate stretching and not buy stuff I don’t need (unless it is books, and then He is usually the one saying, “You don’t need that.”).
Second, every morning I pray for God to bless my day, to lead me into His will, and give me strength and wisdom to do His will. His will is for me to be healthy and fit. Both of those “Thoughts” had to do with my physical ability to sleep well and to be physically able to serve Him. NOW ,I see that those “Thoughts” were direct responses to my prayers.
Finally, those “Thoughts” were pre-emptive. The Word tells me God goes before me, not just in location but also in time. Both of those “Thoughts” were pre-emptive in that they addressed things to come, like the pain that I feel now and finding out last night I didn’t have calcium. Did I know they were pre-emptive then? No, which is why I ignored them, but if you look at the Bible a lot of God’s words are based on what people didn’t see. Noah and the flood. Joseph and the famine that was to come. The entire Promised Land journey. I had no reason to have those thoughts based on what I knew, which is another reason to believe God is speaking based on what HE knows.
It would have been great if God’s voice sounded like a booming voice from heaven, but honestly, I have found it rarely booms. Instead, God’s speaking often just seems like thoughts or “just feel like I should do (whatever)”.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to stretch before I go back to the store to buy some calcium.
Copyright @2023 by Jerri Kelley