Since I'd lived a self-centered life, when I finally gave my life to Christ, I wanted to serve—a necessary part of my discipleship. But as the years progressed, my service became the enemy of my soul because I thought I had to serve sacrificially all the time.
My wake-up call came when I pushed myself to such exhaustion that I became dizzy for three months. Sometimes it was so debilitating that I couldn't read, watch TV, or hold a conversation. The only option left was to lie quietly and listen for God's voice, which turned out to be the best option.
My experience was summed up in Psalm 62:1-2, "I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken." After that experience, I never wanted to live without that stillness again.
A Message Just for You
We may certainly hear God's voice when we're with others. Perhaps something hits you in a sermon or a friend says just the right thing at the right time. But we almost all need filters. A sermon or a friend's word may steer you the wrong way—not because what they said wasn't true, but because it wasn't the message you needed to hear.
For example, when I was unable to say no, I didn't need to be challenged to serve, even if my best friend did.
Maybe you have a problem with false guilt, so you don't need to hear a sermon on how sinful you are, even though the person sitting next to you needs exactly that message.
That's why we need time alone with God—to hear what messages he has uniquely for us.1