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Listening to God

How often do I think I know what God's saying, when I really haven't a clue?

One evening my six-year-old son, Christian, asked me, "Mom, what was my favorite song when I was little?"

"Jesus Loves Me," I told him.

"I knew it!"

"Do you want to sing it now with me?"

As we started the song Christian quickly interrupted. "Mom, what does sigh no mean?"

Sigh no? I thought a moment, then it hit me: He thought the words were, "Jesus loves me this sigh no."

I told my son the correct lyrics, emphasizing the words this I know.

My son's misunderstanding got me thinking more deeply, though, about how often I think I know what God is telling me when really I'm just hearing what I want to hear or what I think he would say. I'm not truly listening for God's answer because I already think I know. I go through the motions (prayer, reading Scripture, and going to church), but am I really getting it?

Sometimes, yes, I am really connected to God. But life gets busy and I get sidetracked. I have a praise and I shoot up a thank you prayer to God. I have a problem and I shoot up a prayer for help. Often I think I know what God's response is without really listening for it. I assume I know what God wants me to do or learn from a situation without really going directly to him.

While my son assumed he knew the words to "Jesus Loves Me," he was way off. He wasn't grasping what the song means. I assume I know what God wants me to learn from a situation and I can be way off. Sometimes I have to go through a situation over and over to finally get what God is teaching me. I'm sure he looks at me and think, "You're not getting it! You think you know but you're way off. Come to me to get the true answers."

I need to go to God first and ask him for help. Deuteronomy 4:29-31 states: "From there you will search again for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. In the distant future, when you are suffering all these things, you will finally return to the LORD your God and listen to what he tells you. For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you …."

Even though my son sang the wrong lyrics for years he now knows the correct words and the true meaning. It's never too late to turn to God and get the answers. It's never too late to admit you've been wrong. The catch is we have to listen to his answers. Most likely they won't come in the form of a burning bush or even an audible voice. They come in a quiet whisper, in something that nudges at your spirit and makes you think.

I often get direct answers from God by journaling to him. I typically have to be alone and quiet. I write a detailed and personal prayer to him. Then I simply ask him to speak to me and to guide my pen.

Words flow so fast I often struggle to keep up. I complete my journal entry by writing, "Amen." Then I love to read back what God has told me. This draws me so close to him.

I encourage you to give it a try. God wants to speak directly to you. Embrace that truth. The Creator will speak directly to you. Go ahead: Sigh and say no more relying on myself, I will rely on God!

Liz Sovern is an author who lives with her family in Illinois.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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