God’s Voice or Mine?

Hello from South Dakota!

Have any of you struggled with doubting whether you were actually hearing from God?

Over the last year, I have been sorting through how I can know when I’m hearing God’s voice rather than my own. It seems He has been telling me a lot of things, and placing His calling on my heart, yet He is also telling me to wait. I still have work and ministry to do in this waiting season, but my biggest struggle has been in wrestling with the doubts that sometimes flood my mind. I doubt partly because I don’t know what my next steps are, and partly because I wonder if it is my own discontentment, rather than God, that would call me away from a place where He is so clearly at work.

This has all put me in a place of surrendering and leaning on God like never before! Whatever His plan is in the bigger picture, I trust that He is working no matter what, and I know now more than ever that He is SO good and faithful.:heart: At the end of the day, however, I still find myself wrestling with doubts that are hard to shake. What if the doubts are actually God’s gentle, quiet voice? What if what I thought was God’s voice is my own instead?

I would love to hear any wisdom you have to share! :slight_smile:

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Hi Amy,

This is such a good question and one that I have personally wrestled with. A few thoughts:

God has wired as human being for specific purposes. Not only has Christ saved us, but as Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. You can know for sure that you are called by God to do good works. I think God has given every single person unique gifting and abilities. Often those passions can be channeled into serving God/ serving people. What do you love ? What are you good at ? Sometimes we can wonder what we are supposed to do, and forget that God made you the way he did for a reason. You do not need to hear the direct voice of God to know that He has created you for good works.

On hearing God’s voice- we can know that if it goes against scripture it is not the voice of God. We can know that if a voice comes out as fear it is not of the Lord “For God has not given us to the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”. (1Tim 1:7)

The other day I was reading the story of Samuel. As a child, God spoke to Samuel and at first Samuel did not know it was God. Scripture say “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.”

(1 Samuel 3:7)

It was not until Samuel went to Eli that he realized that it was God speaking to him. I believe this same principle can be applied to us hearing the voice of God- sometimes we need to discuss what we feel God is saying to us with others. So many Christians around us have a lot of wisdom and sharing our hearts with them may help us to figure out whether it is truly God’s voice or not.

The beautiful thing is that God does speak to us every single time we choose to read God’s word. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Again we see the words “good works” I once heard someone say something like this “When you don’t know what God is telling you to do, start by doing what you do know to do” from scripture we can see all that God desires us to be and to do.

Sorry for the rambling. Hope this was somewhat helpful lol :sweat_smile:

I so admire you desire to really know God’s voice and to honor Him :heart:

Praying for you !

Elisabeth Natirboff

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Hi, @Amy_Muller :wave:

Only life changing decisions bring about this kind of dilemma. And it’s always a tough decision to make. And tougher still to know whether it was God’s voice or yours that echoes within. But what I’ve learned so far in such situation is that God always guides His children along. We just have to make our choice and move on.

God’s guidance is available for His children through many avenues. As long as these ingredients factored in in the decision-making process: personal and intercessory prayer, meditation, balanced counsel-seeking, purpose and gifts, and clear conscience; what’s left to do is to take the step ultimately based on your conviction.

Romans 14:5
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Unless it is a direct instruction or prohibition from the Scripture, the Spirit’s conviction plays a vital role in most of our choices. God’s NOD or NOT will be revealed as you take that leap of faith.

While waiting for clarity, beware of “analysis paralysis” trying to weigh things in mind. Move forward and do the next right thing and God will lead you along.

I can sense you’re taking the right steps forward. Be at peace with your choices. If the voice keeps nagging at you, then you’ll know the voice of conviction.

Hope to hear how this would turn out :slight_smile:

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Hi @enatirbofff!

You didn’t ramble at all! What you shared makes so much sense, and is so encouraging to me.:slight_smile:

I am especially encouraged by the scripture you shared that reminds me, first, that God does have a plan for each of His children and He is faithful to guide us within His will, and second, that He has not given us a spirit of fear.

I realize whenever I begin to fear taking the next step, it is because I am focusing on myself rather than on Christ and His completed work of grace.

Thank you for sharing, and thank you so much for your prayers, Elizabeth!:heart:

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Some awesome responses on this excellent question already! I’ll just add that I’m currently reading a great book on this topic called Hearing God by Dallas Willard. If you want a more in-depth look at this topic, check it out!

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Hi @DCGotiza!

Thank you so much for your wise words. I realized as I read your response that, when I am struggling with doubts, I often put myself in a position of decision-paralysis for fear of stepping outside of God’s will. How silly and arrogant of me to think that I can somehow outrun God’s sovereignty in my life!

I am encouraged when I think of how God so graciously dealt with Jonah when he was running from God. How much more, when we desire to hear God’s voice and obey Him, can we trust that He will be faithful to speak to us and guide us in our steps?

I am also encouraged by David’s words: “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:7-10)

This reminds me that there is nowhere I can step or turn that would cause God to throw His hands up and think, “whelp, she’s out of my hands now!” There is no place beyond the reach of God’s sovereign and gracious hand, and I can rest in that knowledge.:heart:

Thank you again for your encouraging words, Dennis☺️

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Hi @Matthew_Mittelberg!

Thank you for the suggestion. I will definitely check it out!:blush:

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Amen He does have a plan! He see us, He cares, we are not alone :heart:

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I would just add one thought to the excellent suggestions you’ve already received. Remember that story about young Samuel that @enatirbofff mentioned? I think it illustrates an important point - God’s voice doesn’t go away.

Many times we’ll get an idea in our head, and we’ll wonder the same thing you’re wondering - is this really from God, or is it just me? Often, if we’ll put it on the backburner and pray for wisdom about it, one of two things will happen - the urge to follow that idea will either fade or grow. When Eli told Samuel to just go back to bed and get some sleep - well, Samuel couldn’t get back to sleep. God kept speaking!

Many times in the Bible the word of the Lord would come to some prophet, and the prophet would describe it as the burden of the Lord. It was a message that weighed on him until he delivered it as God directed. Acts 18:5 calls it being pressed in the Spirit. And it doesn’t go away until it’s obeyed.

In Jeremiah 20:9, the prophet became so frustrated at the nation for ignoring the messages from God that he was delivering that he finally said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

You mentioned Jonah earlier. He experienced the same thing - and Jonah 3:1 says that the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time.

I suspect that if it’s God talking, He won’t quit until you say, Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth!

I hope this will help you, along with the other good counsel you’ve received.

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@Amy_Muller check the lyrics on Smell the Color 9 by Chris Rice - https://youtu.be/xNUmoSHavLc

I believe it also applies to your question.

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Hi @jlyons,

Wow, your words just struck a cord for me. I am moved beyond words by the wisdom you have just spoken, and by the gentleness with which you just shared these things. Thank you.:heart:

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Thank you again to everyone who has shared wisdom on this topic. I am so moved by the encouragement I have received from each of you, and by the way you have each pointed me to Christ. I truly am at a loss for words.:heart::heart:

@enatirbofff @DCGotiza @Matthew_Mittelberg @jlyons @gary.a.clark

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I felt compelled to add one more thing to the long list of helpful comments; I hope you don’t mind.

I’ve found Romans 15:20-21 to be the most important for me in how to discern God’s unique calling on my life.
20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21 but as it is written, "Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”

Paul, an apostle who was directly, audibly commissioned by our Lord Jesus, rooted his mission (to preach the gospel where it hasn’t been yet) in the written Scriptures. Was Isaiah 52:15 some unique prophecy for Paul? No. But he let the objective claims of the Scriptures direct his subjective calling.

I encourage all to prayerfully get alone with God’s word and see where the Holy Spirit will grip you. If you find yourself unable to shake a handful of texts, go and do likewise.

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Wow thank you so much for asking such a great question Amy! I can relate to your struggles here and personally struggle with “analysis paralysis.” Thanks to everyone for all your great comments and helpful Scripture and wisdom! I think I needed to hear all of this too!

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Hey Ami,
My wife and i have been debating this lately and honestly its quite difficult to answer…

How do know if its our conscious speaking?
Does the Holy Spirit speak THROUGH our conscious?
Is our inner voice a product of what we put in it?
Do we deny that the supernatural can intervene??

We couldn’t really find a proper answer, but i concluded and agree with what Ravi Zacharias once said “Our ultimate authority for our lives should come from the bible.”
In other words: our inner voice should be aligned to his word as the ultimate authority.
because if not, our inner voice may end up being defined by our experiences and/or feelings.

Side Thoughts:
What about Hitlers inner voice?
Did he listen to a voice from the enemy or was that voice a product of his experiences/feelings?
If Hitler read scripture and genuinely accepted it, would his inner voice become more God-centered?

Ultimately, I think our inner voice could be defined by our personal experiences and our emotions. Which makes it more of a must to embed scripture into our mind and hearts. Literally theirs a battlefield in the mind/heart. But i don’t deny that the supernatural can intervene in our thoughts/voice…

As John Lennox said (Paraphrased): “In the Secular world,
They Use God and Trust Reason,
For Christians We Use Reason and Trust God.”

Hope that helps:)

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Hi @joshuan!

I love that you and your wife are raising such interesting questions as you’ve thought through the bigger question of hearing God’s voice!:slight_smile:

You gave some very helpful reminders about lining everything up with Scripture. I have come to realize it is always when I am most grounded in Scripture and in prayer that I can distinguish my Shepherd’s voice from my own.

I am curious, have you and your wife come to any conclusions about your fantastic questions, “does the Holy Spirit speak through our conscious?” Or “do we deny that the supernatural can intervene?”

My sister, @meganmuller316, and I have also recently been adding another layer to this discussion through asking the question, “can we run into the same problem of being led by our thoughts/feelings when we must use our minds to interpret Scripture?”

I would love to hear your thoughts!:blush:

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Hey Joshua! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and questions! I’ve been praying, asking questions, searching scripture, and listening to others’ input on this topic for months at this point.

Your questions about Hitler really stood out to me, and as I was reading them I had thoughts flooding through my head. I pray that sharing these thoughts will both be encouraging and helpful for you.

I really believe we all have an inner voice/conscience. The question is, who is that voice answering to? The call to sin or the call to righteousness? I think of Romans 6:16 that says,

“you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness” (ESV)

All of us have found ourselves slaves to sin. I think we can argue, based on scripture, that Satan will do whatever he can to keep us in that sin. The amazing thing is that God can reach out and rescue us from that slavery and make us slaves to righteousness.

During Hitler’s rule, I think it’s safe to argue that he was a slave to sin, which gave him no other option but to respond in a sinful way to whatever his experiences and feelings were. I hope I’m right in assuming that by “enemy” you’re referring to Satan. I don’t know that Satan was directly talking to Hitler, but I think Satan does have power to tempt us to continue sinning.

I truly believe that if Hitler had read scripture and accepted it, his inner voice would have become more God-centered. The reason I believe this is that, if Hitler had come to the point of accepting scripture, the Holy Spirit would have to be involved. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals truth to us. (John 16:13 & 1 Corinthians 2:10)

Knowing this, as Christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit who reveals truth to us, I think we can trust God to guide what our inner voice is saying. Granted, we are still surrounded by sin, both in our bodies and in the world, and we will experience the negative effects of this. But there is hope yet, because God has provided a way for us to communicate to Him through prayer and ask for help. I love what John Piper says about prayer in his book, A Hunger for God,

“For years I have argued that prayer is meant by God to be a wartime walki-talkie, not a domestic intercom. God intends for us to call on him to help us because we are giving our lives to spread a passion for his supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples. Prayer is not for the enhancement of our comforts but for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.”

I hope all of this has been helpful. May God bless you as you continue to seek God’s will. I will be praying for you and your wife :pray:t3:

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Wow, just want to say that was very thoughtful and insightful to read. I think that verse you recommended (Romans 6:16) definitely sums up this whole convo. Thanks for that!

Hope it was insightful for everyone else

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Hey Amy,
Unfortunately my wife and I are still trying to find an agreement in our conclusion. But i would have to say that @meganmuller316 definitely found a biblical verse (Romans 6:16) that is a logically sound response to our inner voice.

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Zowie! That quote by Piper, “Prayer is not for the enhancement of our comforts but for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom!” Double zowie!

Something hit me out of that line - the Lord’s prayer begins (Matthew 6:10) and ends (Matthew 6:13, for thine is the kingdom…) with the kingdom. And everything in between is for strength and cleansing and guidance in pursuit of the kingdom! Thank you for that epiphany!

Zowie!

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