Week 3 - Listening for God
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you - Psalm 119:11 ESV
How do we know we're doing God's will? Even more, how do you know that it is God's voice communicating with you? In times when you are distracted, stressed, searching for a particular answer - a particular response - how do you tell God's voice from your own?
The Psalm’s continually talk about and refer to hearing God’s voice. Psalm 73 acknowledges that we are continually with God, and that he holds our right hand. It states that he guides us with his counsel and that he is the strength in our heart (Psalm 73:23-26).
And the awesome thing is that we can use both the "Observing Self" and "Thinking Self" (here's more on what these are) to notice when we are distracted by our constant thinking, redirect our attention, observe what we are hearing from God and think about whether what we are hearing is in line with his word and teaching.
One of the easiest techniques for noticing when we are distracted is a psychological concept called "Defusion". Defusion aims to help us separate ourselves from our thoughts by observing the nature of them. For example, instead of worrying about what is for dinner we can instead say to ourselves, "I am currently worrying about what we are having for dinner". Once we have done this, something changes in us. We shift from our thoughts happening to us, to having choice, some control, and a new sense of ability to direct our thinking and thinking attention. Thus, we can choose to redirect our attention back to our praying, reading of God's word, and in short, focus on God.
Defusion can be useful in our connecting deeply with God. For example, noticing the paper of the bible we are holding in our hands, the shape and look of the text on the page, or how the sentences sound when we read them are all ways of increasing our sense of noticing. We are diffusing the experiences we're having - drawing them out, becoming more present to them, noticing the different aspects and elements of what we're doing right then and there. Introducing a note of thankfulness into each aspect of what we notice, like having a bible to touch and connect with for example, increases our awareness of God. And when God speaks into our thinking, reading, reflecting, and praying, we can notice this too.
How do you notice when God speaks? The short answer is that God has a certain tone that is different from your own. God has insights and wisdom that are not your own. And so in your thinking and observing, there will come points where a tone or insight kicks into your processing that is thoroughly different from your own. This can be the voice of God. The more consistently we repeat spending time with God, the more consistently we will experience this, the more we will recognise - this is not me, this is God. How does anyone learn a specific voice in their world? By spending consistent time with that person, you learn their tone, their intonations, their turns of phrase, their insights into the world. It is definitely the same with God, although on a whole new level - He is the Creator of the Universe after all.
So, next time you try to spend time with God i encourage you to use the Observing and Thinking Selves to focus on him.
Written by Ashleigh Crosilla