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How does God talk to you?

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…” IS 43:2 (NIV)

God speaks to us in many ways. I have heard of people who say they actually hear “the voice of God.” Not me. Usually it sounds like my other thoughts, in my own voice, but I know it is God when the idea is particularly strong and gives me a feeling similar to butterflies. God speaks to me in other ways, too. One thing I have found is that He can be funny, is seldom straight forward (leaves room for choice and growth) and he speaks to us in the language we need to hear at the time. Sometimes he might use someone like Ze Frank who talks about FILDI (F*** It Let’s Do it) in “An Invocation for Beginnings” to help us understand taking a leap of faith. Other times he has used billboards on the side of the road. I recently saw two billboards advertising Wyoming when I was trying to decide whether to leave Kansas City and move back to Wyoming. Both of those billboards were for lanes that were facing in the wrong direction for going anywhere near Wyoming. One of them even had the tagline, “Man was not meant to be tamed!” And, that brings me to an example of listening to God when he talks.

I have been reading Wild at Heart and Fathered by God, by John Eldridge. Eldridge talks about going on adventures with God in order to find our warrior heart. So, the other day, I set out on a mini-adventure. I had a new pair of cowboy boots that were stiff and hurting my feet, and I decided to go to a creek in one of our local parks to get them wet and soften the leather. As I exited the creek to begin drying my boots and contemplating Eldridge’s teachings, I felt a very strong pull to go back out into the water. The ankle-deep water rolled over my new boots as I wondered why I was back out there. Suddenly, I wanted to walk upstream. After walking about 50 feet, I notice four Canada Geese that I hadn’t noticed before. My inner voice said, “Take pictures of the Geese.” I didn’t argue and took a few shots with my iPhone. I then stepped back to admire the geese some more and noticed a small water fall across the creek about 20 feet up the steep bank. My inner voice said, “You need to go over there.” This brought the water over the top of my boots and required me to be mindful of the loose rocks I was stepping on to keep from falling in altogether. As I moved across the increasing current, my thoughts were drawn to the awesome power of God. I humbly asked him to share that strength with me as I move along his path in life. After climbing up to the waterfall, more pictures and walking across a couple of semi-dangerous logs, I was pulled to walk back downstream and along a smaller fork in the stream. There I came upon some raccoon tracks and a water bird that I have never seen before. I felt compelled to take several pictures along the way and eventually found myself back across the creek from where I started. There is a significantly deep hole at that point, and I said, “I don’t want to get that wet.” To which my inner voice responded, “Then don’t.” and led me to a nice path up the bank and back to the bike path I came in on. Back on the path, I found a bench and sat down to take off my boots. As I pulled off my wet socks, I felt like I needed to wash my feet with them. I found this silly but, as I did it, my memory wandered back to the many verses in the New Testament about the humility in washing someone’s feet. And, I have to say, it was a little humiliating to sit alongside a popular bike path and wash your own feet with your wet socks, but how much more we appreciate humiliating ourselves for others when we understand the humiliation of doing simple, meaningful things for to take care of ourselves and our own souls.

I know that all of this might sound like the whimsical behavior of a dumba** with ADHD trying to ruin a good pair of boots. I thought the same thing, but ADHD usually describes what I do when I am actually trying to think things through before doing them. Further evidence is that I later found the bible verse from Isaiah (above) when I was messing around on YouTube in search of a video for the old hymn, “In the Garden (He Walks With Me).”

So, next time you feel compelled to do something that doesn’t seem to make sense at first, still yourself and listen. God has a plan that’s better than yours.

How does God talk to you?