How to Hear the Holy Spirit
What if it’s my imagination?
Questions for personal reflection:
When I want the Holy Spirit to direct me, what holds me back? What am I afraid of? How is the Holy Spirit bigger than my fears?
Recall a time when you tried to hear the Holy Spirit and you proceeded forward and it turned out to be a mistake. What did you learn from it? How was this valuable?
For class discussion:
If you can, please share a testimony of how well “just do it” works when the Holy Spirit is involved. Remember, “just do it” might mean “just go ahead and speak up” or conversely “just shut your mouth and don’t speak up yet”.
See what participants are sharing! >> Click here.
L.M. raised a good point:
Over the years, what you said about “timing” I’ve learned to appreciate so much more. Typically I’ve found the energy and my desire pushing me, but I have made some big decisions that I had thought and prayed about, and I really thought I was following God. I’m realizing as I’m writing that I didn’t have the relationship I do today with the Holy Spirit, so I was asking/praying for guidance and direction on the decision.
One of the decisions I really thought was totally God’s will. Everything was so aligned and I am still rather shocked today. What did I miss? How did I think that? How was it not? I think that sense of assurance and then being so wrong has caused me to question more and doubt what I’m hearing, what I’ve learned. Although some decisions still have a time limit in that there is a deadline to respond, I’ve tended to have more of a “don’t do it” for the bigger decisions — less rushing in, more of a “maybe not now” and a waiting. This has been astounding and the Holy Spirit has shown up big time. For the smaller decisions, I do tend to let the energy move me, but I’ve learned from that that if my intent is good and lined up and I’m praying, I’m focused on what I think is the obedience and leave the outcome up to Him.
One of my favorite sayings during the discernment process is, “When in doubt, don’t.” Of course, we have to analyze if there is any fear that makes us doubt, because fear blocks the Spirit’s voice. But if we are in a prayerful, trusting mode, humbly ready to accept anything the Holy Spirit gives us in guidance, then our doubts usually mean that the Lord has not made his will known yet, fully, because it’s not time yet for it. God never ever, and I mean never, withholds his voice from us except when it’s too soon for us to know something.
A caveat to that is: Sometimes he says, “You choose, my child. This is a collaboration. I’m not a dictator. You have multiple good options. Which one do you want? I’ll go along with that and will bless it!”
C.F. asked a question:
I think what holds me back is I am afraid. Afraid of getting out of my comfort zone and going out to do the will of the Lord. I am afraid his decisions might not be so interesting to me or be difficult for me to do. For example, if he wants me to help someone I particularly don’t really like or something like that. That is my problem. I really want to follow the Lord’s will in my life but at the same time I am afraid of where he will lead me.
I need to learn how to let go and ACCEPT. If I would just allow him to overcome my fears, he will definitely lead me to greater heights. He is certainly bigger than anything. But how, Terry? The fear is sometimes enormous. The thing is to just let God take over. That is the difficult part.
You answered your own question! But to let God just take over is indeed the difficult part. Especially because we listen to our fears. Here’s something that helps me: Think of what “fear” spells: False Evidence Appearing Real”. Our fears lie to us. Our fears take a small piece of truth and amplify what might go wrong if God were not in the picture. But we know that God is in the picture, all the way!
So, the first step is to ask the Holy Spirit: “What is the truth that FEAR is hiding?” For example, fear says, “If I visit my sick neighbor who’s in the hospital, I won’t know what to say. Maybe she’ll expect me to come visit her often after she gets home and spend a lot of time with her and cook for her and clean her house, none of which I can fit into my day.” And the Holy Spirit says, “I will give you the words to speak after you arrive in her hospital room. You can trust me, and you can trust your own compassion. And I will never ask you to do more for her back home than what is a well-balanced use of your time.”
The second step is to take action, surrendering to the Lord before fear overtakes the Holy Spirit’s anointing. But build up to the big stuff by surrendering in smaller decisions. For example, when you turn on the television, ask the Holy Spirit to help you choose what to watch. Then choose a program that you know the Lord would approve of because it is wholesome, moral, and doesn’t glorify violence and sex outside of marriage. The more we practice surrendering our plans and preferences to God’s guidance, the easier surrendering becomes.
Session #6 >>>