Only One Voice

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My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27

In the long, narrow room, two rows of yoga mats face each other, covering most of the darkly polished wooden floor. With dim lighting, whispered voices and lingering heat generated from the previous class, the room wraps me in a tranquil warmth.
Sitting cross-legged on the mat, eyes closed, the instructor leads us through the opening chant of OM. She tells us we should “feel free to listen” if we’re not comfortable participating.
I listen.
I’m always struck by the sound of this syllable produced in unison. The blend of multiple timbres reaches deep inside me, mysterious and soothing.
My attention instantly gravitates toward the lower frequencies of the male voices, however, as they balance and complete the harmonics.
It’s so easy to listen to a voice that stands out from the rest.
That’s how I want to hear God’s voice everyday.
I’m not suggesting God’s voice is singularly male, but instead that it can be more easily identifiable than the rest of the voices that clamor for our attention.
Everyday we listen to many voices that influence our thinking, feelings and actions.
There’s the voice of our boss, expressing expectations, demands and requests.
There are the voices of our friends that share their perspectives on life, sometimes broadening our own.
There are the voices of our family that communicate hopes, dreams, wishes and frustrations as we do life with them.
There are the voices of strangers when we turn on the TV or radio and listen to our culture telling us what to value and believe.
And then of course, there are the internal voices. I don’t mean the kind that require a doctor’s attention. I’m talking about the voices that we tuck away because we know not to give them too much power in our lives.
The voices that remind us of old shames and shortcomings, that bubble back up to the surface whenever triggered by a memory or circumstance.
Or the voice of regret for mistakes made, or opportunities we were too afraid to take.
Or the voice that questions our motives, feelings or rights, whenever we are lacking confidence.
So many voices.
But it’s God’s voice that matters most.
So how can we hear it above the noise?
Here are some ideas:
1. Pray to hear God
First, connect with God through prayer. With gratitude and humility, I let God know I’m willing and ready to listen.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1 John 5:14

2. Be still and quiet.
Did you ever realize how loud a background noise was only AFTER it turned off? That’s what our rushed and busy lives are like everyday; we forget what silence is like. We must make time to sit quietly, without planning or ruminating. When we do this, it can help clear our minds and calm our hearts. An open and receptive heart is conducive to hearing God’s voice.
Be still and know that I am God!
Psalm 46:10

3. Read the bible
God speaks to us through His Word. Sometimes scripture is difficult to understand, but even in the midst of a confusing passage, what we need to hear often jumps out. Pay attention to what verses feel personal. They probably are.
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

4. Listen to the small voice
Sometimes I just feel whether a decision is the right or wrong one. Does this happen to you? Whether it’s something I’ve thought, said or done, there is often an underlying comfort or unease that accompanies it. God sends His Holy Spirit to be our guide and helper in all things, and often it prompts these feelings of confidence or uncertainty.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
Isaiah 30:21

5. Talk with other believers.
God can speak to us through others. Sometimes when I am struggling with an issue, I talk with the godly women in my life whose wise words are steeped in grace.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Proverbs 31:26

In this final week before Christmas, our own thoughts can easily be drowned out by the endless loop of Christmas music, and the to-do lists we rehearse while we run from shop to shop.
But let’s make some time to listen for the only voice that matters. The one voice that stands out.
Scripture for Reflection
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.
Job 37:5
Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
John 8:47
Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant…
Isaiah 55:3
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

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