Do you struggle to relate to an invisible God, or wonder if it’s possible to hear His voice? If so, then read on, for this was my story!!
In this article I will share the unexpected key that changed everything – and transformed my relationship with God!
A God given disparity
I am unusual in that I have been given an insatiable desire to connect with God and hear His voice, but with no special gifting to be able to do this. I think God must have had a sense of humour when He designed this situation, although I haven’t always appreciated the joke. However this disparity has caused me to press forward with all my determination to learn to hear God, and to not give up on this quest. My hunger to know God has outweighed the setbacks and this is the reason that I have a story to tell today.
I can now honestly say that I do have a real relationship with God and am actually pretty good at hearing Him, but I have pushed through many doubts and difficulties to get to this place. So I share my story for those of you with similar struggles to give you hope, that if I can make this journey, then so can you! I believe that absolutely everyone can learn to hear God.
The story begins
My story begins when I was eleven years old, and my mum, who was a wise lady, asked me to give church youth group a try. She said I had to go just once and after that it was up to me whether I went or not. At that point I made my own decision that if God was real, I needed to know. I felt it was the most important question I could ever address, because the answer would define my whole view of the world.
While I was at youth group I heard other children talking about how Jesus was their friend, and of always being aware of Him with them. I realised that knowing God as a friend was what I wanted more then anything else, so I prayed a prayer to ask Jesus into my life. I was expecting something monumental to happen, but I didn’t really experience anything much. However, despite being slightly disappointed, I chose to believe that something significant had happened.
This became the story of my life. For many years I didn’t have any significant experience of God that I could really point to. During my teenage years I researched evidence for the existence of God, Jesus, the resurrection, and all the important truths of the Christian faith. I didn’t want to believe something just for the sake of it, I only wanted to believe it if it was really true. I kept coming to the same conclusion: Intellectually the evidence stacked up. So why then couldn’t I connect with this God?
I thought, “If God is real and loves us, then how come so many people struggle to find Him, or have any convincing experience of Him at all?” It didn’t make sense. How can you have a relationship with a God who you can’t see or hear?
While I was at university I had some wonderful Christian friends who all seemed to hear from God pretty well, so eventually I came to the conclusion that it was just me. I thought I must be just particularly bad at it, but I wasn’t very happy about the situation, and I didn’t give up pursuing Him.
Living the Christian life
I pretty much fell into the routine that many Christians follow. I came to love the bible, because it seemed to be the only way for me to have a hope of hearing from God. I was good at studying the bible and was able to relate it to my life, so I did well in the church setting, and I was able to encounter God through its pages. I love how God meets me when I read the bible with Him, and doing so has given me a great foundation for everything else that followed.
I became involved in church leadership, and I did definitely have a good relationship with God, but not the ‘face to face’ type of relationship that I read about in the bible and longed for.
The surprising discovery of dreams!
It was at that point of my life, after I had been a Christian for over 25 years, that I came across the late John Paul Jackson at Detling, a local Christian conference, and I heard him mention dream interpretation in one of his talks. My ears pricked up, because I have always been a vivid dreamer, so I decided to check out his teaching and do some of his courses. You can read what happened in my article ‘Put to the test: Are my dreams from God?’.
The end result was that I realised that God was actually speaking to me through my dreams. More than that, He was actually meeting me in my dreams and having conversations with me! To think that I had missed this important point all these years! To think that God was speaking to me all the time through my dreams and I never knew it!
That was a major turning point in my life. As I began to understand my dreams, I started to see that they were giving me insight and clarity about my life. I found that I now had personal guidance and direction through them, and insight into my purpose and destiny.
I can remember the excitement of finally having something more tailored to my personal situation which I could relate to specific areas of my life. This was particularly helpful in areas where there was no definite guidance about in it the bible, such as whether to leave my job or stay in it, for example. It was the Spirit-led guidance that I had always sought. I was hooked!
As time went on, my daily time with God journaling and praying over my dreams became something I looked forward to. I started to connect with God’s heart as I now saw my life more from His perspective. I began to understand at a deep level how He feels about me, and how much He loves me. I started to see that the God I read about in the bible is the same God speaking to me night after night in my dreams, but in a much more personal and specific way. I finally felt close to God.
In my opinion, the foundation of learning to hear God through the bible, combined with the more personal aspect of understanding dreams, has been a powerful combination for me, and one has helped the other. It is like the ‘Word and Spirit’ combination that Christians often aim for.
I have now been a follower of Jesus for around 40 years. As I reflect on that time, I can see that understanding dreams was actually just a starting point to greater intimacy with God. It was the doorway to me learning to hear God through many different ways. It was as though my eyes were opened to God’s symbolic language and it has led to so much more than just dreams. I can see His heart speaking through everyday events such as things I see around me, artwork, films, news headlines, my imagination and so much more.
To be perfectly honest, it has not all been easy. Understanding dreams has meant taking time to learn a new language; the biblical language of symbols and metaphors. It has taken hours of journaling, praying over, and reviewing my dreams, not to mention getting up in the night and early in the morning to write them down. But I love it! As time has gone by, God and I have developed an ongoing conversation and personal language through them.
I still do not think that I have any special gifting in the area of the prophetic and hearing God, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hear from God. Actually I CAN hear from God pretty well, and I AM usually able to perceive His heart and voice in situations.
If you know me, you might think that I do have a prophetic spiritual gift, and indeed many have said as much to me, but I know that it is just because I have pursued my relationship with God and am always tuning into His voice. It is my greatest joy when I perceive God’s perspective in a situation. Most of all, I have a friendship with God, which was the desire that led me to follow Jesus in the first place.
If you feel you can’t hear from God very well, don’t be content with that situation, because it can change. Don’t give up pursuing and seeking to know God.
You might find that understanding your dreams is one of the keys to unlocking a deeper relationship with Him.
If my story resonates with you, and you want to learn to understand your dreams, don’t leave it for 25 years like I did. Don’t delay, start the journey today!
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