‘Am I Listening Well?’ – How to Discern When God is Speaking

Have you ever asked God for clarity or guidance on something but weren’t really sure how you would hear His reply? Diana Romero, CEO, Integrated Purpose Management LLC, shares how to listen well when you’re talking with God and how to open your heart to trust that He is leading your decision.

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Am I listening well, is a question I have often asked when I want to be sure I am hearing from God. Maybe you have asked this also. How do we listen well?

I love going to the ocean. Walking along the beach at dusk listening to the waves as they crash to the shore is so calming to me. I can just imagine myself walking and lowering my shoulders as they finally relax and let go of the struggles of this world. When I go on vacation, I enjoy going shopping around the beach to pick up a souvenir to remind me of my trip. A great souvenir from the beach is a seashell. The one that comes to mind is the conch shell. What I love about conch shells is when you get back home and you have had a particularly rough day, you can pick up that shell, get in a quiet place, put it to your ear, quiet your mind, and once again be taken back to the sound of the sea crashing upon the shore. A feeling of peace can be restored just by connecting with the sound of the ocean.

To understand if we are listening well, we must first get into a state of listening. We must get away from the busy loud world and have a time of stillness to hear God.

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long-loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”

Psalm 46:10 (MSG)

To connect with God, we have to lovingly get out of the traffic of our lives and look for Him. We can connect with God by stilling ourselves and listening, like we connect with the ocean by putting our ear close to the seashell. 

I used to travel a lot for work, and there were times in the middle of layovers in an airport I would put on my headphones, quiet my mind, and look for Him. Even though there were people all around me, I would still my mind and body, put this invisible bubble around me and listen for Him to speak to me. Sometimes I heard Him and sometimes I didn’t, but just stilling myself gave God a pathway. Sometimes I would hear Him later when I least expected it. It’s like opening a window in the spring, you never know exactly when the breeze will blow on your skin but because the window is open it is always possible.

Just like the conch shell carries a sound like the ocean with it where ever it goes, we too carry a part of God everywhere we go. As Christians, we carry the Holy Spirit. Because we have the Spirit of God within us, it allows us to tap into the voice of God. After Jesus’ resurrection and just before He returned to heaven, He told His disciples He was sending an Advocate, a Spirit of truth.

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

John 16:13 (NKJV)

The conch shell resonates the sound of the ocean just as the Holy Spirit resonates the voice of God. We can rest assured that God does speak to us and I believe when He knows we are ready to hear, it is just as easy to hear Him, as it is to hear a sound like the ocean when we put a sea shell close to our ear.

So, we must still ourselves, lovingly look for Him and know that God will speak, but how will we know if we truly hear Him?

I don’t believe God makes it hard for us to hear Him. I think we second guess ourselves asking if we really are hearing Him. We have this fear of making a mistake and going down a wrong path.

What has helped me is to keep a journal. I write down my conversations with God. I have been doing this for almost 30 years now and I’m amazed when I look back and see that I really was hearing Him. The fact that I desired to do His will was the key.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 37: 4-5 (NKJV)

When we delight in God and seek Him, He aligns our desires with His desires. When we are committed to Him, He delights in helping us along our way. God doesn’t want it to be hard for us to hear and follow Him. He wants us to succeed. He wants us to have a relationship with Him. Conversing with Him builds that relationship. So, write down what you believe He is saying to you and over time go back to see how well you heard. This will help teach you when you are hearing His voice.

God also made each of us unique and I believe He uniquely speaks to us. What do I mean by this? For instance, I love numbers. I’m a data driven person. I have a favorite number. So often God speaks to me in numbers. Once when I made a decision for a big move for my family due to work, I told God I just needed assurance that I was doing the right thing. So, I started my new job while I was still transitioning with the sale of our home and buying a new home in our new location. When I was given my new office phone number, the last four numbers ended up being the same as the last four numbers in our new house address. What are the odds of that? For me, I didn’t see it as odd. I believed it was God. It was His way of assuring me that I was on the right path. He knew I would get it, because He made me to love numbers.

Sometimes we have big decisions to make and we feel overwhelmed with answering them alone. This move I just mentioned was one of those times for me. I was reminded by a friend that God has given us direction for times like these.

“Plans succeed through good council; don’t go to war without wise advice.”

Proverbs 20:18 (NLT)

So, at times when we have big decisions to make it is good to seek wise counsel. Before I made my final decision to move, I sought out three different people to hear their counsel. I trusted these people would give me not just good advice but God advice. Be sure you have people in your life that can help you make wise decisions. These people should be those who are dedicated to Christ and you can see from their lives that they have made good and godly decisions.

Listening well does take effort. It is centered in delighting in Him. As we draw close to God, He will draw close to us. God will help you know you are hearing Him. Ask Him to align your desires with His and trust that He is guiding your way.

Diana is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Purpose Management (IPM) LLC, a family owned and operated company. IPM enables you to realize your integrated purpose by providing business management expertise to grow your business, professional coaching to elevate you to your full potential and understanding in communication intelligences to cultivate your professional and personal relationships.

Diana hosts a podcast called The Integrated Life where she encourages her listeners to have a life where they integrate their faith, family and work so they can become whole again. She has a bachelor of science degree in Biology with minor in Chemistry from the University of North Texas and an Executive MBA from Texas A&M, Mays Business School. Diana has over thirty years of experience in the medical device industry with 30 of those years spent at Abbott. She has served in the areas of project/program management, research and development, global quality assurance, regulatory affairs/compliance and executive management.

Diana is a certified Communication IQTM consultant for Life Languages InternationalTM. Diana is a member of the 4word Women Advisory Board and is a servant leader at Elevate Life Church. She is married and has one daughter.