When You Want to Hear God But You Don't Know What to Listen For
By Jamonica Disser
Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Jamonica's Story
Sitting in the front row of my church is one of my favorite places. No one’s head is blocking the screens. The pastors love making eye contact. I can worship unashamedly with arms spread, because no one sits anywhere near me. I think they are afraid of the first two rows of the sanctuary.
My husband, pastor in training, is usually serving throughout the building and my kids vanish to help or sit with friends. It’s just me, myself, and I enjoying worship in the front row.
When the word is really good, after service, I’d often hear of how God spoke to someone with a word. It’s not uncommon given the caliber of deep-in-the-faith warriors we have in our community.
For quite some time, I wondered if there was something wrong with me. My husband hears God speak to him often, even when he isn’t listening and waiting for the word. Even my children have heard God speak to them. I, on the other hand, had barely a word from the Father. I started to doubt that I would ever hear from Him. Perhaps He has nothing to say to me? Maybe I haven’t done enough to deserve to hear from Him?
Self-doubt is a constant companion of mine. My walk in faith has been a slow, sometimes rocky one. I tend to let the sins of my past creep in and chip away at my confidence in Christ. Nothing says progress quite like having your past tossed in your face a few times.
It was during one of my embattled mornings in the front row during worship that I heard it. That small whisper in the back of my mind. At first, like any self-respecting person who doesn’t believe in hearing voices, I ignored it. Surely, my mind is playing tricks on me. After all, I didn’t get much sleep the night before thanks to a restless kiddo with too much on her brain. I continued through worship, sedate, half-awake, writing off the voice as a hallucination due to mom brain.
You see, I had always heard the description of hearing God’s voice as a shout, almost as if He is literally knocking you over with his words. I’d heard those steeped in the faith tell it as hearing from the Father is like being hit in the face with a bucket a water. It’s sudden, almost jarring, and immediately awakening and convicting.
Is it any wonder I didn’t understand what was happening in that moment?
As the last song of the worship set began, a phrase kept repeating in the corner of my mind.
It never climbed above a whisper, but it remained a constant sound, buried behind the lack of sleep and creeping doubts about an idea that came to me in my broken sleep the night before. The whisper of an idea I dismissed as ridiculous, that I couldn’t possibly accomplish, moved closer to the forefront of my mind. The song ended, but my mind remained distracted by this whisper.
Until that point, I never wanted to claim the one thing I always loved doing, so I’d kept my sporadic writing mostly to myself. It was in a conversation with our worship pastor after service that I mentioned the lack of sleep, the dream, and hearing the words, “Write it,” like a broken record during the message.
She looked at me like I was crazy and laughed when I was done. She couldn’t believe I didn’t recognize the whisper for what it was.
The still small, always present, voice of God.
I quickly tried to discount it because I wasn’t quite ready to admit that God could be speaking to me. I wasn’t anything special. Why would He bother? I wasn’t some amazingly prophetic speaker or a prayer warrior that makes demons quake at the sound of my voice. I was simply a woman who dabbled in the written word and taught tiny humans their alphabet.
Oh, how wrong I was! My worship pastor encouraged me to write the drama that I carried in my dreams. That drama in my mind became words on the page. Those words on the page became an actual drama produced by the wonderful members of our church. A drama that touched lives and changed hearts.
A drama that all started with a dream and a whisper.
Now that I know His whisper, I hear His voice often. It’s not every day, but when I need a nudge, an idea, or guidance, I turn to song. I hear Him in song. Listening to worship music on the ride to church, rocking out to it at my desk, hands raised in the middle of church service, God will whisper to me.
It took me a while to realize that He speaks to us all differently.
For some it’s a shout, loud and clear.
For others, a sign mixed into something they see.
But, for me, it’s still a small whisper hidden in the songs that open my heart to Him.
I hear His whispers in the songs.
Photo credit: Wix image.
The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest writer series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.
Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE five-day devotional (45 beautiful pages!) called, “Closer: Five Days to Hearing God Louder.” Each day features teaching on one posture and a guided journaling section to help us practice taking steps toward hearing God louder in our every day.
Learn more about each of these five postures:
1 | Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?
2 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?
3 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?
4 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?
5 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?
New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!
Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens twice a year. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.
Jamonica Disser is an author, speaker, online ministry leader, and encourager. She’s passionate about helping others find joy in life despite the chaos it brings.
Jamonica self-published her first book, a romantic thriller, Anew, in 2018. She has been featured on Foreverymom.com, Thistlewood.com, iMom.com, as a speaker on "The Joy of Laughter" in the Soul Care Summit and "Creating Intimacy" in the Wives of Integrity Conference.
Jamonica spends her days in northwest Indiana keeping up with her pastor husband and her children’s crazy schedules. They share five beautiful kids, two still at home, two amazing grandchildren, and one outstanding rollercoaster of a life together. You can find Jamonica at her blog and on Instagram.