Most of us are filled with dreams. But it’s only when we align those dreams with God’s will that we can discern our true calling. This requires ebbing and flowing with the Father’s heartbeat desire for your life and being so intricately and intimately connected to Him that you know His voice and respond in faith. This necessary alignment is what your dreams rise and fall on—the beginning and end to your calling.
My journey to this realization began with three simple words in the New Testament: Here I am. God had interrupted Saul’s life (and plans) on the road to Damascus and he chose the disciple Ananias to be His hands in this great shift in Saul’s life. When his name was called, Ananias stepped forward in faith and obedience to meet God in His redemptive plan for Saul to become the great apostle, Paul.
But Ananias wasn’t the only one. Five other men said the exact same phrase when their name was called: Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, and Isaiah. These simple three words “here I am” became an anthem for stepping into one’s calling. To utter these words in the Bible represented a great step of faith that forever changed the person, their family, and our history.
But these men were not superheroes. They were ordinary people called to extraordinary purposes. People who had aligned their heart with His mission and were used for Kingdom purposes. Sure—fear, insecurity, and doubt beckoned them to stay put but they couldn’t do that any more than they could turn their back on God. It was necessary for them to step out because their love for God compelled them to obedience.
However, these men had failed quite a bit before their definitive “here I am” moment. They had allowed struggles, doubts, and fears to get in the way of God’s calling. They had a vision for their life that initially looked different than God’s.
Yet, through the messes and failures, each learned to lay down his vision and dream for God’s. Each one learned obedience and faith, and great things happened. They also learned one other vital lesson: how to hear God’s voice.
Stepping confidently into your calling requires alignment with His vision for your life, but it also requires the ability to first know His voice. Do you crave to know Him and His plan for your life? Tuning into God’s voice is paramount to this desire. It’s necessary to align your dreams with His. But how do you do this when both external distractions and internal voices of fear, doubt, and insecurity plead for your attention? How do you, like Elijah on the mountain, hear His gentle whisper in the chaos of thunderous noise surrounding you?
There are three things you can start doing today to separate His voice from all the other noises in this world:
The Bible is the only definitive word we have from God. Nothing else on this earth communicates His plan for us better.
If you are struggling to identify His voice, the first thing you must do is be in His Word on a regular basis. It’s the best way to understand His thoughts, will, and desires. This is by far the most important thing you can do to cultivate a heart that is after His own.
When you regularly communicate with someone you learn to recognize their voice. I know which of my three brothers is calling me with a simple “hello.” I know my husband’s voice in a crowd and my toddler's cry in a room full of kids. Regular connection has tuned my ear to their voices.
The same happens when you pray. Regular conversation with God, and the act of mindful silence so He can speak in return, will tune your ear to His gentle whisper.
If God is calling you to step out in faith, in even the smallest way, take the step. Perhaps you do and things don’t go as planned —that’s okay. There’s a valuable lesson to be found in the practice. Doing so will allow you to better discern God’s voice and calling on your life. And it’s often in your failures you uncover the greatest lessons.
The more you step out in faith, the more you will feel comfortable with His voice.
This is an excerpt from Here I Am: Responding When God Calls Your Name. Brittany Rust is an author, speaker, and the founder of Truth and Grace Ministries. She lives with her husband, Ryan, and son, Roman, in Castle Rock, Colorado. Learn more at www.brittanyrust.com.