07 Aug Hearing God’s Voice for the Thinkers
Recently I read a book for my doctoral studies which confirmed my suspicions about the influence of personality on our spiritual experiences. The book is titled When God Talks back and is written by an anthropologist called Tanya Luhrmann. In her studies, she immersed herself in the life of a Vineyard church in the US for a year, observing and studying their prayer and worship practises. One of the things that came out of her research was a correlation between certain psychological attributes and the way spiritual phenomena is experienced. In other words, those who struggled to hear God’s voice had a different psychological make-up compared to those who didn’t. Mark Virker wrote about this too in his book Dialogue with God. It seems that when it comes to hearing God’s voice, certain personality types have an advantage.
If I was to participate in her experiment, I’m pretty sure which category I would find myself in. I’ve always found sensing the spiritual realm a bit of a challenge. Compared to a number of my friends, I’m the slow one to pick up on spiritual atmospheres. I’m the one who’s more analysing than sensing; more thinking than intuiting (For those of you who are familiar with the Myer’s Briggs personality tests, I’m a high ’T’ and ’S’!) Luhrmann’s research seems to show there’s a good reason for my struggle and it’s connected to the way I was created. Perhaps you can relate! From my travels around different churches across the country and overseas, I know I’m not the only one. A lot of people who struggle to hear God’s voice seem to be wired that way. Some might even say that men more than women fit into this category.
Hard of Hearing?
So how does God get his message through to people like us? Does being born with certain wiring in the brain mean that we miss out on knowing God through hearing his voice for ourselves? Can this treasure of the Holy Spirit only be accessed by those who are specially geared for it?
That kind of conclusion is not at all consistent with a God who wants to reveal himself to each one of us and who promised that all could hear his voice through prophecy and dreams and visions; sons and daughters, young and old, male and female (Acts 2:16,17).
God Finds a Way
In my own journey, I’ve discovered that God is able to get around it – he finds ways to bypass the idiosyncrasies of our nature and get his message across. One of those ways is through dreams and visions. Speaking to us while we’re asleep means that our conscious minds are effectively switched off and God can get our full attention. While the mind is at rest, the spirit is open and ready to receive. Another way is through prophecy. Using other people to pass on his messages means that there is an objective way to confirm that what we’re hearing is from God (1 Corinthians 14:25).
“We need to rely more on God’s ability to speak than our ability to hear.”
Our personalities are in no way a barrier for God. Those who may not be as psychologically attuned as others, are never held back. If you’re a thinker more than a ‘feeler’, be encouraged! All we have to do is make a decision to listen. We need to rely more on God’s ability to speak than our ability to hear. As the One who has all possible modes of communication at his fingertips, he is well able to get his message through.
Have you found it difficult to hear God’s voice? How has God managed to get through? Share below:
Learn more: Our CD series: The Other Side of the Conversation will equip you to recognise God’s voice in a biblically sound and practical way.