My friendship with the Holy Spirit began when I was a teenager. Before that, I knew Jesus as my Savior but not as my friend.
At the time I met the Holy Spirit, my life had been turned upside down, inside out. My parents divorced, and my mom remarried: from Baptist to Pentecostal, from severe abuse to a new man in the house.
I quit high school my freshman year because of health issues yet found myself forced to return to school, spending most of the first few months of my sophomore year in the nurse’s office. In this time frame, Holy Spirit began this relationship with me.
In the beginning, He used new friends, youth pastors, moves from state to state, strong impressions, and His Word to lead me. Like most people, when I would feel like I should do something He was leading me to do, I would pray prayers like, “If you really want me to do this, Lord, make all the stoplights green.” And He would honor those prayers and lead me through those childlike requests. Yes, I really did pray that prayer when I was taking my first teaching job, and yes, every light for miles was green.
It was in the middle of a very long season of inner-healing counseling, though, that I really began to mature in my walking with Him because, without Him, I would have fully sunk into the murky depths of depression and anxiety. He became my life-line, my best friend. Truly, during the darkest times of my life, I heard His voice in my heart and saw images of Him coming into the middle of my abuse that completely rocked me, transforming the way I saw Him, others, and myself.
The process was such that I would never wish on any enemy, yet on this side of it, I would not trade the relationship I gained with God for anything. In the moments of our lives when it is darkest, He always comes to our rescue. I’ve learned to ask the questions when hard times hit: “What do you want me to know about You, about me, about this situation?”
Now, my friendship with Him is moment by moment. He’s involved in, well, everything I do, in my thoughts, in my decisions, in everything. Do I miss hearing Him sometimes? Sure. Or misunderstand things? Often. Do I ever doubt what I’m hearing in my heart, like is this just me talking to myself, making this up? Absolutely. Until He faithfully confirms it in ways I could never make up.
He is God. I am not. And trying to understand God is like trying to understand the cosmos except more inconceivable because He created it. So it’s more a matter of me listening the best I can and following His lead.
I know most people are at this point wondering, “Well, what about me?” Some even may doubt the existence of such a God who would want to actually have a relationship with the created. Many struggle with statements, like “I don’t hear God” or “He doesn’t care about me like that.” But I’m here to tell you affirmatively He most certainly does desire a deep friendship with each of His children, and you can hear from Him. The Bible is clear about that.
My sheep hear my voice. I call them by name, and lead them out… The sheep follow Me, for they know My voice (John 10:3-5, paraphrase).
First of all, I need to believe that God has given me the ability to hear Him.
Sometimes, that may look like a quiet whisper in my mind. Sometimes, I may pick up my Bible and the pages fall to the verse that is perfect for my day. Maybe it’s strolling through the woods on a fall afternoon and Him speaking through the environment. He can speak through people, animals, nature, artistic expression, music, books, etc.. He is a very creative God and knows exactly how to talk to you best if you are listening.
Pay attention. Slow down. Expect Him to speak to you. He will.
How do I know it’s Him? Well, for one thing, it lines up with His character. For example, the Holy Spirit will never tell you to lie or cheat or go against the law of love because He is love. Love is patient, kind, gentle, etc…
It won’t go against His Word. He won’t tell someone to have an affair because that violates His word and His character.
It will lead you closer to Him. It won’t push you away from God. Hearing Him draws you near. You become more in love with God than ever.
Having God involved in my everyday life is an adventure. I don’t know how He will capture my attention today, speaking His love to me, but He will. For certain, the God of the universe longs to have a friendship with you. He is speaking. Will you listen?
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on wholeheartedwomen.org
Featured Image by Quentin Keller