“We like it when things are loud and clear. This is how we like God to communicate with us, and although He does sometimes, He does not all of the time.” Vincent Carpenter //

This Christmas season, we are centering our attention on listening to God. There is so much noise, both external and internal. Not only are there all of the festive sounds of the holiday season, but marketing and ad campaigns are coming at us from every angle, trying to get us to believe that we need to buy more to be happier. There are the voices of extended family and potentially strained relationships. And on top of that, it is so easy to start the comparison game and allow negative voices to captivate our attention just by watching everyone’s highlight reel on social media.

That is why it is so vital that you pause and take time to listen. Give God space to speak into your life, and recognize His voice. Sometimes this can be through a loud and bold declaration like the shepherds experienced when they were told of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:9). However, we also need to pay attention to the soft and subtle suggestions from God, as demonstrated in Elijah’s story (1 Kings 19:12).

“And He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.” 1 Kings 19:11-13

God can definitely be in the wind, the earthquake, the fire, but He chose in that moment to speak in a still, small voice. If we are expecting Him to be loud, then we may miss the very whispers that are supposed to draw us in. When I am close, there is less need to shout.

Right now, take time to ask yourself, who are you listening to today? In this season? What is the primary voice you are hearing? Is it your own voice, telling yourself all that you need to get done? Is it something else, like fear? Or is it the voice of your loving heavenly Father? The easiest path would be for us to assume that we are hearing from God or believe that He is silent when really we may be listening to something we shouldn’t, and He actually is speaking but it may be in a whisper.

It is important to remember that when God whispers, it’s not only for us but for those around us who will be impacted by what we have heard. As you remember to focus on God’s whispers in this season, who is someone around you that could receive encouragement? Listen again, asking the Holy Spirit to put someone on your heart, bringing them to your mind to text or call and share the love that you have just received. Because when God whispers, we want to listen and respond.