"How will I know God’s voice? How will I know if I’m hearing God and not just making it up?" Isn’t this the question of every sincere heart? It just lights up my heart and makes me smile “out loud."

A newborn child recognizes its mother’s (and father’s) voice right from birth, for it has heard that voice for months hidden in the womb. I think it’s like that with us and God. We have been hearing God’s voice all along, for years, quietly in the secret of our heart.

The only problem in this relationship is that we don’t know that we know. Our soul was made for God, with an inner yearning to connect with God in a real way and yet it is difficult to learn to “hear” a divine voice with human ears. The only answer I know for this dilemma is prayer. When we spend time with God regularly we begin to become attuned to God’s voice, and slowly over time we learn the nuance of that voice. Remember that God too wants the connection and wants us to recognize the divine whispers of grace and love.

Sometimes God will use something you just were talking about, a word, song or image that you just encountered, or an experience that gets your attention. I remember talking with a woman in spiritual direction who felt so far from God. After our session she went out to her car and turned on the radio. The song that came on was full of love—she burst into tears as she recognized God coming to her in that song!

There are so many times I hear of how God tenderly finds a way to respond to someone—and they get it! Sometimes the hard part is believing or trusting that it is from God. But if you have been seeking God, or God’s guidance, if you have been asking for help or clarity, get ready to “hear” a response. God will find a way to let you know. It may be subtle at first, but here’s the best I can tell you: There is a quality to God’s voice, an authority in it, that sounds different from something you made up in your head. Spend time with God—don’t do all the talking.

Take time to listen. And slowly, I promise you, you will come to trust a voice greater than your own.