Even the hurtful, painful, horrible stuff. It’s crucially important to internalize this rule, because otherwise you’ll keep getting completely the wrong end of the stick, and could believe that God hates you or is punishing you, when you experience the difficulties and the challenges that we all inevitably face at some point in life.
God loves every single one of us unconditionally (yes, even Jack the Ripper). Everything He’s doing, all the messages He’s sending us to work on ourselves, love ourselves more, accept ourselves, fix ourselves, change something that’s holding us back in life or preventing us from being happy being ourselves or doing what we’re meant to be doing in the world – it’s all designed to ultimately help us achieve our greatness.
Is it easy to go through that stuff? Heck no! Would we prefer the easy, comfortable life? Heck, yes!
But then we’d be missing the whole point of being alive.
The point of being alive
The point of being alive is to grow spiritually, work on our negative character traits, and become the amazing, loving, giving, kind, compassionate people that every single one of us can be. And then to go on to build the way in our own unique way, that no-one else can do.
When we forget this stuff (or never knew it…) or get side-tracked by earning more money or buying more stuff, or start wasting our lives and talents, God often sends us a wake-up call to bring us back in line. Depending on how far we’ve gone away from living the life we were designed to live, and how stubborn we are about getting the message, that wake-up call can be pretty painful at times.
But the good news is that God always starts small – if we learn to spot the clues in the small issues and challenges He’s sending us, He doesn’t need to send us anything more painful or scary.
The other good news is that even if we’re facing the most difficult challenges, God can and often does, still turn everything around in a heartbeat. The key is to not fall into despair, and to do our best to believe that whatever we’re going through is for our ultimate good, and not meaningless or random.
Listen to God Rule 3: Everything contains a message.
When I say ‘everything’, I mean absolutely everything. That conversation you overheard on the bus; that bizarre thought that popped into your head; that email you just got sent; the strange supper your spouse decides to serve you; your kid’s temper tantrum – it’s all just a message for us to try to work out.
A famous Jewish mystic who lived around 300 years’ ago, called the Baal Shem Tov, (or BESHT for short) taught that the whole world is a mirror.
Whatever you see in other people, whatever is bothering you about your family, friends or neighbours, in some way and on some level, you have the same issue. Just we can’t spot it in ourselves, so God sends us other people to show us how horrible it is when we push in online, act thoughtlessly, have a rage fit at someone else, or hurt others in some way.
So another key way to ‘listen’ to God is to see how the people around you are acting, and whether you like it – because they are broadly just mirroring you back to yourself.
Listen to God Rule 4: Talk TO God (not AT Him...)
By talking to God, I mean take the time to actually have a conversation with Him, and not just to say a 5 second prayer that He should help you to win the lottery this week, etc. That’s not talking to God, that’s talking at Him.
The difference is profound.
When you talk to God, you can also ask Him to tell you what message He’s trying to send you – and if you keep at it, you will eventually start to work it out. It gets easier and easier, with practice.
If you haven't already, you can download a free guide to talking (and listening…) to God, at the following link:
Talk to God Free eBook
Good luck! And I guarantee that if you’re sincere about listening to God, and the messages He’s trying to give you about what to work on, fix and change, sooner or later you will definitely be able to do it.