Growing up I was taught that God speaks to us and I believe that with all my heart. Not in a audible, straight forward kind of way but in gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) prods and pushes. It's a deep "feeling", a knowing if you will. Most of the time I believe that when you truly hear from God it will either line up with something you have felt before or something someone has already been speaking to you. I think most often what He speaks are things you just know for a fact isn't something you'd come up with on your own. Maybe because of fear, circumstances, your place in life, your spouse, your children, etc. Whatever it may be there is a reason you wouldn't think or hope for this just out of the blue.
The other thing I was unintentionally "taught" was that my parents heard God long before I did! And so growing up I simply relied on them to hear Him for me. If God told them then so I did......and even though I wanted to hear Him for myself I doubted my ability too. I felt only "grown up's" could hear and I still to this day don't feel like a "grown up" most of the time. So now that it's my time in life to start hearing from God myself I still doubt that I can. Even though I know He speaks to me and has spoken there is still that part of me that is scared maybe I heard wrong, ya know? What if I say God told me and then it never happens? Or what if I say God told me and then I'm wrong? What if those I'm counting on to help me know it's really God don't back me up or acknowledge that I did hear? What if, what if?
Back in January of this year I heard God. I know I did. This time I didn't doubt I did but I was scared to hear what I heard to be honest. I knew it didn't line up with my plans for life (what few I have!) or my husband's plans for life (he has LOTS!). It went against who I thought I was or who I thought I wanted to be. It was something I had NEVER ever thought about until that moment when suddenly it seemed to drop into my heart with such weight that it took my breath away. Around that time, through my dad, I came across the book Visioneering by Andy Stanley. I was actually going through the book typing up some highlighted notes for my Dad because he was teaching a class using the book and had bullet pointed some notes for himself. Just the bits and pieces I read rang so true to my heart and spirit at that moment that I started reading the whole book. Yes, that was back in January and I still haven't finished the book. Mainly because it's a lot for me to take in and I've done a lot of praying and meditating in between chapters. I stopped at the point that I feel I'm in with my "vision" and I do hope to finish it soon. That book has helped me make sure my vision wasn't really "my" vision but God's vision for me.
To be honest I have tried to figure it out - tried to put it all in order. How it could or would or should happen. So far none of that seems to be how God wants it to happen. I've wracked my brain trying to figure out how to convince those that need convincing that this is from God!!! I guess I thought if I said "God told me..." then they'd believe and go along too. But that's not the case and Visioneering talks about this. It's helped me hold on and keep the faith and know that when the time is right these things will fall into place.
There is hardly a moment that goes by now that I don't think about this, ponder it, pray about it, cry out to God about it, envision it. It is so strong in my heart that often I feel almost burdened by it. There are times I've wanted to share it with people just so someone else could share the "burden" of it with me but again Visioneering has taught me that if your vision is shared with the wrong people at the wrong time it can destroy it and I don't want that to happen. But the weight of it causes me to get down sometimes, not depressed - not at all. But the waiting is so hard for me. I want to move now, I want to plan and prepare, I want to share it. Waiting is where I'm at though and wait I shall.
There are times that I almost feel guilty about this vision, about how is might alter our lives, alter lives around us. But then to me the good outweighs the "bad". I feel like missing out on this would be something I'd regret for the rest of my life and I do not want regrets if I can help it. I often think to myself that we are not where we want to be in life but then maybe we are where God wants us for the time being? Maybe He's teaching us something? Preparing us for something bigger and better. Something beyond what we could plan or envision for ourselves. I hold onto that hope. I don't ever want to force my vision to happen especially when it doesn't involve just me. I hope & pray for the timing to be right, for the hearts of those that will be needed to be right, that the path will be clear and that in the end this vision will be joy, hope, love and peace.
Don't doubt your ability to hear from God. He speaks if we are willing to listen despite ourselves. He has plans for us much bigger then we can fathom for ourselves. Different then we plan for ourselves but always better!
If you have a vision that has found it's way into your heart I would highly recommend reading Visioneering by Andy Stanley. It will guide and encourage you as you figure out exactly how to walk in and build your vision!