Tuning your Ear to God
Updated: Nov 10, 2022
“Deb has tuned her ear to hear from God.” My husband, Gibson, started using this phrase about me years ago anytime he was in a conversation about hearing from God. I thought it odd and usually deflected his simple description of my spiritual life. But since then, I’ve watched him tune his stereo system many times and now see a connection.
Gibson is an audiophile and before you think that comes with a warning label or a designated area on the city map, let me explain. His background is in engineering and his passion is music. By combining those two gifts, he has been able to build a stereo system where each component is positioned for maximum audio listening quality. He is constantly tinkering with pieces and placement for a better bass sound or a sharper horn section. Sometimes after moving everything around, he has to do a full ‘tuning session’ which requires no interfering sounds and is usually a good time for me to get out of the house.
So the analogy with my hearing from God follows easily. If I position myself daily (spiritual rhythms and practices) and use every component (mind, body, soul), I should be able to clearly hear from God. But life happens and sometimes my body is not in sync: think sleepless nights, illness or just too much sugar. Occasionally my mind is not working at its best because of too many projects, a busy season, or competing demands. And we all know the soul can become easily entangled with past wounds, anxiety, or an unhealthy self-image.
When any or all of those are at play, it’s time to tune our ear to God. Here are some ways that have worked for me when I need a re-tuning:
Tune my sleep. It’s so easy for me to get off-track in this area so I’ve had lots of practice here. Reestablishing a healthy number of sleep hours needed, then setting a time with lights down and devices off is usually my first step. Sometimes I need a hot bath with epsom salts or calming music in my ear to wind down before bed. I always read before sleep, so checking my sources and adding a Psalm before bed helps. Is your sleep out of rhythm? Take some minutes to jot down what is healthy for you and where you might need to tune it for a higher quality of rest.
Tune my calendar. Reviewing the past week’s calendar is always a good tuning for me on Sunday nights before starting the next. Then, I’ve found it helpful to start each day by asking two questions:
God, who is not on my calendar today that you want me to see?
God, please prompt me to cancel anything today not from You, so I will have time for what You want me to hear.
Tune my wounds. We carry so many past wounds and hurts into every day that it becomes radio interference when tuning our ear towards God. In 1 Corinthians 13, this chapter about love starts out with a vivid word picture for us:
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
When I identify one of these wounds is bringing a clanging cymbal into my hearing, it usually calls me to repentance and forgiveness. Taking that simple step of repenting (telling God I am sorry and will turn) then forgiving (either in prayer or in person), goes a long way towards removing the noise.
By taking some time to tune my components of mind, body, and soul, I am now better positioned to hear clearly from God. And just to be clear, He is ready to speak to us at any moment. It is His greatest desire! Can you imagine how jazzed He is to be in relationship with His kids and having regular conversations? I just want to remove any distractions or obstacles, because when I hear His voice, I want to hear the piano trills AND the horns section.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20 ESV