When I was younger, God was trying to talk to me, but I was too busy “doing it my way.” “My way” caused me several difficult and painful lessons. Now that I am “seasoned” and hopefully, spiritually awake, I want my lessons to be easier. I now choose to ask God for guidance and trust that he has my best interest at heart. Seeking and listening to his guidance can make life much easier along the way.
The difference between “God’s Way” or “My Way,” is the difference between easy and challenging. When we follow God’s advice, doors open in front of us and the path is easy. When we want what we want, and the doors close in front of us, and we get out a stick of dynamite and try to blow the door open, we can make life difficult for ourselves.

Seeking God’s advice is a matter of asking and then learning how God talks to his children on earth. God’s language with his children on earth is found in: dreams, no answer is an answer, gut feelings, three similar messages in a short amount of time, coincidence, or doors opening in front of you (the path is easy). Also, Native American Spirituality believes that God sends animals as messengers. The following are some examples of “how to listen for God’s answers for our questions:”

1. Dreams—God can give us a message in a dream. Put a piece of paper or notebook by your bed so you can write the dream down before getting out of bed. If you get out of bed before jotting the big pieces of the dream down, you can forget what the dream was about. If you wake up with a dream and roll over and forget the dream, roll back to the position you were lying in when you awakened. Close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, and lie still for a few minutes. This can help you recall the dream.

Here is an example of God speaking through a dream: In 1996 I wanted to know if I should pay a sizeable amount of money for some post-graduate training. I awakened in the middle of the night because I thought I heard the front door opening. I heard the door open, sat up in bed, and saw in my mind a huge rounded walnut door with white mist around it, and heard a voice say, “This is the door of opportunity; walk through it.” Needless to say, that day I filled out the application and sent in the deposit for the post-graduate training. When I attended the training, I did not want to come home because I enjoyed and identified with the research and information presented. The feeling of “finding home” was confirmation that I had attended exactly the right seminar.

2. No answer is an answer. It means, either “no, not that way” or “no, not that way right now.” For example, praying for a “certain someone” to fall in love with me never materialized. Today, I have been blessed to observe, from a distance, his relationship with someone else. I thank God that God did not give me what I thought I wanted. God loves you, he wants the best for you, and he knows what is best for you. Our opportunity is to listen and obey.

3. Gut feeling—having that “knowingness” or “intuition” of the answer is God talking to you through your gut.
Here is an example of God speaking through a gut feeling: For about 4 months prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, I had the feeling that I should go to my stockbroker and have him turn some of my investments into cash. The feeling would not go away. So finally, weeks before 9/11, I went to my stockbroker. He suggested that I might not want to cash in some of my investments. I had him do it anyway. After 9/11 he told me that my feeling was very smart and that one other person had come to his agency and had some of his investments turned into cash. Spiritual psychologists are invested in listening to their gut feelings.

4. Three messages in a short amount of time about an issue that you are dealing with is God’s way of encouraging you to take action:

When I was deciding to quit my full time regular paycheck job for self-employment, I was in a bookstore with two girlfriends and we were discussing my fear of being able to pay my bills. A 19-year-old cashier overheard the conversation, and commented that I “should jump and assume that the universe was going to provide the net.” Amazed, I asked the cashier how old he was and where he had heard that phrase, to which he said, “Every one I know believes that.” I said, “I say that to my clients all the time.” To which the 19-year-old said, “Ma’am, you should practice what you preach.” Later that week, I heard the same phrase on the radio and got a piece of mail that basically said the same thing. I quit my full-time regular paycheck job and I now have a successful home business.

5. Another example of three messages, in a short amount of time confirms God’s advice:

About 3 months before my car lease ended, I asked God which car he wanted me to lease. On a Sunday, when there were no salesmen around, I walked around and looked at new cars. In one particular car lot, a retired husband and wife were doing the same. The man asked if that white car was mine and I stated, “Yes.” The man asked, “Do you like your car?” “I don’t like the gas mileage,” I said. The gentleman said that he and his wife were going to get their third Ford Escape and they loved that car - it had good gas mileage and rode well. Then he said, “Walk down the end of this isle and look at the Escape on the end. It is loaded. You can get the Ford Escape loaded for about what this mid-priced white SUV costs.&rdqul; Several weeks later, I was having lunch with a girlfriend and noticed that she was driving a Ford Escape. When I inquired about the car, my girlfriend told me that it was her second Escape and that she loved it. Several weeks later, I was in a store and there was a Ford Escape parked outside. There was only one woman in the store so I asked the other customer if that was her Ford Escape. You guessed it, the store customer loved the Escape SUV.

Needless to say, I leased the Ford Escape—loaded! When the salesman gave me the card with the door keypad code, it was my birth date (the date I had already planned to code into the keypad)! I had done my homework about the price of the car. I discovered on the Internet that Ford was giving $1,500 off on a lease of a Ford Escape and I had received a flyer in the mail that gave me an extra $1,000 incentive for leasing a Ford product, for a total of $2,500 off!

When it is what God wants for you, he opens doors in front of you—the transaction went smoothly and I love my new Ford Escape.

6. Coincidence is an accidental sequence of events that appear to have a casual relationship. Sometimes God speaks to us through coincidences.

When I was getting a divorce and was trying to sell our family home, I looked at a condo on the west side of town. My realtor girlfriend said that it was a good deal, on a good street, and that my furniture would fit. I did not really like it, except for the woods behind the condo. The family home did not sell and the condo sold to someone else. A year went by and the home in the country sold and the condo came for sale again at the exact same time. But, I did not want to live on that side of town. I thought I wanted to live on the south side of town where there was a walking path for my big Labrador. My realtor girlfriend told me that she would not sell me a condo in the complex I was interested in because the condos were not built well. So, I found another realtor girlfriend; found a condo I liked; took a contractor to look at the second condo and found that the outside bedroom wall had sunk, which was the reason why the master bedroom bed looked like it was going downhill. Needless to say, I went back to the first realtor and looked at the original condo that I had looked at one year before. I suddenly realized that the original condo had come for sale again, just when the family home sold. This made me realize that God wanted me to look at that particular condo again.

Thankfully, I listened to the coincidence that the condo came for sale again at the exact same time that the family home sold. I love my condo and I have lived in it now for 17 years. I have a successful home business and the location of my condo is very conducive to my business. Thankfully, I listened to God who was trying to support me in my future business that I did not know I was going to have!

7. In Native American Spirituality, the Native Americans believe that God uses animals to give us messages. In the book, ANIMAL SPEAKS by Ted Andrews, the author lists what different animals mean to Native Americans. The great Blue Heron relates to “aggressive self-determination and self-reliance. But, if the Animal Speaks’ book explanation of an animal does not make sense to you in the context of your encounter, ask yourself, ‘What is the animal doing? What is its behavior saying?“ In my case, the animal was “scanning the ocean, and paying attention to the horizon.” The Blue Heron was not fishing it was watching the ocean and the horizon and the weather!

In November 2003, I was vacationing on Anna Marie Island, Florida. The house we were renting had a deck overlooking the 7 Mile Bridge from Tampa. The first day we were out on the deck, a Blue Heron bird was on the gutter of the house next door. The Blue Heron stayed on the gutter for a long time. My friend took a picture of the bird scanning the ocean—not fishing—just scanning the horizon. The next day, the bird was back and stayed on the gutter of the house next door while we were on the deck. The day after that, the Blue Heron sat on the deck while we looked through a picture window at the bird. It was cold and windy outside, so we did not go out on the deck that day. The day before we were to leave Anna Marie Island, the Blue Heron was on our deck looking in the window at us. The bird was not afraid of us and just stared at us through the window glass. I knew the bird was trying to tell us something. A few minutes later we were watching the weather forecast on TV and the forecast was for a heavy storm for that night and the next day.

We decided to leave the island a day early and travel to Orlando to stay all night and then drive back to Tampa to fly home two days later. As we were leaving Anna Marie Island, we stopped at a beach restaurant to buy a T-shirt. We heard a waiter tell the staff that they needed to move the beach party that was planned for that night inside because “it was supposed to be bad weather.” After we returned to Illinois, my friend received the security deposit from the leasing agent with a note that stated, “You did the right thing by leaving a day early. We had really bad weather after you left—it got very ugly here.” The great Blue Heron was a messenger from God about bad weather that was coming to the Island.

When we were born, God placed a “Global Positioning System” on our Hard Drive. That positioning system is His will for us. We all have this gift. God wants the best for us. We have the ability to tap into having a conversation with God by listening to our intuition and dreams. The opportunity is to “wake up” and access this gift to guide us along our life’s journey. Happy discernment.