How to Recognize God's Voice in Your Life|The Holy MessA Big Decision

Shortly before I graduated from high school, I came to an important crossroad, and the decision I made altered the course of my life.

I was all set to attend Concordia University in River Forest, IL the following fall. The paperwork was in, scholarships were earned, and I even had a dorm room assigned.

In the spring of that year, I started dating this cute guy who attended a different college — Concordia University Wisconsin. I really liked him, and he really liked me. He asked me if I would consider switching schools to attend college where he was.

I decided to go for it and switch schools for a guy. I prayed about it, and as I recall I didn’t take very long to make the decision. I felt a strong sense of peace that it was the right thing to do. (And hey, I was young and in love.)

My parents were amazingly supportive, even though it meant losing a significant amount of scholarship money. “As long as you go to college somewhere,” was their response.

My friends, on the other hand, thought I was totally nutso. “You don’t change schools for a guy,” was what they kept telling me.

Was God speaking to me at this critical point in my life?

Considering that guy was Michael Borgstede, and we’ve now been married for over 20 years, have 5 children, and have served in ministry together for all these years, I believe God was speaking to me.

You may wonder how to recognize God’s voice in your life.

Digging Deeper with God

A dear friend of mine, Christine (Chris) Drews has some helpful insights to share about how you can clearly hear God’s voice in your life. She has her own experiences to share, plus biblical insights about the subject.
Chris has written a number of articles for The Holy Mess that continue to be very popular, such as Noticing God’s Hand and Trusting God in the Midst of Troubling World Events.

Chris has now started her own website called Digging Deeper with God, and friends, you have to check out her website. Seriously.

Digging Deeper with God

Currently she is writing devotions twice a week, and you can sign up for her email list to get them delivered to your email box, which I highly recommend. (In fact, click here to go do that right now, as long as you promise to come back and finish this article.)

I have read every single one and each one is so insightful and interesting, without being long and overwhelming. I always take away a new nugget of information as well as ways to grow deeper in my personal walk with Jesus. You are going to love her devotions and her site!

Below, Chris shares more about her new website and how you can hear God’s voice more clearly in your life.

A Conversation with Chris Drews

Christine Drews

Christine Drews

Sara: Tell us about your new website.

Chris: Digging Deeper with God ( is a place where you can meet with God and grow in your faith. You can sign up at the site to receive devotions twice a week, and they are suitable for both men and women.

Each devotion includes

  • a passage from scripture right there on the site,
  • thought-provoking insights based on the scripture passage, and
  • three or four questions that you can use as prompts to reflect on throughout the day or for journaling during your quiet time.

You can use as a quick 5-minute devotion to jump-start your day, but the real beauty is that you can also use it as a tool for more in-depth, meaningful time with God.

Sara: I’ve heard you say you went into this project “kicking and screaming.” So, you were not planning to head in this direction?

Chris: No. Not one bit. In fact, I was adamant against it, and even now I ask God weekly for continued confirmation of it. For a couple of decades, God has been developing in me a love for His Word. Although I wanted to write, I balked at going online because it is very easy to become self-promotional, and I so want my writing to be about God and His Word.
Sara: At what point did you know you heard God’s voice calling you to start this project?
Chris: It is thrilling to me how God works intricately in our lives. I was writing furiously and deliberately for a self-initiated book project, and I shared with my Saturday morning Bible study group my struggles with going online. One of the participants looked me straight in the eye and said, “You might be surprised at what God calls you to do.”

A barrier for me had been how to go online in such a way that is not about me but is solely focused on God’s Word and its emphasis on Jesus’ saving work on the cross. I work in the publishing industry and am sensitive to copyright issues. I was digging around different Bible websites and ran into one that allowed for limited electronic reproduction of a particular Bible translation. A seed was planted in my head about beginning each devotion with a passage from scripture fully printed on the site, and the format for the devotions grew quickly from there.

Confirmation came as ideas flowed and especially when I was provided a way to pay for the creation of the website without going into debt. It came about through the most extraordinary timing and complex series of ordinary events. When I traced it back, they had started around 10 years ago with some seemingly mundane issues related to an insurance policy. I was dumbfounded. Had God had this planned 10 years ago when I made a silly fumble with my insurance?

Sara: If someone said to you, “How can I recognize God’s voice in my life?” how would you answer?

Chris: I am going to be blunt here, and I am equally guilty on this front. In order to recognize God’s voice, we have to spend time with God. Really spend time. Long stretches of time. We sometimes pat ourselves on the back for spending the first 5 minutes of our day with God. What if we gave the people in our households only 5 minutes a day, and for most of that time we were talking and not listening? We would soon feel distant, and we would later discover things about them and think, “I didn’t know that was important to them.”

When I finally carve out an opportunity to spend lengthy, concentrated time with God, it frequently surprises me what He has to say. I came home one day and knelt at my bed to pray over a trying situation. My thoughts were suddenly filled with a sequence for the first few series of devotions for my website. Books and chapters came to my mind and I scribbled them down. Then I looked them up. The sequence sort of made sense, but only in an odd sort of way. I don’t know the exact reason for that sequence, but I am following God’s prompting.

That is the second part of hearing God’s voice: obedience. If you sense a prompting, follow through on it. If that still small voice says, “Write an encouraging note to this person,” write the note! If the prompting says, “Hold your tongue,” for heaven’s sake, hold your tongue! As you make time to listen to God and follow through with acts of obedience, even over small things, you will begin to notice God working in your life, and then you will know that you are hearing His voice. You will begin to know when it is His voice and not yours.

This is where can help. It provides a platform, a space, for you to meet with God and spend quality time with Him.

Sara: Let’s say someone has this seed of a dream that she thinks God is calling her to pursue, but she isn’t sure. What should she do next?

Chris: Listen, listen, listen without your own agenda. I currently want to make a change in my life, but I keep getting hints that it is not time. It is so hard to wait on God’s timing! If you sense God really wants you to pursue that dream, take a small step toward it and watch to see how God works as you take that step.

  • Was it miserable all around? Seriously, take the hint, and consider the change in direction an act of obedience.
  • Was it difficult but you also saw evidence of God’s hand at work? Consider that it might be affirmation, and take another step forward. Keep listening and watching. If God doesn’t want you to do something, He will slam doors shut. The thing is, we need to watch and listen without bias for our own desires.
  • If God throws the door open, even if it is scary, you had better walk through the doorway, because He has prepared something in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10)!

Is there an area where you think God is calling you to pursue a dream, but you aren’t sure how to begin? Tell us about it in the comments below!How to Recognize God's Voice in Your Life|The Holy Mess