I’m super excited to share my website with Katie Dale today. Here’s her bio, so you can get to know her a little:
Hey there! I’m Katie Dale, familiar with the storms of mental illness, and I blog about my faith and how it has informed my brain-based disorder at KatieRDale.com. I also have a memoir out about my journeys through the psych wards and how I found peace of mind with psych meds (by the grace of God) – you can find it on Amazon here. Come find me and say hi on social media @KatieRDale.
Do you have an ear to hear what God is saying to you in your spirit? Because the brain is the seat of both mind and spirit, we get confused about whose voices are in our conscious psyche. When we feel guilty or ashamed, whether it is justified or not, our conscience gives us a hard time about ourselves.
Whose Voice is That?
God made us with a conscience. If you’re a born-again Christian, a living spirit, with God’s Spirit dwelling inside of you, He will speak to you, rest assured. When can you tell it’s His voice, not yours, or a minion’s, or the enemy’s?
It will be in line with Scripture. It will not contradict God’s words in the Bible.
Once Upon a Time
I’ll tell you a story about one time I thought beyond a shadow of a doubt I’d heard God’s voice in my head. I even prayed internally, “God, where are You?” And the strongest voice in my mind at this time answers.
The setting though, is imperative.
I was in the psych ward.
I was dealing with heavy Satanic forces and attacks in my vulnerable psyche off my psych meds (I thought I would go off them to prove I was healed in Jesus’ name). The cast of characters in the hospital warranted the likes of a movie’s—many confused, weary souls like myself were staying within the confines of the secured building.
The scene: I’m sitting on the bedroom floor, a disheveled mess, cheeks wet from tears flowing in a hyper-manic state. My mind raced at light-years’ paces with thoughts, sensations, sounds, and yes, voices.
I’d misinterpreted the air duct activity as a crowd of people yelling through the vent system. By this point, my sanity was hanging by a thread.
But I remember it all fairly clearly, like any other life memory.
So in my pleading stature on my knees begging God to let me out of the ward, I’d been convinced the voice that answered my prayer was genuinely God’s Spirit talking to me in my head.
“I’m in the dining room,” it said.
It told me in a clairvoyant nature, as if someone opened my skull and answered me in my brain.
It wasn’t an audible voice, but as close to a vivid thought as possible.
At the next meal, shortly thereafter, I spotted him.
Long, grey beard, ragged plain clothes, piercing blue eyes, and—old. He sat at the head of one of the dining room tables in silence, eating.
Conveniently, the seat next to him was available while every other seat at the table was taken.
I approached. “Can I sit with you?!” My enthusiasm was met with a sly grin. He welcomed me at the seat.
“I’m so excited.” My grandiose concepts of a God like that of The Shack—where just about anyone could take His form in unconventional appearance, disillusioned me.
“I can’t believe you’re here!”
He raised his brow and glanced at his plate, as if unimpressed.
“I must know, can you get me out of here? I’ve been praying to You the whole time. You know my case.” A smirk came across his mouth as he continued to eat and, I presume, listened to me.
“Sure,” he said. He got a slip of paper and stubby pencil out of his pocket and wrote down his name and number.
Clay Rivers, (407) 555-2634
Interesting. Clay—as in the potter’s clay, or dust that man is—and river—a river of clay? The gears in my mind traveled down this delusional route.
“I’m going to need a way out of here…do you think you can get me when you’re through?”
Now Clay’s eyes looked me up and down, and at once the spell broke.
Gross! He’s checking me out?!
It shook me back to reality. He wasn’t God!
What in the–?
Listening for the Voice of God
Needless to say, God didn’t exactly meet me in the psych ward. At least, not in the way I thought He would.
Instead, my frame of mind was too much a house of cards to rely on listening to God’s voice. But He was faithful, and I eventually (after a couple more admissions and returning to the right concoction of medications) came back to reality.
Now that I’m in my right mind, and since coming out of the woods, I’ve found it to be an extremely slow process of hearing and knowing God’s voice.
Occasionally, I receive a word in my spirit that is random but aligns with Scripture that turns out to be God’s voice. As in, He speaks something to my heart and I don’t initially realize it’s Him, but then looking back, makes all sense and is either accurate or foretelling.
I’ve had these moments few and far between. I’m also leery about assuming every voice is His, because sometimes, it’s not. Sometimes it’s the enemy’s (Satan’s), sometimes it’s my own.
I realize a lot of us have an ongoing monologue going on in our heads. I discovered this on a Reddit thread, that most people have an ongoing monologue of thoughts. I’m either not tuned into my internal voice all that much, it’s really quiet, or I don’t think in words or full-on sentences, but I think in concepts, feelings or images. However, I have a great hack for hearing God’s voice—something I learned about from Mark Virkler’s book, How to Hear God’s Voice.
- Have a notebook and pen in front of you
- Get quiet and still before the Lord – this takes time, be patient
- Ask God, write out your heart’s longings, desires, prayers to Him on the page
- Then write back as if you’re letting the Holy Spirit answer you
- Tune into Christ and His thoughts, imagine Him sitting before you and what He may say to you
- Pen and document everything He seems to say to you
- It will align with Scripture and His nature if it’s from Him
- Don’t ignore it, don’t change it, write it down
- Examine to see if it is of God, His Word, and His Spirit. If so, He’s speaking.
I encourage you to ask the Lord for discernment and to hear His voice before you start prayer journaling.
If you’re ever unsure where to start or if you get stuck, begin in a passage of Scripture and ask God to reveal to you what He’s wanting you to know. This, and writing your prayers out to God, are great ways to document the dialogue and progress you see in your relationship with Him.
Often, I look back at the words I’ve penned and am amazed at the insight I find in them. They’re full of love, truth, kindness, and encouragement. And the message is never condemning or critical.
As always, if it doesn’t align with God’s Word, throw it out. But you’d be surprised with the stream of revelation that comes when you tune into the voice of the Lord.
He calls to us by name, and His sheep hear His voice. Are you listening?
Thank you Katie for this message and the other one today. In regards to hopelessness coming from the heart and not the brain. It’s something I’d love to hear more about. Following an episode, I wonder what part is my imbalanced brain and what is my own emotional/mental perceptions and patterns (which I try to work on)?
I began praying two years ago for healing. I was hesitant to pray, but believed the Lord was calling me to do so and to trust him. I wasn’t led to pray for a miraculous healing of my bipolar, but a healing of the chronic and distressing intrusive thoughts. There was a moment of miraculous healing while in anguish during the night. He met me there (with the song Beloved, by Kari Jobe) and his amazing love and grace providing comfort and with his tender touch. Since then, I know my true safe place and home is sitting at his feet feeling his warmth, and grace filled acceptance. (I could add more, but I’ll move on). My healing is a spiritual one of the heart. He’s freed my bondage to fear, giving me freedom and an explosive love for him.
When I struggle with hypo-mania and want to go my own way, expressing my energy in reckless ways, I surrender those desires because I know I’m turning away from him and to him. My love response is to honor him in all my choices. When I feel the answer to breaking the tension of disphoric angst is to cut, I give him the knife and remind myself he died for me so I might live. HIS LOVE fills me and calls me to the place I want to be.
His love frees me and his strength empowers me!
I like your prayer journal and writing the voice I hear from God. I feel confident in God’s voice much of the time, but I am doubtful when my energy peaks, usually doubting whether it’s my voice or his. Waiting on his peace, instead of acting urgently, is something I’m practicing.
Thanks for your work to help others!