Forever Ruined for the Ordinary

I love to tell others about reading gems that I have stumbled upon.  Some years ago, I read Joy Dawson’s book, Forever Ruined for the Ordinary: The Adventure of Hearing and Obeying God’s Voice.  It was one of those “keeper” books — the kind you know you will read again, and even if you don’t, you still want to make sure it is on your bookshelf — just in case.  I not only kept it; I bought copies for all the special people in my life.  I don’t do that every day of the week.

So, why was this book so important to me?  It spoke to a deep hunger in my life to better understand hearing the voice of God.  I had been hearing God speak to me for years, yet I wanted more, and Joy helped me with that more.

She’s still helping me.  I picked up the book again a couple of weeks ago and reread it, and it has been a wonderful experience for me.  Joy covers such topics as hearing God is everyone’s privilege, conditions for hearing His voice, ways God speaks to us, reasons guidance is delayed, how to avoid deception, and how obedience relates to clear hearing of God’s voice.  She majors on encouraging her readers to ask God to speak before making even small decisions.  She also majors on assuring us that God’s character is so trustworthy that He will never let us down.

One of the most helpful sections for me was the one about deception.  She asserts that pride is always the trigger to deception.  We do not need to fear deception if our hearts are humble and teachable, because God will quickly correct our course if our hearts are right.  She explains how people get deceived, how to quickly get out of the trap if we are already there, and how to stay out of deception’s snare in the first place.

Joy emphasizes getting quiet before the Lord in order to hear Him.  (I guess this makes her one of the original “soakers” before soaking prayer became popular.)  She exhorts her readers to submit themselves to the authority of their church leadership, if they want to hear God properly.  She talks a great deal about the fear of the Lord protecting us from operating out of a fear of man.  She comments, “[Being] totally submitted to the control of the Holy Spirit in the fear of the Lord … releases us from the fear of other people,” and, about the pressures to perform, “When you’ve chosen to be nothing so that He may become everything, you don’t sweat it.”

Whether you are just now setting out on the journey to hearing God’s voice,  or whether you’ve been on the path for a long time already, I highly recommend Forever Ruined for the Ordinary, by Joy Dawson.

Quotes from Forever Ruined for the Ordinary

Purchase at Amazon: Forever Ruined for the Ordinary

5 responses to “Forever Ruined for the Ordinary

  1. Pingback: Quotes from Joy Dawson « Out of the Fire

  2. I read this book “Forever Ruined for the Ordinary” sometime in 2008 and felt the same way.
    It is a must read for all who desire to be led by the Holy Spirit and experience the scripture…”my sheep know my voice”


  3. Hi Leeann, I just wanted to share a little with you about hearing from God as Joy Dawson promotes. I will not deny that many do hear from God, not for a moment. But I have to doubt her exhortation based on Scripture and personal experiance. I have found that this type of “hearing” leads to MUCH subjective self-deception. I found that my mind was more than eager to fool myself with what it wanted to hear. I also have done extensive Bible study of the Book of Acts and have found only a few very shakey references to “hearing God” in one’s heart (the people involved may have had prophecies). In fact, you will see many times in the Book of Acts when the apostles did NOT have a word of God about what to do (see 9:26-27; 12:13-15; 15:1-7; 15:13-22; 15:36-14; 16:6-7; 18:21; 19:30; 20:3). If one has the gift of prophecy or word of knowledge, that is another thing (method of guidance used mostly in Acts), but those are spiritual gifts, and not all have them. They also should be exercised under church leadership. I encourage you to do a careful Bible study on “hearing God” and you will probably find one hardly, if ever, hears him in one’s heart. God bless you.


    • Hi Michael,

      Any time we move with God, there is a risk involved. This is part of the faith walk. Yes, with hearing the inner voice in one’s spirit (“heart”), there is the risk of hearing what one wants to hear. It takes practice to discern the difference, and no one gets it completely right on this side of eternity. But we can get better and better at it. In John 10, Jesus speaks quite a bit about the sheep knowing the shepherd’s voice and not following the voice of a stranger. We get to know what He sounds like. One of the best ways to do that is by immersing ourselves in the Word, so that we know His character and how He speaks.

      It is also important to be connected with wise Christian people with whom we can share what we are hearing. “In the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). If we are accountable to wise believers, they can help us see if we have heard something wrong. And God has promised to get us back on track if we err in our hearing (see Isaiah 30:21).

      There are indications that Jesus received much of His guidance by visions and the inner voice (John 5:19; John 8:28, 29; John 12:49, 50), and if we would think in context of those verses, we would see that probably everything He did in ministry came about through listening to the Holy Spirit’s voice within to find out what Father wanted Him to do, moment-by-moment. Moving according to the leading of the Spirit is a great joy and privilege that we have because we are indwelt by the Spirit. He is inside of us to guide us. “…When he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall recevie of mine, and shall show it unto you” (John 16:13, 14).

      Yes, in Acts there were times when the believers and even the apostles did not always have a sure word from the Lord. In some of the examples you have listed, it was due to unbelief, immaturity, or human mindsets, just like real Christians struggle with today. Sometimes they assumed and made mistakes, and sometimes God let them search out the mind of the Lord over a period of time and through counseling with each other. These were real people, dealing with the same things we deal with today. It is not always easy.

      I think another thing we must recognize is that there are many things that are not laid out detail by detail in the Bible. For instance, church government is not explained down to the last iota. Neither is spiritual warfare. This is partly because these things were understood among the Church and therefore not discussed in the NT extensively. In the same way, hearing God by the inner voice was understood as a reality of life. It is implied throughout the Bible in various places.

      We are in a time when Joel 2:28, 29 is becoming more and more a reality, where prophecy is open to all, as are the rest of the spiritual gifts. Paul encouraged the people to desire the spiritual gifts, especially prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1). Not all will be prophets, but all can prophesy in a measure as God gives the word.

      You may want to check out my Hearing God series at this blog. There is a section of that series that deals extensively with inner voice hearing and how to discern whether it is really God or not.

      I love hearing God in the inner voice (and every other way He speaks as well)! I’ve made some mistakes through the years, but overall it has been a wonderful adventure, and hearing Him speak is a great joy in my life. I would like everyone else to be able to experience that same joy.


    • It is easy to be self deceived and that is why it is important that we seek the multitude of counsel to prove what we believe to be hearing from God. Humility is so important and elusive. Pride is truly self deception. She talks about sharing her insights with her husband and even her children so she would have more than one avenue of insight. When she says that God speaks to her heart she is surely talking about the inner man who is born again of the Spirit of God. Jesus was led by the Spirit in everyday life and we are called to do the same. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Rom. 8:14) May the Church come back to hearing our Father with prophetic clarity and reverential fear.


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