There are three voices in a healthy persons head. Our own, Satans and the Spirit of Gods. Our own voice sounds like a lot of discussion and usually starts with the word "I". We ask a lot of questions and can't seem to decide on anything. We question and doubt everything, or we have opinions that are set in stone: " I hate that", "I wonder if I should do..." "I am not ready for that..." "what is he thinking?" We spend a lot of time in our heads questioning ourselves, others and even God. This is how we know our own voice, and that it is not Gods voice. It is a constant never ending debate and seems to put everything up for discussion.
The next voice is Satan's voice. He is relentless with negative stuff, justifying our actions, putting things off and gives us reasons that things don't need to happen a certain way (the way the Spirit has told us to do things). He never stops and never seems to let up until we have made a choice and then he probobly tells us it is a dumb decision, or that we are going to look stupid if we do something a Gods way, and on and on and on. It is a never ending voice of negativity, doubt, fear and worry. "You don't need to do that, your tired, you deserve a break, you should just rest, he is asking too much. He deserved it, he should have been nicer to you, what do they expect?" and on and on and on. That is one of the ways we can know it is from Satan - it goes on and on and on. God tells us once and then lets us choose.
Then we have the third voice. It is the still small voice. 'Still' because it doesn't move the air or make sound waves. We are not likely to "hear" it in the beginning, but we will feel it. It is quiet and small. Unnoticed unless we train ourselves to listen. It comes once and then it just lets the idea linger. It comes in the form of a command and doesn't use pronouns. Ususally it sounds like: "go help your son with his homework', 'say something nice', 'remember to take that with you', 'appoigize to your husband'. The way you know it is the Spirit is because it always tells us good things to do. If you have an idea of something nice to do IT CAME FROM THE SPIRIT! That is how you can start recognizing it. If you think of something kind to do for someone it was probobly from The Spirit. Nothing good comes from anywhere else but from God. All good things come from Him, not us! We sometimes want to take credit for something the Spirit told us to do, thinking it was our own idea, but it wasn't! It was His! And oh how wonderful that is to know! We can count on Him talking to us all day everyday, telling us good things to do. If you struggle to hear and understand the Spirit then you have not been obedient enough for long enough to recognize it, or you have not given God the credit for all His good ideas. Try thanking Him for the next good idea you have and see if it doesn't increase the spirit in you and bring more of them.
The other thing we need to know about this voice is that it is not the Holy Ghost that is speaking; it is Christ speaking to us through the Holy Ghost, it is His voice we hear or feel. It is a big deal when we ignore it because we cannot afford to ignore Christ. If He were to stand in the room with us and ask us to do something, you would do it right? I would, but we often think that because it is just the Holy Ghost that we can ignore it or discount it because it is not God. Well it is God. And to take it one step further, it is in a command form because it is a command and He tells us that we must live by every command that proceedeth forth from His mouth. This is how this law and commandment are fulfilled. When we obey what we feel from the Spirit we are obeying His voice.
I find that the key to obedience is to do it immediatly. For example when is says to go help with the dishes, it does not mean in 15 minutes. It speaks when the time is perfect for something to happen. Don't put off a prompting from the Spirit. If you put if off it may not (probobly wont) speak again and we will miss our chance to obey God.
I have found that I can't wait when it speaks or I don't get the full blessing it is offering. For example yesterday (Saturday) I was up as I have committed to be at 7:00 am on weekends. As I got up the Spirit said: "go to the gym". Well I didn't want to go to the gym yet, I wanted to read my scriptures and pray, but that is not what the Spirit told me to do. I find most people at this point would say "well reading your scriptures is the best thing you can do" But that isn't true. Being obedient to the voice of Christ is the best thing we can do. No matter what it is that He tells us to do, it is the best thing at the best time. The real interesting part is that for someone else the Spirit might tell them to read their scriptures first, but He knows that I will always find time for the scriptures and prayer, auctually many times a day, but the gym is hard for ME to do and I need to be pushed and told to do it early instead of later.
So, on with the story; I sat down and read and prayed. It was fine but I didn't have any great spiritual growth or insights like I often do when obeying the Spirit. Then about 8:30 I went to the gym. Nothing bad happened, no great sin, except that I didn't get home to my kids until 10:00-10:30 and I didn't get my full run in, because I didn't have time and felt that I needed to get home and kept feeling guilty for being away during the time they were awake and working. Then although I had some of the Spirit the rest of the day, I did not have it to the degree that I could have or usually do have when I obey immediatly! I have learned the difference and when I obey quickly the spirit is so sweet and so soothing to my soul. It helps me be more patient, kind, gentle and full of peace. I can tell when I have screwed up because it does not tell me as many things to do during the day. If I obey, I receive many, many tidbits of instruction, information and promptings that bring me great joy. The light that increases in my heart becomes brighter and brighter and I get answers to prayer quickly, I understand His power better and I feel loved. It is worth the quick obedience and the diligence it takes to learn and study the habits of the Spirit and repent when I have disobeyed.
My kids and I are learning this together. We have gotten little notebooks and we write down when the spirit speaks to us, what it said and what we did, obey or not and what the out-come was. It has been really enlightening to see the pattern on papar and have a log of all the times it speaks to us daily. I am loving it. I am growing in the Spirit faster than I ever have in my life and my children are starting to be more obedient to me, because they are starting to hear the spirit speak, not just my voice. It is really amazing! Oh how sweet to hear the voice of the Lord!