In some ways today's first reading fits easily into our image of God in the Bible. Samuel is sleeping; God comes and speaks to him. The piece that we can overlook is that without Eli, Samuel would have never understood what was happening or how to respond.
While our relationship with God is deeply personal, it cannot be isolated. The Christian faith is at its heart a communal faith. Left to our own devices we can misinterpret the messages. We can easily convince ourselves that God is calling us to whatever we want, and ignore any call from God that we don't want to hear.
God is constantly reaching our to all of his children. We all need Eli's in our life, those people who are wiser, more experienced than ourselves who can help us properly discern when and where God is calling us.