At the recent Omega writer’s conference, Disney writer Alex Marestaing spoke to us about hearing the whispers of God. Alex told us the story of how he got hired by Disney: he sent them a letter, asking for a job. Just like that. Even more unbelievable is the fact that Disney contacted him a couple of weeks later, offering him a writing job!
Alex spoke about being like a child in our writing, which sometimes calls for us to be wild and reckless and a bit naïve. The adventure of writing is no different to the wildness of following Christ. Every time I open my computer to write a blog, I take a step of faith. I do not always know how the blogs are going to turn out. At times I don’t even know what I am going to write about. Today I knew I was going to write about the God-whispers. But I didn’t know where it was going to take me.
The whispers are near to us, hovering, waiting, growing, til the moment is right and they strike. (I don’t know if a whisper can strike, but work with me.) We know we have heard a whisper when a new idea lights up the dark corridors of our mind. A new concept, or character, or title, or strategy has knocked at the door, startling us into breathless inspiration. And if you’re anything like me, the idea will continue to knock at the door until I open up and write that thing down.
I can think of precise moments over the past 10 years when I heard “The Whisper”. My first book, Surviving Singledom, was birthed in a sudden vivid moment of realisation. I was complaining to God about the lack of resources for Christian singles and, in the pause that followed, God seemed to nudge me to write a book. It was a profound moment of clarity when my world of suffering collided with new possibility. That was the whisper.
God whispers at all sorts of odd times. He whispers new book ideas that lie outside my current genre. He whispers songs and plotlines interwoven with my dreams. I hear a friend or colleague comment on something and their turn of phrase catches my ear; suddenly, I have a brilliant new book title. Most whispers happen when I’m minding my own business.
The crucial thing about whispers is to pay attention. Then we can make them our own, if we are courageous. Sometimes this means dropping what I am doing to jot a new idea down. Sometimes this means shelving a neat story I want to write because I feel God prompting me to blog urgently. Sometimes it means waking in the dead of night with a song burning in my brain and dragging my carcass out of bed to write that gem down before it disappears forever in the vapours of the night.
And sometimes it means stopping completely.
“Let us be silent, so that we may hear the whisper of God.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
When God next whispers beside us, may we be courageous enough to trust him like a child and to follow where the whispers lead.
When was the last time you heard God whisper something in your ear?