Listening for God's Holy Whisper

What I learned when I heard the words I didn’t want to hear
Listening for God's Holy Whisper
Image: Rob Gallop / Flickr

Some days we need a cheerleader—someone to pick up the pompoms on our behalf. Someone to say, “Keep going, you can do this!” when we feel like giving up.

Then there are other days—days when we need that gentle voice of encouragement from someone who knows us well. That’s when we need someone to say, “I know this feels hard, but you did the right thing.”

And then there are the days when you just need someone to tell you the truth.

This was one of those days. You see, a conversation hadn’t gone well. Someone on my team came to me with a problem deep from the heart, and it was a problem with me.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t want to hear it. During the conversation I could feel my body tense. I could hear my words getting hard. I couldn’t stop myself as I took a turn around the bend to an ugly destination: defensiveness.

After the conversation, I felt defeated. Why did I again feel the need to go down the path of justification? I had responded by saying “But that’s not what I meant! I don’t understand how you could think that.” I could have responded with even the slightest trickle of humility. I could have said, “I’m sorry. I can see how that hurt your feelings.”

But I didn’t.

What Is God Whispering?

Going down this path again, even though I didn’t want to, made me feel sad and disappointed.

As I talked it over with my friend Sibyl, she didn’t launch into how wonderful I was or how perfectly human it was to have this response. She didn’t immediately tell me everything was going to be fine. She didn’t tell me not to feel bad. She just listened. She sat with me and didn’t rush my words, giving me freedom to empty my heart of selfish indignation and the prideful resentment of being misunderstood. Then she made an observation, almost in the form of a question: “I wonder what it is that God wants to whisper to you.”

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Sherry Surratt

Sherry Surratt is the Director of Parenting Strategy for Orange Family Ministry. She is the former CEO of MOPS International and the author of several books, including Brave Mom, Beautiful Mess, and Just Lead. You can connect with her online at or follow her on Twitter at @SherrySurratt.

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