i’m listening

i’m listening February 5, 2016

Usually about this time of the week, I’d be picking  a new blog theme and writing hundreds of words about it.  But for the past few days, as I’ve been thinking and praying about what to write on next, I’ve come up empty.  For the first time in my writing career, I’ve been speechless.
It’s not to say I’m not trying (I am) or thinking hard (I am) or praying lots (I am.)  It’s just that in spite of everything I’m doing,  I don’t have anything to say.

Why are my writing coffers so empty?  Why don’t I have anything to say? I’ve been wondering.

And then I realized — it’s because I’ve been listening.


I’m on a 20-university speaking tour, and I have been listening to dozens and dozens of students who come up to talk to me afterwards.

I’ve been listening to students talk about their faith and their doubts and their roommates and their classes and their futures and their hopes and their failures and their dreams.

I’ve been giving hundreds of handshakes and hugs.

I’ve been crying with students who weep on my shoulder, and high-fiving students who are beside themselves with joy.

I have loved every second of it — but instead of giving me something to say, this season is mostly giving me opportunities to be still.  To be silent.  To receive the stories of people who are dying to share.

I’ve also been spending lots of time with God doing the same thing — listening.  I haven’t heard much lately.  It’s like the spiritual ground of my life is lying fallow for the winter, reabsorbing needed nutrients for the growth to come.

The thing is — it’s hard to be in a “listening” season on social media.  It’s not funny or wordy or catchy.  It’s not a theme that gives rise to tons of material. It’s not something you can show.  It’s not something that catches people’s attention.

But, for better or worse, it’s what I’m called to do for now.

So, for now, I don’t have a lot to say.  But if you do — if you need someone to talk to, someone to cry to, someone to celebrate with, someone to pray with, someone to sit with in silence — I’m here.

I’m listening.

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  • Georgia

    I picked up your book ‘The invisible girls,’ at a public library Saturday morning. I finished it while my husband was watching the Super Bowl last evening. Even though I am an avid reader I generally do not read a book that quickly.Your story touched me at so many levels, I’m looking you up this morning.
    I have never contacted an author but you seem approachable. (I watched 2 of your Youtube videos. ).
    I appreciate your honestly in your spiritual struggles. I was raised in a fundamental Christian church/family. Dad died suddenly (massive heart attack age 50 (I was a senior in HS). Mom had MD (not MS) since a young woman. I cared for her for the next ~20 years while I completed BA & PhD degrees in chemistry. (I had to live at home. I could not travel overnight as she could not accept other care givers). There are countless stories of spiritual highs & lows that I would like to share with the world. I especially liked how you wove together the two (sometimes 3) times/locales. I envision telling both Moms struggles & my challenges (from first person & as bystander). Mom died in 1998 and I have been thinking/praying about writing for the past > 15 years. However, I have a full time job & God has blessed with a wonderful husband that I want to spend time with. I keep asking God for direction. I felt impressed to pick up your book & to write you this morning. God bless.

  • Sarah Thebarge

    Georgia, thanks so much for the note! I’m so glad the story resonated with you! Many blessings to you, my friend.