How do you hear God?

I write a lot.  

I mean—like over ten years of filling a notebook every month, which equals thousands of pages, which equals millions of words.

I started writing when a counselor gave me a journal as a present and told me that I should write letters to someone dear to me who was slowly dying. So I wrote letter after letter after letter after letter and never stopped. 

I wrote past anxiety. I wrote past insecurity. I wrote into strength. Writing opened up a world in myself I never knew existed, a world I never knew I wanted to explore. A world of imagination I carried within and a world of pain that I hid from.

Writing spoke to me when I needed someone to talk to and listened to me when I went astray. 

I learned that, words can fight. That, words can form reality, creating a sense of beauty to transcend reality as we see it. They can see ahead, they can see the past, they can see beyond what is. They become a friend and a foe. They are both inside of me and yet seem to come from outside of me.

In her TED talk, Elizabeth Gilbert coined the term “elusive creative genius” to name the experience of something seemingly outside of you telling you what to say when writing a book or where to move your brush when creating a painting. She explained that the Romans believed that a genius was a magical, divine entity outside of you who literally lived with the artist and assisted the artist with the work, helping to form the outcome of the work. 

Genius speaks to me often. Genius speaks to me during those late nights when I am working on the novel I am writing or when I walk about town in search of something beyond what I see—genius whispers.   

I haven’t coined my own term for my genius; what I usually call it is the voice of God. I find that some words in the Bible line up with my experience, like in Hebrews 4:12 when it says, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

I think that God speaks in different ways. And every time I write, I can hear His voice. I do believe that writing is my “way” to hear Him. To hear those sweet whispers. That gentle prodding.

However, in the image of God we are all created with unique ways of hearing what He says.

And I’d like to ask you, in what way do you hear Him speak? Perhaps it’s when you listen to a song, one you’ve heard before but can’t put a name to it. Perhaps it’s when you walk through the unknown. Perhaps it’s when you have ended a relationship and need somewhere to call home. He is always speaking, no matter how you hear Him; He will always show up. 

How do you hear Him speak?

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Writing by Erica Jo