i'm listening


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.