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Saturday, January 09, 2016

Are You Listening?

Do you look for a new word on which to focus throughout the year? I started this practice a few years ago, because of a friend and fellow writer, Julie Garmon. This year, my word is "listen".

Uh-oh. I'm in trouble. And it's only the beginning of January. Oh, I can listen to a conversation I'm involved in. I can eavesdrop on them, too. As a writer, it's important for me to listen. And I do - to the conversations around me.

But to sit quietly and listen to God? Not so much. I'm A.D.D. My attention span is that of a gnat. I try to empty my mind, which is hard when it's filled with voices telling you their story. But I try. I'll pray, then be silent and wait for God to speak to me. 

Within a few seconds of nothing, my mind wanders. It leaves on its own, anxious for the next adventure or something. Pretty soon I realize I've mentally left the room. I don't mean to, but I can't seem to help it.

Which makes this word so difficult for me. I guess God expects me to learn how this year. All I can say is He's going to have to smack me upside the head when my mind starts wandering. I will say, sometimes God has spoken quickly and I've heard Him in my soul. And it's awesome. 

Looking back, I realize there have been times when I was noodling on a plot or character, and God has "spoken" by giving me the exact idea I needed to make the story work. And yes, I remember to thank Him.

So this year, I'm going to work on listening more, for both those story ideas and for God to simply share something with me because He loves me. That in itself is a mind-blowing thought! 

What are you going to focus on this year?

Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Novelist and playwright, Ane is the executive director of Players Guild@Sugar Hill, a new community theater and president of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket. She resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a dog of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane at her website, Novel Rocket, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ and on her Amazon author page.


  1. OH. MY. GOODNESS, ANE, this is sooooo good!! AND ... exactly what God has been trying to get through to me this year, too, so that always blesses me when His directives are confirmed over and over. And, yes, I wrote a blog about it this weekend too, only the actual Scriptural directive God gave me was, "Be still and know that I am God."

    In other words: STOP AND LISTEN!!

    Or in my own words: Freeze, Julie, and focus! :)

    Which is why my word this year is FOCUS. Of course, you have to listen to focus ... :)

    So, you asked what I'm going to focus on this year?

    Spending more time being still with the Lover of my soul so I can know Him more and more.

    Thanks for a great blog, my friend, and confirmation of what I believe He's trying to get through to a lot of us this year.


  2. Ane,

    A great post.

    You mentioned having A.D.D. and having difficulty sitting still and listening mentally. Have you ever stopped to think that that might be your thorn in the flesh?

    The Apostle Paul mentioned having such a malady. He also recorded his having prayed about being relieved of it three times before God replied and told him, My grace is sufficient.

    Paul's conclusion was that his malady (whatever it was) had been sent to keep him close to God.

    That has never resonated more with me than it does these days because I'm coming to see my own melancholy nature as the same sort of thing. Something designed to keep me close to God.

    That realization is so fresh in my mind (from last night), that when you mentioned your inability to sit in mental stillness, the same thought came to mind!

    We all have something that is a constant struggle for us. The key is how we respond to it. Do we wallow or do we surrender to God and seek His help?

    I can let my melancholy nature drag me down (which it often does) or I can give it to God and ask for His help in overcoming it.

    Sorry for the mini sermon, but this idea so fills my heart and mind today.

    When I began writing, I didn't think I had a focus word for the year.

    Now I think I do.


    Surrender my personality, my worries, my fears, and all the things that arise from a melancholy personality to God.

    Thank you for a great post!

    Carrie Lynn Lewis

  3. Julie, I'm so glad God confirmed your word through mine!! I love it when He does that.

    And Carrie, oh my goodness! Of course!! That's exactly what it is. And you're right. His grace is sufficient. He's continually at work in me, growing me and helping me. Thank you!!


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