What you hear changes everything

We sit in a booth at a bustling restaurant. All around us conversations are happening about business, family, weekend events. At our table the topic is words. I’m here with two friends and their word-talented daughter. They ask me about writing and I try, awkwardly, to answer.

Right before we leave I say this, “I guess being a good writer is really all about being a good listener first.”

That sentence hangs in the air as I slip back into my car to head home. It follows me all week. Because I realize it isn’t just true of being a writer.

Being a good cook is all about being a good listener first.

Being a good mom is all about being a good listener first.

Being a good friend is always about being a good listener first.

Being a good anything is always about being a good listener first.

We listen in many ways–with our ears, yes, but also with our eyes, our hearts, the Spirit who lives within us (the One who promises to lead us into all truth). How else will we know what’s needed? I know what it’s like to be loud on the inside. To be so full of dreams and plans and hopes that I can’t hear anything else. Then I try things from that place and they just don’t work. Hard work doesn’t make up for what we haven’t heard.

Stop for a moment. Close your eyes. Listen beyond the quiet or the loud around you.

Tune your mind and heart like the dial on a radio station to what you’re created to hear. It’s both strange and beautiful, isn’t it?

It can drown out the fear.

It can give you courage to do what you need to do.

It can cause a response to rise up within you that you know you must share with the world.

Because it comes from a place of love.

I write because I love Jesus.

And I love you.

I don’t know how or why I would do it otherwise. It’s the heart and soul of what keeps me coming back to this place, these pages. It’s the conversation within me that never ends.

What is being said to your heart today?

And what is the thing only you can say in return? It might not even be with words. It might be with colors, relationships, food, spreadsheets.

The world needs your response. You’re irreplaceable. Without your voice, your passion, something is missing from the conversation.

Whatever you bring, we need it.

We need you.

It’s true.

Can you hear me now?


  1. Brett Elise Davis says

    Dear Holley,

    Thank you. I needed to hear this and you expressed your heart in a way that made my heart feel understood and not crazy. Thank you. You are a gift from God and I appreciate you.

    Love and Blessings.
    Brett Davis

  2. Lindsay Huffman says

    Holly, Thank you, my heart has needed to hear these words for weeks now. It means far more then you know.


  3. says

    It always amazes me just how miraculous our Lord is! He knows exactly when to Bless us through the words of his Beloved Jesus; and uses, His Divine Love here on Earth to work through writers like Holley. What a Gift she is to us. I thank God that the Holy Spirit moves us to open our hearts to receive the Love He sends through her.

  4. Becky Saddler says

    Holley, I read your devotional right after receiving a call to tell me how much my sermon was appreciated by a home-bound parishioner. God, in His Infinite Wisdom blesses us so much when we take the time to listen! Thank YOU for listening to the heart of Christ!

  5. Sandy. says

    I Don’t Even Know what to Say.
    I was Just Listening.
    “When you encounter difficulties and contradictions,
    do not try to break them,
    but bend them with gentleness and time.”
    ~St. Francis de Sales
    ♥ Sandy.

  6. Kayjay says

    Dear Holley,
    As always, you touch hearts with your words. I just wanted to share a plaque that hangs in my kitchen. “make time for the quiet moments as God whispers and the world is loud.” Listening, oh how hard for some of us who blab too much!
    In Him,

    • says

      Amen!! Kayjay thank you for sharing that plaque that hangs in your kitchen. I truly liked that. I love my “Quiet Times” with the Lord. I am able to be still and listen to His voice for what He has to share with me. GOD Bless :)

  7. Kathy says

    “Whtever you bring, we need it.” What a blessing to hear those words, Holley. Thank you, and God bless. xxx

  8. Susan Muller says

    A wonderful message, Holley. I read into it a little differently than the others:) It is a gentle reminder to people to actually “listen” to others when they are speaking from their heart. I am a “listener” most of the time and people do SO appreciate that in a friend. We need to “listen with our hearts.” Thanks, Holley.

  9. Julie says

    Oh Holly, I love, love , love you! Your words and thoughts are a healing balm to me. I really wish I could sit across the table with you in the real world. For now, I will in my mind :)

  10. Lucille says

    Hi Holley, A friend of mine had called and asked me to check on her email address for her. (Another story). When I brought up my email your email was being sent to me. So, as I sat here reading your email my ear was listening to this friend’s voice on the other end of the telephone and I became so exasperated and found myself saying, “Stop being so negative, just stop it!” She said, “Well, my mother used to say that.” I said, “Well, Moms weren’t always right.” Since the world is soooooo negative and since I’m been on disability I’ve been trying to get myself out of this pit because the words I was hearing were just trying to keep me in this pit. I’m not even sure why I’m writing this except to say that your email was a breath of fresh air when somebody was trying to choke the life out of me with more negative words. And that’s what your emails do, they bring a breath of fresh air especially at a time when I needed it most.

    Thank-you, Holley!


  11. kathy says

    How treadsured a gift is listening. so rare. Your words are exactly true. Thank you Holley!
    I love how you listen & share from our Lord. Blessings dear one, love kathy

  12. angie wishire says

    i hear that it is truly to possible to be fearless; and joy filled! I hear that God loves me and Jesus is with me every step of th way.
    i am so glad to get this note. thanks holley!
    angie from boston!

  13. Char says

    Thank you for being a “wordsmith”. Every summer before returning to teaching Middle Sch kids I always try to come up with a brief slogan that a nice lady on Ebay paints up on wooden blocks for me to put on my desk at school. I wait until I feel an inspiration enter my head during the summer. This year the words, “Silence is Golden” came to me out of thin air and I said, “That’s the one for this year.” It is not a command to be quiet, but to listen. The students I work with are very chatty (boys more than girls some times) and I want to send them a message to listen more, to teachers of course, but also to each other.
    Thanks for your affirmation!

  14. Patti says

    Thanks Holly for your insights. I too get my mind so full of plans that I don’t often hear the whisper of God. Such a great reminder just to be present in the moment, slow down and listen to what is happening around you or inside of you!

  15. Kate Uptergrove says

    Hey Holley,

    I’ve been feeling a little out of sorts lately. Like maybe I haven’t done enough or been good enough at what I’ve done. I’ve been seeking encouragement in your words and then …

    Today I received a letter from the Missouri Community College Association that reads, in part: “I am pleased to announce that you have been selected to received the Missouri Community College Association’s News Media Award. The award is one of the highest honors the Association bestows, and it reflects your positive storytelling about the St. Louis Community College and the mission of community colleges throughout the state.”

    Wow! I’ve never received an award for my work before and I just feel so happy not only for me but for STLCC, because I’ve had the chance to share their stories – and there have been some great stories to tell.

    It feels like God is whispering, “See I told you so. You are right where you are supposed to be. Your gift is real. Use it!”

    Now, I’m feeling “in sorts” and inspired!

  16. Dolores E. Green says

    John 16:13

    New International Version (NIV)

    13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

  17. Kathy says

    Dearest, Sweetest Holly,
    Thank you again for speaking what is an absolute that our hearts need to hear, no matter where we are in our journey. The Lord was so good to help me to find you & the beautiful words he speaks through your heart. Thank you & with much love, Kathy

  18. maria says

    I’ve said it before….you have such a gift in your writing…thanks for sharing it and thanks for encouraging me and others to share ours! You have inspired me!! I do so appreciate it, and I know it will make the difference since I have decided to do my part!

  19. Joy says

    I love the “can you hear me now?” at the end of your post, too funny! We are all so “connected” we live in an world that communicates every way possible, BUT yet people don’t listen, so sad but very true…with all the “noise” we don’t know what it’s like to enjoy the solitude of the soul & spirit. That’s the only way I can “listen” and “hear” what needs to be heard, when I’m quiet and I listen with my heart for His heart…then He shows me what I need to bring to my “area of influence” and it’s wonderful..
    Bless you Holley and thanks for listening to Him first and bringing what you bring so sweetly to all of us!

  20. says

    “Hard work doesn’t make up for what we haven’t heard.”

    Wow, I had to read that twice! As I’ve been chasing my tail lately, God finally whispered a needed call for peace last week to my heart. In every moment of frustration, anxiety, fear, I started hearing, “…be still and know.” It brought a smile to my face. It kept repeating. It brought me joy.

    Blessings to you – thanks for reminding us the value in stopping and listening.

  21. says

    We live in such a busy world, everyone is going-going-going, it’s a great reminder to just SIT and listen to the Lord’s voice. Awe! His is sweeter then any other. Thanks Holley!

  22. margaret says

    Thanks Holley for letting us know once again how much were loved! such words of love{you’re amazing} that blew me away ,once again thank you so much for spreading so much joy and love around.

  23. says

    One of the things I never thought could be – happened this past week… thanks to Blessings Unlimited and Dayspring ~ I met the author of my heart! I know that we are in this secular world to love and share and teach and hopefully always lead others to Christ and I know that God makes no mistakes and I am very grateful for that. I want to thank you Holley again for always listening when God speaks to your heart and I know when He is speaking to me – I refer to that as Him saying… “Can you hear me now?”… thats the feeling that came over me when you spoke on the “lies” we have been brought up to believe and the “truths” that God has for us. When you asked us to share, it was a soul cleansing for me and I thank you especially for that. This post was my welcome home from our Summer Jam and what a powerful post it is for me! Meeting you was such a huge blessing for me! I always thank God for you and your work and being able to meet you was like the icing on my “cupcakes”… what… did I say that…. :) How awesome to be in the same family of believers! Know that you are loved and I am honored to know you! God be with you always, bless you richly and keep you in His care! For “God’s Glory” ~ PJ Breig

  24. says

    I just blogged about something similar to this around 5 minutes ago. Listening has been on my heart, and I’m definitely no good at it. Thanks for this :)

  25. Maria Jones-Davidson says

    Hi Holley, so wonderful to read your blog and being able to peruse its content ~ thank you for being inspirational each time… we all need each other as sisters and friends to each other. Firstly, I want to thank the Lord for the creation of the internet ~ the tecnology we can all use. At last we now have an internet coverage and has been currently installed with Telstra. Now, I don’t have to run to the library anymore and in a hurry do my FB, look at my emails and hurriedly share messages. Not anymore! But I thank the Lord, He has always helped me in the past to look after especially my FB and still share messages sent by friends and ministries, regardless of how little time I had in the past. I know I have been given by the Lord a responsibility to look after my friends on FB. I love them all very much and they are very, very special unto the Lord! Thanks for the message on “listening.” Being a good cook is all about being a good listener first.

    Being a good mom is all about being a good listener first.

    Being a good friend is always about being a good listener first.

    Being a good anything is always about being a good listener first.

    To be a good friend is to be a good listener. Amen!

  26. Brenda says

    Holly: I am looking for a job and competing against 300 applicants for each position and my husband’s work is shaky at best. So, this message really touched me today. I am going to stop freaking out about unemployment and health issues and go to the Lord in prayer, listening prayer.

  27. Corinne says

    Hi Holley,
    I love your webpage, you are of great comfort. I wish I could be as strong as you are, “You’re already amazing”. I had written a little note on your facebook page. I was speaking about the trials I have ahead of me. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be pain free. I have a 3 surgeon surgery coming up in October. I have had 8 surgeries due to 2 very serious car accidents. The first one was in 1989, I was riding through the white mountains of NH with my boss. He was speeding on snow, he lost control and hit a granite ledge, His van rolled over 3 times. I was thrown out. I was very seriously injured and at this point, I have had 3 major back surgeries. All have been very long with rods, screws and spacers placed, and bone fusion over them. This October 29th 2012, I am having my 4th back surgery. 3 surgeons doing two surgeries, in one operation. A team of two will go through my stomach and organs to get to my spine. Then they will turn me over and I will have 2 surgeons operating on my back and pelvis. Each surgery has been due to the breakdown of vertebrae and discs below the implantation of the prior surgeries.In January 2009, I was hit by a drunk driver. I was flown to a major hospital with a fractured neck, broken foot and torn intestine, I had emergency surgery to repair the torn intestine. I was fitted with a lumbar suported neck brace. I have had two surgeries due to complications fron that accident. I have so much I want to do to keep busy and have fun. Do you recommend any particular book for soothing,?
    You have such a greatful love within you. You are very blessed and truly a gift of God to all of us who love you. Thank you for listening to my story. With Love and prayers , Corinne

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