Monday, November 3, 2014

When Not To Listen - By Natalie McNee

My daughter was reading “The Trouble with Larry” from the Mess Detectives series to me tonight. This particular story focuses on listening to God, your parents and teachers etc and highlights that trouble occurs when you don’t listen or pay attention. I thought to myself how true that statement was for when you don’t listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit – trouble seems to flood towards you. I thought that this would be a good subject to write about but then God flipped it and showed me when I should not listen and who I should not listen to – the voice of the enemy. 

His voice loves to pop up and it likes to shout louder than any other voice, sometimes his voice is so loud that you wonder if God is even talking to you at all because you can’t hear it through the racket inside your head. Jesus said that His sheep know His voice and they will not follow the voice of the stranger. He pre-warned us that His voice is not the only one we would hear. We would hear the stranger’s voice too but that we are not meant to believe what the stranger’s voice is telling us.

Unfortunately we tend to believe that strangers voice all too often and it becomes familiar to us and then we find it hard to distinguish who is actually talking to us. As writers we tend to be very critical of our work in the first place, added to our own criticism is the judgements of critique groups and publishers. We tend to take to heart any negative criticisms that we receive and believe that they must be true. The enemy loves to play on this negative feedback, he will often tell you things like, “You’re not qualified to write that” or “Are you sure God called you to be a writer because that was terrible?” or “How can you write about something of which you have no experience?” and so on. He likes to create doubts in our own minds causing us to question whether we really are good enough to be writers.

So how do you determine whose voice it is you are hearing? For me it comes down to two things; is the voice producing fear in me or is the voice filling me with love? The enemy’s voice says that I’m a terrible writer, that I won’t amount to anything and that everyone is going to ridicule me. I don’t want to be ridiculed or be labelled as a bad writer – I fear what others think of me. So clearly this is not the voice of God.

God’s voice encourages you, He guides you and even if you do not quite make it to the standard that you believe you should be aiming for God is proud of what you are doing.  I’d like to remind those that may question their validity to be a writer that God called you to this position. He gave you the gift to write. He qualified you to be a writer. Your validity doesn’t come from the last pay check you received or the last award you won, your validity comes from God who created you and gifted you to write. You are worthy because God says you are worthy. Even if no other person reads your writing, just know that because you wrote it out of a love for God and believing that God told you to write it you are qualified to be titled as a writer.

Photo by:
By stockimages, published on 17 November 2013
Stock Photo - image ID: 100218374

Natalie is a freelance copywriter and ghostwriter servicing the Christian market. She is also proudly a Child Advocate Network supporter with Compassion and volunteers for the Street Chaplains in her free time. To connect with her on various social networks please visit her website


  1. Thanks for that Natalie. That's a really powerful message. It's so easy to hear that negative voice and doubt yourself as a writer. I love the way you've clearly shown how to distinguish whether you're hearing God's voice or the enemy's. I think it's good to remember that we're in a spiritual battle as Christian writers. The enemy would not want any of us to share God's love in our writing. But if God is directing us, He will help us on our writing journeys. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Hi Natalie, yes our life is full of competing directions and it takes discernment to work out the will of God within it all. I like the two factors to help us focus on what is right and true; is it fear or love? Thank you for the reminder.

  3. Amen, Natalie. Thanks for the important reminder and perspective.

  4. Thanks Natalie. The problem is when that negative voice taps into my own insecurities, and then I come into agreement with him. Until then I can sweep him away. Thanks for making the point that we are all called to write, and gifted by God. Otherwise shy would we be reading this site! Appreciate the warm word hug this morning.

  5. Great post Natalie. I agree that sometimes it is very hard to distinguish between God's voice and the enemy's voice. It is too easy to listen to the wrong person isn't it? I also liked how your clarified the difference between the two.

    Listening is so important and yet that's something I have taken time to learn. May the Holy Spirit continue to speak and encourage us so we in turn can write and bless His world. :)

  6. Thanks for your wise words in this post, Natalie. I have certainly heard that accusing voice of the enemy loud and clear throughout my writing journey, but one thing that helps me is to keep my Bible open on my desk beside my computer as I write. That way, I can remind myself of the encouraging things God says to me in it when those moments of doubt come.

  7. Thanks for the kind comments everyone. That's also a great idea Jo-Anne :)

  8. Thanks Natalie. Sometimes God does correct us but the fruit of God's correction is so different from the Enemy's critical voice as it lifts us up to be more like him rather than tears us down in discouragement and despair. Thanks for the reminder not to listen to that cynical voice. :)

  9. Hi Natalie,
    Great encouragement for everyone. That voice of the enemy does seem to boom very loud at times. As you say, whether or not it creates fear in us is a good gauge.