Nudgings of God

My novel Dancing on the Whisper of God starts with a predawn “whisper” experienced by a choreographer in San Francisco one morning in 1993. Several people have asked me about this whisper: Was it supposed to be a actual, audible voice? Was it meant to be the voice of God? How believable is it that the Divine Spirit might actually “talk” to people?

This reminds me of something Wayne Dyer said once (and I think he may have been quoting Lilly Tomlin): “Why is it that when we talk to God, it’s called prayer, but when God talks to us, it’s called schizophrenia?”

Well, there’s no schizophrenia in my novel, but there is a fair amount of communication from God. Do I think that God talks to us in actual, audible voices? No. Was the whisper in the book meant to be the voice of God? Yes. How believable is it that the Divine Spirit actually talks to people? Very believable, but the vehicle of the communication can be any number of things.

All of us have had the experience, when something goes wrong, of saying, “I knew I wasn’t supposed to do that! Why didn’t I listen to my intuition?” Or maybe we are thinking of buying something, and there’s a peace we feel in our hearts about the decision. Or maybe someone calls you on the phone and as soon as you hear their idea, your belly gets uneasy. Or maybe it’s a flash of insight offering a resolution to a problem you’ve been having. Or maybe it’s a nudging one day when you’re going through your mail, and you’ve ignored a dozen different requests for charitable giving, but then comes one that you just feel compelled to respond to. Or maybe you have a dream that gives you, in symbol form, the exact answer you were seeking.

All of these, I would say, are “whispers” of God. The King James version of the Bible calls it a “still small voice” [I Kings 19:12]. The NIV calls it “a gentle whisper.”

Where in your life have you been receiving the gift of a nudging from God? Have you learned to pay attention?

If you are in or near Seattle, above is your invitation to a reading from Dancing on the Whisper of God set for April 30. I’d love to see you there! If the link at the top of this post isn’t working, visit: www.dancingonthewhisperofgod.com.

           

Second Chances

Many of the New Testament parables are familiar to everyone, but this morning I came across one in Luke that I’ve never noticed before. It goes like this:

“A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

“‘Sir, the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'”

I can’t tell you what Jesus meant to convey with this parable, but it speaks to me about the promises and the constraints of second chances.

First, there are the “second chances” the tree has already had. The fig tree owner had given the tree three years’ worth of chances to bear fruit. When it failed the first year, he gave it two more years to produce before he was ready to cut it down. But in those two years, nothing was done to aid the tree’s ability to produce. Now,┬áthe vineyard tender will take it upon himself to aerate the soil around the tree and add the nutrients the tree is apparently lacking. This is how one avoids wasting a second chance.

Where in your life are you being offered a second chance? Could be that it’s only one more “do over” in a whole string; could be that it’s your last chance. In either case, it’s your opportunity to figure out a better way.

What do you see in this parable?