You Know I Can Hear You, Right?


I glance at the clock. It is 2:03 a.m.

It’s too quiet in the house. I don’t hear any deep-sleep breathing beside me.

Jeff must be awake, too.

I feel him lean over his side of the bed to grab his phone. He must have been awake awhile. He is going to listen to his audiobook to put him back to sleep. It’s a mystery story, but it won’t be intriguing enough to keep him awake.

I see the light flicker on his phone. The earbuds go in. He hits play.

And then?

Is It Really Hidden?

What we do in private may seem like our own business. We think our inner life is invisible to the world. We believe we can keep sections of ourselves cut off from public viewing.

We think it’s possible to have bad thoughts and bad feelings about someone behind their back, and then good behavior to their face.

But can we really? Are we that good at fooling others? At fooling ourselves?

Can we ever fool God?

It Ripples Out

In reality, our private selves are never truly private.

Even if we don’t speak out loud every word we’re thinking, our inner thought life still makes noise in the outside word.

Who we are in private is revealed in public.

We’re not as successful at acting as we think we are. Perhaps we can masquerade some of who we are, but our most basic character eventually becomes known.

That makes it all the more important that we get it together in private.

Cultivating a healthy spiritual life is an investment worth making. For our own sakes. For our relationship with God. For our relationships with others.

Jesus lived authentically. Jesus was authentically kind, authentically good, authentically loving. He was the same on the outside as he was on the inside.

Because Jesus lived clean and whole, the ripples he sent out were clean and whole, too.

Our lives have ripples too.

Sometimes our ripples are heard more loudly and clearly than our actual voices. Even when we think no one is listening or paying attention to us, our ripples are still flowing outward, floating on and on.

I Hear You

As soon as Jeff hits play on his phone, I suddenly become fully awake!

His audiobook isn’t playing only through his earbuds like he thinks. The sound is coming out directly through his phone’s speaker.

I am hearing every word of his mystery, too.

I wait a few seconds. Still playing. A few seconds more. Still playing.

I finally nudge Jeff:

“You know I can hear that, right?”

No. He didn’t know. He thought only he could hear it. He wasn’t aware that his earbuds weren’t properly plugged in.

We laugh about it, and he apologizes. He makes the correct cord/port connection this time and all goes silent again in my world as only he can now hear his book.

May we never mistake that we’re the only ones who can hear the voices in our head.

Others may not hear our literal words, but they’ll still get the message.

  • Through the way we treat others.
  • Through the way we talk to others.
  • Through the way we love others.

We all are listening.

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Further Reading:

31 thoughts on “You Know I Can Hear You, Right?

  1. Martha J Orlando

    Such a great analogy, Lisa! Yes, our inner selves are more revealing to the world than we might think. May we be aware of our thoughts and intentions, and be ready to reflect upon them.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree with you, Martha. It’s always helpful when we’re aware of our own thoughts and intentions, even when it’s painful to discover what’s really in there. I don’t always like to see behind the curtain, but it’s important information to work through.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That reminds me of a book I read in the 1990s (maybe?) by Barbara Johnson about splashing joy on others. That would be a good splash! πŸ™‚ But so often we get splashed and splash out yucky things instead when we don’t take care of what’s inside us.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know there have been many times in my life where I thought I was successfully disguising my real feelings, but the other person sensed something was going on anyway. It’s better just to face it and deal with it directly, when possible.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      My husband doesn’t usually listen to a book to go to sleep, but he did that night. Me, on the other hand? I often will plug in my podcasts to help me go back to sleep. The key is remembering to set the sleep timer on the app to shut off after 15 or 30 minutes. πŸ˜‰ And not to listen to anything TOO interesting. lol.

  2. Laurie

    Your story about Jeff and his earbuds reminded me of something that happened with Bill and me a few years ago. He was doing some online research about buying a new car before he told me he was thinking about getting one. But his Google search terms showed up in my search history, so I wasn’t surprised at all when he approached me about buying a new car. Ha! There are very few secrets these days.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      lol. That’s a great story, Laurie. And I suppose the surprise came when you saw it in your search history! πŸ™‚ Nowadays it seems that Google knows what we are even *thinking* of searching before we even search it. Definitely fewer secrets. We’re easier to predict than we realize. ha.

  3. Donna

    Thank you Lisa for the amusing story and great wisdom in the object lesson! The truth you speak is crucial for us to remember because lulling ourselves into the false security that our thoughts are safely tucked away where no one “sees” them not only hurts others, but ourselves as well, for we deceive ourselves into coddling sin. The verse “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:34) comes to mind. Because whatever we think we’re “hiding” eventually comes out.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Excellent scripture to add to the conversation, Donna. You’re right that deceiving ourselves is a danger we create when we think we can ‘get by’ with living two lives, an internal one and an external one. Granted, we don’t need to spew out every ugly thought we have about a person, but having the thought itself should be our trigger that we have internal work to do.

      1. Donna

        You know, Lisa, I have been thinking about this over the past couple of days. I like the aspect of even having the thought should be a red flag; when I do head down an ugly or judgmental road in my thoughts about someone, I consider whether I want that thought to be public knowledge, because eventually if I coddle it, it will be. Better to make that correction while it still lives in my mind!

  4. Anita Ojeda

    I learned this lesson the hard way on a bus in Geneva, Switzerland. All the seats were taken and I said to my traveling companions, “If that man would hold his kid on his lap, one of us could sit down.” I figured since I was in a foreign country, only my companions would understand me. Nope. The man said, “My kid and I are getting off at the next stop.” I was mortified.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ouch! We’ve all had “foot in mouth” syndrome at various times. Along those lines, I know I’m in a danger zone if I’m having to really watch who I’m sending a text to, lest it be sent to the wrong person. Perhaps I didn’t need to be saying that thing to start off with? Thanks for this great example, Anita.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      For better or worse, right? πŸ™‚ We’re not always immediately found out, but then again, the thing we try to hide may be the first aspect of our character that someone else notices.

  5. ~ linda

    OUCH! I just had a friend call me to check on me. She is on the phone about 5 miles away yet she says something that made me know she heard me say something to myself about another person. But she heard it in a nondescript way. She did not hear the exact words but she knew where I was at in my heart. She asked to pray about that part of me that judged another. Oh yes, please!
    You are right, Lisa. Our walk, talk, love/nonlove, and even our thoughts are heard via some form of our communication. I pray for myself.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “She did not hear the exact words but she knew where I was at in my heart.” This can happen more often than we know! Your friend was courageous in talking to you about it. I’m thankful for friends who know us from the inside out, and love us anyway. πŸ™‚

  6. Theresa Boedeker

    It all comes out and can be seen by others. So true. Sometimes I think we are like toddlers putting our hands in front of our face and saying, “You can’t see me.” When clearly everyone can see us. And often more plainly than we see it ourselves.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      lol. That’s a great analogy, Theresa. I think about my 3-year-old granddaughter hiding behind the couch, then telling me to come find her behind the couch. πŸ™‚ We’re not as invisible either as we think we are.

  7. Jean Wise

    wow and I think I hid that inner stuff well but you are so right. Our live do have ripples and even those most inward places peek out. Thanks for the thoughtful wisdom !

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, yes, that ripple effect. Even if we think we sneak something by, the ripples from it go out and we can’t control those even when we try. It’s better to just let God work with us from the inside out and not have to deal with so many negative after-effects.

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