Listen closely…Do you hear that? That voice…Whose is it?
Every single action that we do has a source of inspiration. There are almost always fairly reasonable explanations that are rooted in some inherited, learned, or otherwise acquired culture. Everything we think, say and do is guided by some unseen thought. These are often times remnants of past experiences and things we’ve seen or experienced before. Sometimes, the voice of a parent or senior relative such as a grandmother seems to reach out to us, reminding us of instructions we would have received in our youth. If we pay very careful attention, we’ll realize that many if not most of the things we do are either directly or indirectly attributable to voices we’ve heard.
How does a Keisha outgrow the teasing by girls her age who antagonize her for how she looks? Sean hears the harsh words of criticism from his peers who bully him and this affects his self-confidence and he grows with identity confusion. You would be surprised how many persons are Keishas and Seans today, even as grown adults. They continue to live every single day, being defined by the voices of the past. As a youngster growing up I would often hear it said “sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never harm me”. Yet as I grew and journeyed through the inevitable and tumultuous teenage years I became painfully aware of how much of a lie that statement is. The words of a parent or spouse often can have life-giving or devastating effects. So many of us hear the phantom voices, those shadows of words being repeated in in our minds in the faintest yet absolutely impactful ways. The voices we hear dictate how we dress, how we smile (and sometimes IF we smile), where we go to school, what career we pursue, among so many other things. I can personally relate to the sense of second guessing my own desires and passions on the basis of my mind replaying voices buried deeply in my consciousness. Sometimes, the voice saying “do” or “don’t”…”you can” or “you can’t”, spoke so long ago that the speaker is now but a mist…a nameless narrator of my life. Yet I find their words no less weighty. The things said can often times have permanent effects on the recipient(s).
Christ taught us saying: “My sheep know my voice, and the voice of a stranger they will not follow” (John chapter 10 verses27-28).
When you first begin to learn the voice of Jesus, you begin to clear your ears of the false voices and irrelevant chatter of voices that seek to determine your destiny. When you know the voice of Jesus, you rely far more on His absolute wisdom rather than allowing the voices to tell you how to live and how to think. He’s a good shepherd and so as His sheep we are called to trust His voice more than our own hearts and minds and the many voices that come with those. Dear reader, how can you live a fulfilling and happy life of peace following so many voices? Imagine standing in a room surrounded by 15 persons, some shouting at you to do their bidding, some whispering this or that or the other thing, how do you focus amidst that racket? The simple answer is, you can’t. It takes the intentional stilling of one’s heart in quietness and trust, sometimes along with withdrawal from the many voices to hear the one voice that really matters. I daresay that most of the confusion we experience in life can be traced to our futile efforts to live up to the expectations and demands of all the voices we’ve heard defining us.
This scripture recalls the words of an old hymn which says, “His voice makes the difference, when He speaks, He relieves my troubled mind”. The believer has the hope that we can hear the resounding and beautiful voice of our master, savior and friend above the tumult of life and the din of voices past and present clamoring for our attention. Our confidence is this, however confused or disoriented we may be, however distracted and lost, He still speaks to calm our hearts, quiet our spirits and settle our souls. His voice has the incredible quality of piercing through the loudest chorus of voices and penetrating our very core to communicate His love.
Quiet your heart today. Tune out the distracting voices and focus on His. Ask Him to speak to you and ask Him to train your ears to discern His voice and grant you the grace to obey whatever He says. Something I’ve learned is this, God always speaks, we just don’t always listen. Today is the day to listen to Him, He is waiting for you so He can speak to you and order your steps.
Victor Brown is a Christian Creative and singer-songwriter from Kingston Jamaica. He enjoys reading and writing as well as creating music. He is currently a law student at the Norman Manley Law School.