We hear voices in our heads all the time.
Hearing voices doesn’t make us crazy (at least not all of us). Most of the time we’re hearing ourselves . . . we’re giving ourselves instructions, thinking about what we have to do next, thinking about people we care about, or mulling things over.
But there are other voices. Maybe not all the time, but a lot.
My dad’s voice shows up every once in a while. “You can’t do anything right!” curdles the blood in my veins for a second. Coach Vann’s voice from when I threw up at 8th-grade basketball tryouts, “I was afraid of that!” (Interpretation: “I knew you didn’t have what it takes.”) Or the voice of the AT&T executive railing in front of a new boss and a room full of VP’s, melting away their respect with words heated in hell for immediate delivery.
Then there’s the voice of the evil one himself. Sounds like me, but it’s not.
Some call it the inner accuser. Its whole vocabulary is made up of hurtful words. It nags at me, especially when I’ve been too busy to pray, worship, read my Bible, and spend time with God. It’s not overt until someone does or says something I don’t like. Then it speaks, either about that person or about me. “See, she doesn’t really care about you . . . she’s just thinking about herself.” “Do you really think you’re different now, Regi? You’re the same selfish pig you’ve always been!” “Do you realize what a religious fanatic you are? People think you’re a fruitcake, always talking about God and stuff!”
Others call Satan the imposter because he’s so good at making his voice sound like God’s. And being the father of lies, he’s continually whispering his deceptive crap into our heads, trying to confuse us about who we really are. If the father of evil can get us to believe we’re the same as we were before we met Jesus, his chances of leading us back into the stuff we use to do goes way up. When we stay close to Jesus and remember we’re different now . . . that we’re new creations in Christ, we’re less tempted to go the way of the world.
We want to hear that still small voice. The one that says, “I love you . . . you’re a new creation in Me . . . it’s going to be alright . . . I’m right here . . . no matter how bad it looks, you’ll get through this, because I’m with you . . . you’re Mine . . . I’ll never let go of you . . . you have not slipped away from Me, no matter what you’ve done . . . and you never will.”
But we can’t hear a small voice in a large crowd. We have to devote focused time to being with God. Alone. Silent. Attentive. Humble. Open. Without ambition. Listening for His voice in the stillness. God wants to speak to us. “My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus says. But we have to withdraw from other conversations . . . from other voices if we are to hear His.
When you hear one of those other voices blurting out painful accusations, remember to pray. In the very moment of distraction, cry out to Jesus. Ask Him to quiet those voices so you can hear His. He loves you, extravagantly.
He wants us to hear His voice, but we have to make time to listen.
Scripture: And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20b)