I hear voices—a lot of them.
Sometimes it’s just one voice saying something clearly. Sometimes it’s a muddle of voices. Sometimes it’s like there’s a loud party going on upstairs, and all I hear is a confusing racket. And no matter how many times I hit the ceiling with my broom handle, the din won’t quiet down.
The “voices” are my thoughts.
My personality is introverted and introspective. I’m naturally focused inward, and I’m always reflecting on something. As a dear friend once put it, “You’re like me. You live inside your head.”
And that’s where the “voices” live–all the thoughts I’m always thinking.
Most of my life, I’ve been a passive listener to all of those voices. That’s been a real problem for me, because the voices say contradictory things. Only in recent years have I begun to learn to distinguish one voice from another, and to sift, sort and separate the messages I’m hearing.
This is what I’ve found. There are really only two primary communication sources: 1) The Spirit of Truth and 2) the father of lies. And, although the messengers and the messages may vary, there are two broad categories of communication—truth and lies. It’s a simple matter–but not always an easy practice–to affirm the former and reject the latter. Here’s why:
- The lying enemy runs his operation from the outside (the world system under his influence) and from the inside (our old self).
- The enemy shouts his deception through a multitude of megaphones (cultural attitudes, prevailing philosophies, educational trends, business and political ideologies, unhealthy religious systems)
- The deceiver speaks in the 1st person, seeking our agreement with his lying suggestions.
- The enemy disguises himself by using unwitting couriers to deliver his messages. Sometimes we listen to a lying message because of our misplaced trust in a courier. (a well-meaning friend , a family member, a religious leader)
Here are some things that I’ve learned about interacting with the voices our heads:
- Instead of being passive receivers, we must be alert and engaged. We can’t let a lie just hang there, but must identify it, and actively reject it.
- It is necessary for us to continually affirm the truth. We must speak the truth to lying voices and rehearse the truth to ourselves.
- It will not serve us to settle for intellectual assent to the truth while we live in practical unbelief. We must live in the truth by practicing the truth.
- If we want to hear the soft whisper of the Spirit, we will have to learn to quiet our own spirits.
We also need healthy spiritual community to help us distinguish the voices and develop a discerning ear regarding the messages we’re hearing. Since I’ve entered into healthy community, I’ve noticed it’s not so crowded inside my head anymore. I haven’t had to use my broom handle in a while.
How about you? Do you hear voices?