Sunday, November 20, 2011

Voices: Theirs, Ours and His


The burning kink in my neck increased in exponential increments with every tick of the clock as the pleasant, feminine tones of the instructor's voice competed with the loud, steady, humming drone of the air conditioner. Seated in sideways configuration, I had to turn my head sharply to my left to see the teacher and her power point at the front of the room--it was a long (but productive) three hours.

My first class of my return to my education was an orientation to college life and an introduction to many requirements, programs and resources I will need to be a successful college student. I listened carefully, trying to be a sponge to soak up all the information and taking notes where necessary. I've been out of this game for a VERY LONG TIME and I didn't want to miss a thing!

Later that evening, in an offhand conversation with someone I'd just met, I encountered another voice, one that, with the best of intentions, told me the profession I am pursuing is too competitive, it will take too long to achieve, maybe I should think about something else--he didn't say the words, but the air was crackling with them anyway--[at my age].

This voice I will not listen to. I already know where it leads.

It was a long ago offhand remark, from a voice with the best of intentions, that derailed me right after graduation when I first dreamed of becoming a high school English teacher. My mistake was in listening to that remark and taking it to heart, over and over again.

Sometimes even friendly voices can,
like a swirling autumn wind,
blow us in the wrong direction.


How can you tell if the wind that blows to sway you is the voice of wisdom or the voice of hindrance? If even those with our best interest at heart can sometimes unwittingly say the wrong things, things that discourage us from staying in pursuit of our dreams, how do we decide whom to listen to?

For all of us, no matter what age we are, whether we're in college or in the workplace or retired, whether we know where our dreams are taking us or are still trying to figure it out, we will all be faced with so many voices that will try to influence our thinking. What filter will we use to discern the voices to ignore from the voices to give our full attention to?

Psalm 29 tells us many things about the voice of God.  The same Psalm that tells us this:

3 "The voice of the LORD is over the waters; 
   the God of glory thunders, 
   the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. 
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; 
   the voice of the LORD is majestic."


concludes with this:

11 "The LORD gives strength to his people; 
   the LORD blesses his people with peace."


It helps me to think of the lion Aslan in C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. A picture of Christ, Aslan is both fierce and gentle, and his voice is at once unimaginably powerful and unutterably tender. Aslan opens my imagination to see how our God can speak in a voice of thunder and also speak peace into the hearts of His people. And what can we expect to hear from this thunderously peaceful voice? Proverbs tells us a little something about why it should be easy to listen to the voice of God:

"For the LORD gives wisdom, 
   and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding."

Proverbs 2:6 NIV1984

Voices . . . voices . . . "their" voices, His voice, what about my voice?  I am struck by the thought that it is not only the importance of which voice I listen to, but whether I let God hear my voice in prayer--do I lift my voice to pour out my questions to Him? Do I use my voice to ask Him for His wisdom and guidance and clarity, or do I too often waste time talking to myself or seeking "expert" voices through a Google search? Do I give Him the preeminent place in the classroom as He deserves or does He come somewhere down the list of people I consult for answers and advice? If He's standing at the front of the room, do I tear my eyes away from the mirror and from the people across the aisle and ignore the distracting noise of the world to turn my head fully to focus on Him?

In an age when information is so plentiful it nearly beats down the door to our minds, I pray that we will be a people who, more than ever, know how to be discerning about the voices we allow to influence us, a people who first lift our voices in prayer to seek wisdom from the God who has all of it there is in all the world, and a people who would learn to love and listen to the wondrous voice of the God who knows and loves us completely.

________________________________

Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"

#896-910
896. Getting to be a sounding board for Drummer Boy
897. Getting to be the go-to mom for She So Sweet's friends
898. Waiting to enjoy the game on DVR with Hero Husband when he got home from his board meeting
899. The music of Camelot
900. Big blocks of uninterrupted time
901. She So Sweet's new friend with the warm smile, open heart and sweet spirit
902. Delicious pairing of fall flavors, pumpkin and cranberry
903. The joy that comes from 'paying it forward'--Blessed to be a Blessing
904. Two-mile walk with a dog named Sparky
905. Lunch with Hero Husband at his invitation
906. Getting to surprise Drummer Boy with something he's waited for a long time!
907. My college orientation class--I'm so excited!
908. Sabbath Breakfast at church . . . Lovely food and easy fellowship
909. Car full of She So Sweet's friends going to church with us
910. Hearing big dreams from fresh-faced young people, and feeling just like they do

   Beauty in His Grip Button


On In Around button

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