A Travel Guide for Life, Faith, and Relationships!
Note: I take mental illness seriously. This post title and topic is not written tongue-in-cheek regarding those who do wrestle with hearing voices due to mental illness. However, and as you will read in the blog, we all have “voices” we must identify and deal with to be emotionally and spiritually healthy.
We all have voices in our head.
Every day and often throughout your day you hear them, and typically you don’t even think twice about the words you hear in your mind.
First, you have something called your self-talk.
This is the voice in your head that is the internal positive or negative conversation happening in the background, and it happens frequently.
“Why did she look at me that way?”
“How many times am I going to screw this up before I get it right?”
“If I get off the freeway now, maybe I can avoid all this traffic.”
Self-talk is a blend of conscious and subconscious thoughts, beliefs, and values. Unfortunately, too many people are prone to pessimistic self-talk which negatively influences how they feel and behave.
You often have the voice of others in your head as well.
This voice is similar to self-talk in that it’s frequently in the background, but these are the words of other people which your brain replays when you find yourself in a particular situation.
Maybe you’re trying something new or taking a risk and you hear the voice of your father, “You’ll never amount to anything.”
It could be that you do something stupid or make an honest mistake, and you hear your mother’s voice say, “How many times did I tell you not to do that?”
Or perhaps you’re facing a new challenge with unusual confidence because you hear the voice of an old coach saying, “I believe in you! You can do this!”
The voice of others plays a critical part in your life because these voices tend to reinforce your conscious or subconscious beliefs and values.
Then, of course, there are the spiritual voices in your life.
Even if you don’t think you’re a spiritual person, it’s hard to deny that there does seem to be an “angel” on one shoulder and a “devil” on the other whispering into your soul and encouraging you to go one direction or the other.
Christians believe God’s Holy Spirit is a voice in our minds and hearts that guides us, protects us, and leads us into life and truth (John 16:13; Acts 13:2; Romans 8:14). The voice of the Holy Spirit is a gift from God meant to help us and to mold us into the image of His Son.
However, there is also the voice of the enemy, Satan, whom we are warned about in Scriptures (2 Cor. 11:3). This voice contradicts the Word, creates fear or confusion rather than peace, and brings you down by accusing you.
“Did God really mean that you couldn’t ever do that?”
“You’ve failed too many times to be used by God for anything.”
For the record, none of the voices I’ve mention is due to mental illness. All of them, however, are powerful and can encourage us or defeat us.
Here’s what is most important: You choose the voices you will listen to.
At the very least, you can choose to turn down the volume of the negative voices that distract and discourage you.
When you hear a voice that deflates, whether it’s your self-talk, your parent’s, or the enemy’s, you must learn to discern where that voice is coming from and replace the lies with truth, the negative with a positive, and the disheartening with words of hope.
This exercise of discernment and redirection isn’t easy, but it starts with a choice to fix your mind on things above. (Check out Colossians 3:1-3.)
Above this world.
Above your past or even present situation.
Above your old nature that is now dead in Christ.
You can choose to listen to the One voice that always speaks the truth in love and the One voice that calls you to remember who you are because of Jesus.
“Brothers and sisters, I’ll wrap this up by reminding you how important it is to fix your heart and mind on what is true about yourself now in Christ. Meditate on the honorable, on what is truth, on what is pure and holy and good. Stay focused on what is praiseworthy because there is much to be thankful for in your life.”
Philippians 4:8 (Bubna Paraphrase)