Do you talk to yourself? On a number of occasions I've seen people talking out loud to some invisible person while standing in line at the grocery store, sitting in a restaurant, walking down the street, waiting for the elevator and even continuing the conversation once they get in. It appears they're talking to themselves, but on closer inspection the white telltale ear buds indicate they're merely on their cell phones. I usually pay no attention unless I overhear a word that interests me. I don't mean to eavesdrop, but my ears perk up when I hear words such as "God," "Jesus," "church," "prayer," or "bible study." Then I listen more intently as there seems to be a part of me that wants to connect with them. Nevertheless, sometimes overhearing these "solo" conversations can be distracting. For example, this has annoyed me when I'm in a restaurant and trying to communicate with someone who's dining with me. Are those people talking on their phones aware that I and others in the restaurant can hear every word? And there are those who talk out loud and I'm quite certain they have no cell phone. In downtown Reno I've seen folks who are either talking out loud to invisible people, talking to the world in general or talking to themselves. Some have mental illnesses which require medical attention; however, not all people who talk to themselves need professional help.
Talking to oneself can be a way of clarifying matters, working out problems and can even be a form of self-care. Talking to one's self is sometimes an outward expression of the inner voice. The power of our inner voice is part of what motivates us and keeps us going. We're probably familiar with Norman Vincent Peale's teachings on The Power of Positive Thinking. Indeed, our minds are complex and contain many inner voices, both positive and negative. The ones we allow to repeat or choose to listen to are the ones that have power over us. Some of the voices in our minds come from our parents, relatives, teachers, friends (ones with positive traits and some without), Facebook, various websites, blogs and other sources. Some voices build us up, some tear down, others lead in a direction that is contrary to the path God has intended. Considering the power of all these voices, I have two questions: What inner voice(s) are you listening to? What inner voice moves you along life's journey?
I watched a Christian movie that dealt with overwhelming obstacles, the power of God and miracles. It's called "Facing the Giants." There is a memorable scene where the football coach asked a player to do something that had never been done before and to do it while he was blindfolded! As the youth began executing the "Death Crawl," the coach stood beside him encouraging him. The coach's voice got louder and louder corresponding to the intensity of the struggle. In the end the coach was down on his hands and knees alongside his player every inch of the way. The coach's voice became the only voice in the player's ears and drowned out the pain that accompanied every agonizing step.
The impossible was made possible because the player drew strength from the power of the coach's voice pounding in his ears. The struggles and limitations we face may be immense but there's power in the voice of God that makes the impossible, possible. Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27) We need to tap into that truth and learn to listen to God's voice. We are never alone. In those extreme times that exhaust every ounce of strength, remember God is as close as our breath. Nothing can separate us from God. NOTHING! And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. (Romans 8:38)
So, I ask again, "Who's voice are you listening to?" Some of you are struggling. If so, let God's voice fill your whole being so that it alone pounds in your ears drowning out the pain of your struggles! For the rest of us, may we learn to recognize God's voice and may we, like Samuel, say, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10)