Our inner life — it’s the most important thing about us. As our spiritual GPS, it is the source of all authenticity, intimacy, love, joy, adventure, meaning, courage and purpose. But different voices take up residence in our innermost places. Some helpful and true while others toxic and false. Perhaps that is why a man ned Solomon from the Bible spoke these words for wise living:
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
This is an exhortation to be aware and awake to our inner worlds — to watch over our hearts like a security guard watches over the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. The more we do this, the more we will be able to hear the whispers of our hearts and God’s heart for us, which is pure goodness for ourselves, our homes and those around. Below is a deeper dive into these voices and some reflection exercises to help you along the journey of becoming more aware and awake to the voices within.
#1 TOXIC VOICES
These are whispering lies of guilt, shame, fear, perfectionism, comparison and condemnation — typically external messages we have internalized from others. Any of these voices familiar to you?
• I can never change.
• If people knew who I really was ...
• I am flawed.
• God will never forgive me.
• I am not as good as other people.
• I should be ...
• I’m stuck like this.
• If I don’t take care of it no one will.
• If only ______ was different.
• I am not enough …
• I am too much …
• I can’t be wrong because people might see I am flawed.
• Who do you think you are?
• I’m not as _____ as ______.
• I can’t believe you did/said that!
• Remember when ...
•I should be able to do more.
It can be difficult and feel vulnerable to look at these voices. So if that was your experience in reading through the list above, it’s OK! Perhaps today is just receiving the grace of some awareness. When you are ready and able, I encourage you to shift any shame you are feeling into a posture of curiosity of where these voices came from and/or invite a safe other into this conversation to help support you.
- Which of the above voices resonate with you?
#2 SOUL VOICE
These are whispers of the truth of who we are, not who we think we should be or wish we could be. It is the place of connection to ourselves and our longings and desires. The soul voice leads to movement and freedom but it can get pushed down and buried quickly.
Take a moment to respond to the prompts below to help you get in touch with your soul voice.
• What do I need today?
• What is bringing me joy in this season?
• What is draining me in this season?
• I feel most alive when …
• What did I enjoy doing as a child, preteen, teenager?
• When was the last time I cried? What was it about?
• Who am I/Who am I not?
#3 GOD'S VOICE
These are whispers of truth, comfort, consolation and conviction. However, hearing God’s voice can feel tricky sometimes and can involve shame, pain and/or confusion.
• Shame in the sense of feeling like we have a hard time “hearing” God’s voice.
• Pain in the sense that we thought we heard God’s voice but things didn’t pan out like we thought they would.
• Confusion in knowing the difference between God’s voice and our own imagination and desires.
Being honest with where you are is a great place to start if any of the above statements resonate with you. And if this voice feels overwhelming or defeating to you, then perhaps inviting a therapist, pastor, friend or spiritual director into the conversation might be helpful. In the meantime, here are some anchors to help remind you of what God’s voice does sound like:
God’s Voice Says . . .
I am worthy.
I am loved. I am safe.
I am accepted.
I am significant.
I am human and make mistakes.
I am forgiven.
I am chosen.
I am ________________.*
A Scripture passage that can help calibrate our inner worlds to the timbre of God’s voice of love is 1 Corinthians 13. Take a moment to read over the following phrases slowly several times and then consider the questions below.
God . . .
You love me with patience.
You love me with kindness.
You love me with acceptance.
You love me with humility.
You love me with gentleness.
You love me with freedom.
You love me with unhurried serenity.
You love me with infinite forgiveness.
You love me in the blossoming of truth.
You always cocoon me in your love.
You see the best in me.
You always persevere with me.
Your love with me will never end.**
- Which phrase above stood out to you?
- What does it look and feel like to be loved by God in this way?
- When finished, write down the phrase or phrases that resonated with you in the chart to the right.
Way to go in carving out some time to skim, read, think and/or reflect today!
- What is your biggest takeaway from this time?
- Is there someone in your life that you can share your reflections with?
- Do you need any professional support to help you with any of these voices?
PRAYER OF BLESSING
May God’s voice of love, truth and grace become louder and more deeply embedded in your heart in the season of mothering you find yourself in today. Amen.
Worthy: 1 Peter 2:9-10, Loved: Ephesians 3:18-19, Safe: Psalm 3:1-3, Accepted: Romans 15:7, Significant: Luke 12:6-7, Humistakes: Isaiah 43:25, Forgiven: 1 John 1:9, Chosen: Ephesians 1:3-4
**Exercise adapted from Sheryl Fleisher
Article was written for and published in The MOPS Magazine, Spring 2022, www.mops.org