June 30, 2010
"You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him."
Deuteronomy 13:4 (NASB)
A committee of voices live in my head. Most days they are quiet. However, when a pivotal decision develops, they all want to chime in with their points of view. All the personalities clash and clang about, making a ruckus rather than a decision. Here's an example of the conversations that might be heard on any given day.
Miss Scaredy-cat whispers, "Don't do it. You'll fail."
Mrs. I Can Do shouts, "Go ahead. Go for it! What's the worst thing that can happen?"
Ms. Prideful says, "What will other people think? I wonder what they will say?"
Miss Procrastination states, "Just wait to make the decision. Wait another day."
Now I know that Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27, NIV). Yet, I admit sometimes His beloved voice gets lost in the clatter of "The Committee." I lean toward being a type-A personality with lots of ideas and dreams. So, my own strong personality voices are difficult to squelch. Unfortunately, God's voice is usually the quietest whisper among the din of fear, pride and procrastination.
The Committee visits me frequently, and the bigger the decision, the more noise erupts in my thoughts. Life-changing choices create the biggest clash of voices. Decisions concerning relational conflicts, career changes, and ministry efforts generate non-stop thoughts in me.
So how do I keep The Committee subdued? For myself, I have found that I need to physically go to a place of quiet where I can sit and listen to God. I take my Bible and read a few Psalms. I sit. I wait. I still my mind. Eventually (it takes time), my spirit and my personality calm down and then I can begin to discern God's quiet voice. The Committee takes a recess and God takes command. When His voice is in control, I feel the "peace that passes understanding." It enables me to think rationally without all the emotional inner dialogue.
Although the decision making process will never be easy for me, I can make the process more palatable by listening for God's direction. I need to appoint the Holy Spirit as the chairperson. I must sit quietly and still The Committee in my head so that I am able to discern the whisper of God.
Dear Lord, quiet my thoughts. Teach me to sit still and listen. Train me to hear Your voice. Grant me the ability to discern Your thoughts and will for my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Embraced by the Father: Finding Grace in the Names of God by Susanne Scheppmann
More peace and perspective is offered with our Radio program White Noise
10-Minute Time Outs for Busy Women by Grace Fox
Determine to set aside 30 minutes for a time of stillness. Choose a quiet place to sit and reflect. Read three or four Psalms. Close your eyes and listen. Ask God to speak to your heart.
Do I consider making decisions a difficult process? Why or why not?
What types of "voices" try to influence my choices?
When a decision needs to be made, do I try to listen to the God's voice?
Isaiah 28:23, "Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say." (NIV)
Psalms 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." (KJV)
1 Kings 19:11-13, "The LORD said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" (NIV)
© 2010 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 30 June 2010.