I know you hear them too.
Turn on the TV to another talking head telling you their opinion about something or someone. Login to Facebook to another blog about the dangers of donuts, why this politician is the Antichrist, why we’re good moms (even though they don’t know us), or why the Titanic is a conspiracy.
Voices saying why we need a pet (a rescue pet of course) because it lowers blood pressure. You also have that book idea you have been sitting on for years and all you need to do is sacrifice some more sleep so you can write just a page a night. You also need to budget, create more wealth, run 5 miles a day, take time for your hobbies, take care of yourself- but not too much or you’ll become vain. There’s another romance movie telling you your husband isn’t good enough, another magazine article reminding you of your son’s inabilities, and another co-worker traipsing through Europe. More voices telling me what I don’t have and how my life doesn’t measure up. And don’t forget to pray that hour a day along with bible reading, scripture memorization, and worship. Oh, and are you resting?
Don’t get me wrong, most of these things are not bad. However, what I have discovered over the years is that I have allowed way too many voices into my head and in turn have put too much pressure upon myself. All this pressure has made me self-conscious and too busy.
In January, our church did a 40 day corporate fast. My fast? You guessed it, VOICES. After 8 am I shut off the car radio with no music or talk radio. I cut back on my social media supply because all I heard all day long were the voices, and it was pushing out the main voice I needed to hear: God’s.
That forty days was one of the best prayer times I have ever had. I drew closer to God and I felt I was hearing His voice more than anyone else’s. However, I have gotten back into the rat race of busyness and listening to everyone else. Here are some steps I am taking to de-clutter my brain so I may hear what God wants me to do and not what everyone else thinks I should be doing.
- SOCIAL MEDIA. Not having Facebook in this day in age is like being a missionary to another country without knowing the language- it’s just how our culture communicates. However, you might need to cut back. I went through my ‘likes’ and ‘unliked’ a bunch of pages that were just not necessary in my life. I also removed the app from my phone. Having an app is way too easy to get into other people’s drama. This way if I really need to get on, I’ll do it the long way. Also, turn off all app notifications. Is it necessary to know every time Kohl’s is having a sale?
- RADIO AND TV: Just turn it off. If you want to make sure you are up and up on the news, watch it in the morning and then turn it off. If you are like me I blast AM radio every time I’m in the car, and really, it’s just more voices.
- SUBSCRIPTIONS: Clean out your subscriptions whether it is your e-mail list or your magazine list. Do you need one more magazine reminding you of the nice house you do not have? Do you really have time to read that blog that comes into your email every week or day?
- KEEP YOUR FOCUS: I have not only cleaned out my email list of articles to now just areas I’m focusing on, but my books as well. Sure, that Andy Stanley book looks really awesome, but does it pertain to my life right now? I really could learn something from him, he’s awesome. However, right now I’m not a senior pastor trying to rear my congregation. My focus is children and families, so are my book choices reflecting this?
- A SELECT FEW: Everyone has an opinion, and we need to hear those opinions in our line of work. Praise is awesome, but you can only grow to the amount of criticism you can handle. However, this does not mean that all criticism is from the Lord. If you don’t agree with the constructive criticism then take it to prayer and your select few that you trust to speak into your life. You may be able to understand a situation better with your ‘wise counsel’.
PRAY WITH ME, SISTERS
“Dear Lord, forgive me where I have placed other voices above yours. I ask God that you would show me areas in my life I need to de-clutter in order to make more room for you and to actually live my life. Show me the areas of busyness I need to move away from to not be so consumed by ‘stuff’ but so I can be more consumed by you. In Jesus Name, AMEN.”
What are you doing right now to clear out some of the voices cluttering your brain? I’d love to hear them!