I was sitting in a restaurant tonight with Brett, Sherrie, Pam, and Gary, the group I joined on Saturday buying gasoline. As I listened to Sherrie, and others, it struck me how many different voices I could listen to at one time. Sherrie was telling me how things were going in her life, and as she was talking, I could hear Gary’s voice in the background, and was also able to simultaneously understand some of what he was telling Pam. Brett was off paying the bill, so I couldn’t hear him.

What’s the point of this, Tom? Hang on, there is a point.

How many voices do you listen to? How many voices do you hear? As I drove home tonight, I was talking with Ally, and we briefly talked about the voice of truth. Do you know where I am going with this now?

So….how many voices do you hear?

Here is a small list of the voices I hear:

The Voice of Truth: This is Jesus, and sometimes, He comes through loud and clear. Other times I barely hear Him. But the things He says to me are always true. Maybe they aren’t really believable, but believable has nothing to do with Jesus. He is the truth, and whatever He says is, well…..truth. His is the voice that says, “You can do this, Tom.” Or “Tell that young man that everything is going to be okay.” His is the voice inside of my mind and heart, telling me, “Never will I leave you, nor will I abandon you. You are worth more than many sparrows, and I love you.” Strangely, I do not ever hear Jesus say, “Tom!!!! How could you!!!! Don’t you know that angers me!!!??”

The voice of Tom: This is the voice I hear loudest. I believe this voice is me without Christ, but I can’t prove it. This voice is an asshole, most of the time. And when he isn’t an asshole, he is as arrogant as the day is long. This is the voice you do not want to hear when he is angry. He is likely to tell you exactly what he thinks of you. He has not much pleasant to say, he is judgmental, and unkind. He never has a good word to say about me. He is ever telling me about things I could have done better, things I should have done, and things I know I shouldn’t have. This voice is familiar, but unwanted. He is cold, calculating, and extremely smart. He is a Pharisee. That is why I call him the Pharisee. He can make the best of occurrences seem like hell. I don’t like him, but it seems like I hear him all of the time.

The Voice of Flesh: This voice can be very loud at times, even drowning out the Pharisee. He chases after everything that feels good, and he isn’t silent until he is either satisfied, or run out of town. The trouble is, he isn’t easily satisfied, and the more he gets, the more he wants. This voice could easily take over an entire day, week, or month. He gets louder the more I listen to him, and he seems to make more sense than all the other voices, especially if he can muffle the Pharisee and the Voice of Truth. I cannot reason with him, he will not listen. He only wants what he wants, and he will stop at nothing to get it. He comes to me as a friend, but leaves me the moment trouble arrives, usually trouble caused by him. He likes to look at things and people, he likes to compare, and stare. He could spend days making certain he FEELS good. He is all about good times, and doesn’t care a whit about anyone else. He is dying, he knows it, and he doesn’t like it. He will make me pay for killing him.

The Voice of Fear: This one is not often heard from anymore. However, when he speaks, people listen. He can turn hope into death, if I give him my ear long enough. He can persuade me to stay away from adventure, from love, and from anything that might hurt me. I have heard his list of things that can harm a thousand times, and it grows every time he speaks. I can only deal with him in one way; I have to face him, tell him to shut up, and go away. If I give ear to him, he will succeed. He holds my life and my heart as ransom. Of all the voices I hear, when he speaks, he can shout as loud as the roaring ocean, easily drowning out every other voice. He will not venture into unknown places, and he will try everything he knows to keep my body and heart hostage. There isn’t anything he isn’t afraid of, if I give him time to think about it. He is a coward, and he is afraid of losing my ear.

The Voice of Me, Me, Me: You might think this is the same voice as Flesh, but you’d be wrong. Me, Me, Me doesn’t care about feeling good nearly as much as he cares about people knowing how he feels. His strongest desire is to see that I get the credit due me, and no amount of advertising ever seems enough. If you cross me, Me, Me, Me will tell me to let you know about it. Me, Me, Me is the one speaking when I decide SOMEONE has to tell you that you are wrong, and it had better be Me, Me, Me. No one else will. No one else has the guts. But Me, Me, Me isn’t worried about guts, he is only worried about protecting my image. “Bring up that wonderful thing you did, Tom, and let them all know how NICE you are.” Yep, that’s Me, Me, Me. He seeks credit, NOW. And you better give it to him, or you might just have to listen to a litany of saintly deeds that Tom did a long time ago, or just the other day. Me, Me, Me has a terminal disease as well. He can’t understand why I don’t want him around anymore. He often says, “If it weren’t for Me, Me, Me, no one would pay any attention to you. Do you think THEY care about you as much as I do?” Me, Me, Me needs an enema.

There are others, but you get the point. The worst part is, I can hear all of these voices at the same time, each telling me the best way to go, the best thing to say, the best deed to do. It can get awfully loud when matters of the heart arise. But one thing I have learned; when I pay attention, it’s not the loudest voice that should be heeded. It’s the Voice of Truth, and often, Truth is the quietest, biding His time patiently, letting me know all the while He is here. Certainly there are times when The Voice of Truth is loudest, and those times all other voices are silenced. When those times occur, I am most filled with joy, for I know that voice, and I will follow it no matter what anyone else says.

What voices do you hear? What voices do you listen to?

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