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Gospel Music Times Feature Article
That Big Party In Your Brain
by Tami Rowbotham

Six Voices Stuck In Your Head And How They All Got There

We all have six distracting voices in our thoughts battling for our attention as we make decisions in our creative ministries. Each voice originates from a different source. Of course, we all understand the importance of listening to God’s voice above all. But, to do so, we need to be aware of what is trying to distract us. Once we identify each voice, our job is to determine how frequently and at what volume we will be listening to each as we seek to hear God clearly.

Voice #1: Our Own Critical Voice
The first voice we hear loud and clear is our own. As someone who works with a lot of people, I’ve seen them take abuse from themselves they wouldn’t tolerate from another human being. We simply need compassion and grace and a healthy reminder we are practicing to be like Him. Practice begins with learning how to be compassionate and full of grace toward ourselves. Then we can be agents of compassion and grace towards others.

We are going to experience success and failure. Sure, we prefer success but no matter what we do we will experience failure. Do we set out to fail? Not usually (but it can happen — and that will be the topic of a future article). So next time you start listening to your voice inside your head be sure to grab what I call your Grace Shaker. Speak the truth over your life and your situation but don’t be harsh. Season your words with grace and compassion. You’ll find the more you practice with yourself, the more forgiving and compassionate you’ll be with others.

Voice #2: The Voice Of Family
The voice in our head developed from those in our close family can be one of the most confusing. We trust our family members. They love us, care for us, support our endeavors and want the best for us. Sounds good doesn’t it? However, it’s common for some of these to actually be voices of doubt, discouragement and disrespect. Why? Because those in our family tend to keep us stuck at a certain age. If for example, we’re known in our family as being the creative person who is typically disorganized, it will be very difficult to change a family member’s perception. It will require years of new experiences with you to overcome all the history to even have a chance of changing the way they think. Acknowledging this voice can be tough, but remember the truth sets us free.

Voice #3: The Voice Of Friends
Another voice forms in our thoughts and it originates with our circle of friends. Our friends can also be voices of discouragement once again based on how healthy the relationship has been. Although it’s not a gift we’ll find in our Bible, we all know people who have the gift of discouragement. We just need to realize they have time to discourage because they’ve not yet identified how their own life was meant to be used by God. So, they have time on their hands to pick away at others. If they ever did figure out their own calling, they would be too busy to criticize others. Until then, we cannot allow their voice more power than it deserves.

Voice #4: The Voice of Fellow Believers
You have a voice in your head created by fellow Christians. As believers we can be very vulnerable to those who are of like faith. Sometimes we can believe someone else hears the voice of God better than we do. We need to confidently strive to hear His voice and then move with conviction. Although we would like all people to love us and understand us, it’s just not possible. If we try to become all things to everyone, we will simply become nothing to everyone. We will be easily overlooked and our creativity will become mediocre.

Don’t lose the game to someone who tries to play the ‘God Card’. That’s when someone who wants to gently force their opinion on you does so with ‘God told me…” After that card is thrown on the table, it’s as if to disagree with them is to disagree with God. Use wisdom and discern God’s voice for yourself.

Voice #5: The Voice of Authority Figures
Those in authority around us also form voices in our minds. Some can be pushy or demanding and may try to take advantage of their position. Their strong personalities can make you question your decisions. Just because a voice is strong or loud, doesn’t make it correct. We need to slow things down when we’re uncomfortable. Instead of ‘going along’, we need to put a little space in the situation. Very few things are urgent so when we’re feeling pressured we should consider our next step to be one of stepping backwards. This process can help adjust our thoughts and subsequently our emotional responses.

Voice #6: The Voice of the Enemy
There is one last voice we don’t talk about very often but his main objective is to destroy you and your ministry. He’s the chief liar and deceiver. You know his name. You’ve been warned about him. You know his past. You know his future. He lurks around with a set of goals meant to discount you, reject you, tire you, and ultimately paralyze you. His name is Satan.

We tend to forget the power we have as sons and daughters of the living God. We forget our efforts to impact the Kingdom are going to be met with resistance. We act shocked when things don’t go well. We cower and consider that maybe our life isn’t meant for anything great. Once we start devaluing, disqualify or discounting our lives it’s a sure sign we’re listening to his voice. He may not stop us cold in our tracks. He’s often satisfied just to slow us down and start compromising our efforts. Often, we will end up finishing the job for him after that!

So, what voices are the loudest in your head? Do you need to adjust the volume knob on a few of them? Remember, it’s always counterclockwise!

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