THE VOICE WITHIN
If I asked you “What is one of the most powerful tools you have in this life”, how likely are you to answer “My Voice”?
In a world filled with voices, be it through social media, television shows, advertisements or even conversations with family and friends, we can go through our day unaware that we may be drowning in a sea of voices. Little do we realize that these constant sounds and influences from outside are shaping our world. Think about shopping and beauty commercials. How often do those voices dangle a carrot in front of you? Buy this cream and you’ll look 10 years younger. Walk 10,000 steps every day and you too can be skinny. Chia Seeds – the latest superfood, feel energized as if you were 20 again.
And don’t we buy the cream, walk the steps, eat our chia seeds and then wait for the enduring euphoria? Should any of these tips work our ego is boosted. On the other hand however, should the cream not take away the wrinkles or the Chia seeds not provide the energy of our 20’s, there’s a voice which creeps in whispering: “Didn’t work eh? Look at those wrinkles”. “Well you’re still fat because you ate that piece of chocolate. You only did 9,958 steps – not quite enough”. “Feeling tired? What do you expect? You stopped eating your Chia seeds!”
We live in a culture that wastes no opportunity in telling us ‘how to look good’ or ‘how to look younger than we really are’. For some obscure reason this ‘look’ portrays one’s recipe for success and we so easily fall for it.
The Voices We Hear
While there are many external and internal voices, it would benefit us to recognize them for what they are, so that we are able to be led by the One True Voice that leads to our welfare (Jeremiah 29:11).
This voice is as powerful as it is persistent. It is the broken record player which plays over and over in our minds. It’s the false self telling you: You are useless. You can’t be forgiven. You are stupid. You are unlovable. Listening to this critical voice can be a powerful tool for our healing because it reveals how we really see ourselves.
The realization of what we are hearing and sensing as lies can release both the power and grip of this voice over our lives.
There’s an old saying “action speaks louder than words”. Many of us have possibly been on the receiving end of “the silent treatment”. Maybe we have participated in it. No words are uttered but we know exactly what is being said. There’s body language, facial expressions, an air of disapproval. In Australia we have a TV advertisement for domestic violence. There is no shouting, however the perpetrator raises an arm in a threatening manner – an action which says ‘you are worthless’.
Unforgiveness has the capacity to divide a family for generations. The words which started the feud might be long forgotten, but the poisoned fruit of this action is still being lived out as if it is a current reality. Sisters, we have the power to change that. We can be the voice in action and offer the Olive branch.
A positive action of a hug, a smile, a listening ear is power filled. We can become a powerful force and a conduit of Grace simply by our positive voice in action.
As women, made in the image of God’s femininity, we can reflect the grandeur of God and offer that empathy.
I think it’s safe to say that we live in a generation where women can sufficiently render their voice. However we carry within us the legacy of generations of women who didn’t. There’s possibly many of us reading this that may have lived or are living in situations where we feel we have no voice. We reason, ‘It’s better to “keep silent” than take the consequences’.
Having no voice does not mean that someone does not speak, in fact it can be quite the opposite. Having no voice can cause a person to be very opinionated and judgmental. Their opinion is thought to be the right one and their delivery can be one of aggression with no compromise. On the other hand, I have also discovered that as we are products of our ancestors, the emotional turmoil of having no voice generated through them can find its way in us, even to the present day. Simply put, we inherit their pain and need to rise up against it.
I had a very strong reaction to women who had no voice in the area of sexuality. I hadn’t experienced anything in my recent history which would merit such a strong response. One day as I was listening to a preacher teaching on countries and their national ancestral sin, he mentioned the Netherlands (I’m half Dutch) and commented that the Dutch ancestral sin is incest. It was then that the strength of my reactions regarding women in the area of sexuality made so much more sense to me. Since then, I often pray for the victims of incest in my maternal family line.
This voice is the voice of God Himself speaking to our conscience through His Spirit. Unlike the critical voice that condemns, the Divine Voice comforts. It speaks life and healing and tells us: You are loved. You are chosen. You are worthy. You are beautiful.
Sisters, Jesus wants us to be free from every shame and guilt and He wants us to be a light in the darkness. This means He has given us Power over our tongues and our minds. Through the Power of the Holy Spirit we too can live in Freedom and we can lead others to the same.
We can become a powerful force in a world stripped of the truth and we can draw people to the One whose Voice continually invites to Come, Listen and Find Life.
And so let us incline our ears to listen well (Isaiah 55) and let us celebrate the Voice within that always speaks life over us, the one Voice that will always tell us what the world cannot: that we are indeed loved, and beautiful inside out without any merit or effort on our part.
Have you made a choice in your life which has caused you to feel shame or guilt? Take a moment now to join Jesus at the Well of Life. Hear His Voice and what He has to say to you. He will never condemn – He will always speak words of Love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ann Brereton lives in Tasmania, Australia with her husband David of 40 years. Ann’s ministry involves over 40 years in leadership positions including being the first woman National Chairperson of the Australian National Service Committee. She also served as a member of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) situated at the Vatican. She is a mother to 4 sons and grandmother to 6 granddaughters, has lived as a Missionary in Uganda and traveled extensively as a Conference Speaker.