The Voices We Hear

Growing up is kind of tough. Which probably isn't fair for someone of my generation to even claim. We had it pretty easy. Sure, I worked through high school and college, and was always somewhat self-sufficient; but I also had the privilege of going to college with its slower on-ramp to life. Meanwhile, my parents had me in their very early-20s, and had to manage being a parent and newlyweds pretty much on their own, as far as resources went back in the 80s. 

Now here I am at 37 and just a month or so ago I told my wife I still feel pretty unprepared for so much I'm meant to do as an adult. I'm okay at parenting, I think, though I yelled at my kids today for something dumb, so maybe not. As far as money goes, I was always just barely making it until I married my wife, and sometimes even then we still are. Since I took those years off to be a stay-at-home dad, I don't really have a career, but keep clinging to dreams someday working out, film being the one that brought me to Los Angeles, but music the one I'm currently pursuing (along with a little book-writing on the side). I can fix a car, though I've certainly made some mistakes purchasing the right ones, and as far as housework goes, I'm better than the average guy but certainly no Dude Dad. Oh, and I also put off paying the bills until I absolutely have to.

All that to say, I don't travel through life with a lot of confidence. Maybe you can relate.

This song by Copeland popped into my head during this process, so I recorded a version of it in a little duet with myself. Yeah, it's sad, but so was I...

But about the same time I was feeling this way, we were at a marriage group at our church and the leaders asked everyone to stand up, hold their spouse's hands, and speak positive declarations over them. They could have been things that were true or even that maybe weren't true yet, but we believed would happen. Speaking this over my wife was easy, as she is an amazing woman, and the longer we're together, the more potential I see in her. But when she spoke over me, calling me strong and saying that God showed her an image of a wall being built that was also strong and supportive, it was really difficult to accept the phrases. She said that God wasn't done building me yet, and my immediate thought after was, I certainly hope not, because I'm such a mess right now. As she continued, that negativity carried on, which I realized right away, and so I tried to keep it at bay while I listened.

Later that night I told her what had happened and we spoke about how it all felt like an attack. I really do believe there are spiritual forces of good and evil fighting around us. It's a little like the angel and devil on your shoulder in the cartoons, but way more sinister and also more subtle. Maybe you agree or maybe you would call it something like "negative self-talk." Either way, it's detrimental and destructive, and surprisingly quick to come up in its urgency and power, like a rogue wave out of nowhere.

All of this leads me to believe that we should be so careful of what we take in, what we give time to, what voices we listen to, and what we speak. Whatever their source, if the words are not birthed out of unconditional love (which sometimes is a rebuke, don't forget), then they probably aren't worth our time.

"Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you -- and even more." (Mark 4:24)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

About a week or two after I wrote this, the cloud lifted and I didn't really feel as strongly about my inadequacies or unpreparedness -- it all felt a little silly actually. I think that really reinforces what I'm saying here -- that sometimes our current feelings and inclinations might not really be the truest versions of ourselves, or even how we actually feel. And so I'll say all the more: consider carefully what you give time to. And through all of it, remember that we have a heavenly Father to bring all of these thoughts to, through Jesus, which is all pretty amazing if you think about it.

I didn't want to leave you with just a sad music video, so I recorded this second duet featuring a new worship song about how amazing it is that the God of the universe speaks to us.