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Edit the voices in your head

Writing from the Paris airport with French being spoken all around me, I can think a little more clearly than back home. I don’t speak French, so it’s just background noise I can tune out. In contrast, in America, I might find myself distracted by conversations of passerby or bombarded by adverti…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Writing from the Paris airport with French being spoken all around me, I can think a little more clearly than back home. I don’t speak French, so it’s just background noise I can tune out. In contrast, in America, I might find myself distracted by conversations of passerby or bombarded by advertisements.
 
So this morning I’m thinking about thinking. Our thoughts are often not our own – they’re derivative. Someone else thought them first and then we heard them and made them our own. Other people’s voices often fill our minds. Think about all the people with access to your head:
  • The people in your home
  • Your co-workers
  • Your extended family
  • The TV
  • Your friends
  • The internet
  • Video games
We need to consider the value of our own thoughts. Why let anyone tell you what to think? Why listen to people who don’t even know you and don’t understand your value system? Why allow noise at all?
 
Consider the possibility that perhaps there are certain voices that need to be edited out. Some voices are persistently negative or just not helpful. Why not establish boundaries?
 
Yes, it’s impolite to just tell the person whose voice keeps intruding on your thoughts that you’ve chosen to focus on listening to more positive voices. But there are other ways to protect the sanctity of your own mind. You can not hang around those people. You can guard your schedule. Others won’t do it for you. You have to self-manage.
 
One reason I’m able to think my own thoughts is that we don’t have a TV vying for space in my head. I’m always taken aback by the sheer volume of noise in a lot of homes, much of it from the TV set.
You can hear yourself think when you allow silence back into your home and mind. You can hear God’s still, small voice in there too. It can be a glorious thing to feel yourself getting centered again.
I used to listen to books-on-tape when I jogged. I used to listen to NPR when I drove. These days I’m more comfortable with silence. God tends to inhabit the silence. If we’re feeling disconnected from God and ourselves, perhaps we need more of it.

Comments (5)

  • Honestly, silence IS golden! I love it. And I’ve appreciated this and your other recent blog about one’s own thoughts and voice. Pondering.

  • After returning home recently from being with orphans, the poor, the downtrodden, and trafficked girls in Manila, the Lord prompted me to fast from talk radio.

    I was used to listening to every show imaginable, including ESPN radio every moment I was in the car, every morning, and every night, and pretty much whenever I could. I would fall asleep at night listening to people talking. Politics were huge to me, and staying up on current affairs was a must.

    After 3 1/2 months w/o talk radio, politics have become very tiny and the kingdom is much bigger. Being quiet and still has helped me know better that He is God.

  • Read somewhere, or heard it said years ago that “A good memory passes for deep thinking in most cases.”

    I can usually tell where people get their information based upon how they talk about things.

    When I was just out of college and a youth intern w/ big ideas, my mentor in ministry impressed on me that “still waters run deep.” That those who make the greatest impact in the kingdom are those who develop depth of character, knowledge, trust in our all sufficient God.

    I really like Phil. 1:9-11. It only happens when one makes time to clear the clutter from their life.

    “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled w/ the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”

    Wes

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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