Are You Talking Loud Enough?

Jen’s Gem: Listen to The Voice that speaks the truth.

I am the fifth of six children. Two boys and four girls. Christmas at my house was – in a word – loud. I’m not talking about when we were children. I suspect we were quiet as mice. However, as adults? If the Christmas festivities didn’t leave you with a slight degradation in your hearing and a call to Miracle Ear, then you must not have been there.

Each glass of wine pumped up the volume as each of us competed to share this funny childhood story or that hilarious joke. As one of the youngest, I had to “fight for my right to par-tay” as my stories lacked the color and history of my older siblings. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was able to fully participate in this contest of one-upmanship.

I could attribute my now slightly-compromised hearing on the fact that we are half Italian, Sicilian actually. However, I think it would be more accurate to say that my siblings and I were each just trying to be heard. The fact that we are all quite funny made it even more difficult as each of us wanted to have the best punchline and be crowned the Last Comic Standing.

Call it good old fashioned sibling rivalry, but the holidays at my house were something for the records. I suspect if any of us had the gumption and fortitude, we could’ve all made a nice living as stand-up comedians. Of course, to do that, we’d have to quiet the voices in our own heads that stated otherwise.

I’m a big fan of The Voice. I love its premise and how out of thousands of voices, one emerges with the trophy. Fighting all of the odds, pushing through each level of the competition, one voice wins. The contestants overcome the voices in their heads that say they “can’t” and harken to the voice of their mentor who says “they can.”

Throughout the course of the show, the singers learn to listen to the voice of the expert instead of their own voices of fear and doubt. Mentors and superstars like Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton tell them who they really are and help them to blot out the voice in their heads that speaks otherwise. Some are able to hear these new voices clearly, while others who allow the old voices to continue to reign, go home.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)

In our world today, many voices compete for our attention. Media, TV, friends, work, children, and family fight for their right to be heard. Add to that the voices in our heads that replay the same ol’ song day after day and it’s no surprise we all want to run off to a deserted island just to get a little peace and quiet.

On top of these worldly voices, there’s another voice that begs for your attention. I don’t speak of it much because it’s not a very popular topic, however, that voice was the source of the downfall of Adam and Eve and it continues to plague modern man. The enemy (devil, Satan) does his level best to be heard. But he doesn’t stop there – he wants his listeners to hear him and believe him. Then he wins.

He wins when we shrink back from our God-given talents and abilities and hide them under a bush. He wins when we lose our temper and yell at our kids or spouse. He wins when we let him break up families. He wins when we turn against each other because of the color of our skin, our political views, or our faith.

I’m a very competitive person. While I have become better at losing, I much prefer to win as most  people do. I especially enjoy when the underdog wins. I’m a sucker for movies that showcase an unlikely hero or heroine overcoming adversity and emerging victorious.

Each of us has that in us – that ability to be victorious. Our level of victory is directly related to the voice we pay attention to the most. If we choose to listen to people who tell us we can’t, we will fail. If we choose to listen to the voice of the enemy who says we are nothing, we will be. However, if we choose to listen to the voice of God, Our Father in heaven, who speaks only the truth about us, the outcome is magnificent.

John 6:63 says that the words we hear from God are life-giving. They are truth. How do I know this? Because God does not lie. Who lies? People lie. Satan lies. He’s the father of lies and his only purpose is to ensure you lead a small life, devoid of joy and peace.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

During those Christmas shout fests, whoever had the loudest voice commanded the attention of my family. Their story may not have been the best, but because they knew how to rise above the noise, they were heard.

Whose voice do you hear today? The loud, booming negative voices or perhaps that still, quiet life-giving voice? Each day, you can make a choice who will be The Voice in your life.

This week, I’d like to encourage you to examine whose voice or voices you are paying attention to the most. If it’s anything but the truth spoken only by the voice of God and His Holy Spirit, you are being lied to. Find out what God has to say about you. Then, when you hear anything other than that, do like my siblings and I did – speak louder.

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2011-2024