Do you ever see swimmers or divers tip their heads to the side, give a shake, and rub their ear in a jerking motion? Maybe you've even done it yourself. It is the universal sign for, "Water is in my ear and needs to come out." Seems to work from what I can tell.
Wish it worked that way with voices.
See, I have this voice in my head. Okay, I have several voices in my head, but one in particular turns up the volume when I sit down to write a blog entry.
Before I ever begin to write a sentence, I hear her telling me how I need someone to teach me to write the all powerful beginning sentence. Now, she never told me exactly what was wrong with the ones I wrote or how I needed to correct them. However, with everything she read, her statements started about the first sentence and how I needed to use it to catch the audience.
Now, don't get me wrong. She has given me compliments, and I know she was sincere. However, her compliments were always followed by a correction, like when she said, "You're a wonderful writer. You just need someone to teach you to be good at it."
Unfortunately, like most folks, my brain latches onto the last thing it hears, and whatever that might be echoes on and on.
So, each time I sit down here to type, I hear her correcting me, telling me how I am not making a good use of my talent because I am not perfecting my work so I can publish it, trying to form me into her idea of a successful writer.
Often, I simply close the computer and walk away.
However, today, I choose not to walk away. Today, I choose to confront that voice...and a dozen or more others.
See, the truth is that voice isn't the only voice, and much of its power comes from all the other voices resounding in its words, words that tell me how I am failing, how I am not good enough, how I need to live up to someone else's idea of perfection or success. If I listen closely, I hear my father's voice in harmonious criticism as he tells me years after his death that I like to think I am good at something but in reality, I'm not. I hear teachers who didn't approve of my different way of seeing the world. Over twenty years later, I can still see my hands holding the SAT results paper that said clearly I wasn't as smart as I thought I was.
If I let them, the voice would drown me. I would erase my blog because even after I post these things I hear voices telling me that they are not as useful as I want them to be and if I wrote nothing, no one would notice. I would never teach another class because, according to the voices, I'm not really teaching anything and people know I'm only masquerading as someone with knowledge. All conferences would be cancelled because I have nothing of worth to say. In fact, no one can relate to me and at some point someone will realize I'm only a fraud, someone with a lot of answers but lives an annoyingly imperfect life.
Yes, I could drown in the voices.
But there is another Voice, and that Voice reminds me that He never had delusions of my perfection, and He never questions my purpose. My purpose isn't to make all those voices happy. My purpose isn't even to quiet them. My purpose is to live boldly for Him despite them.
And so today, I heed His voice...and write...