I think we can all relate to having various voices in our heads – some with a positive message or perspective, and others that can have an unhelpful effect at best, or a destructive effect at worst. You know, those times when you are weighing out your choices and trying to lean in to the most reliable of those voices to lead you down a wise path without regret.
When I reflect on the decades or seasons of my life, I can come up with a list of what I call Vital Voices for each time period – those significant sources of strength and truth I could rely on to navigate what each season brought.
Vital Voices for me can come from books, podcasts, speakers, mentors, journaling, friends or family members, or my spouse. These inputs become significant because of their timing, as well as their reliable content.
They arrive as real-time answers to questions with which I am dealing. Regardless of the particular source, they have some elements in common – like, can stand the test of truth, which for me, means fits into my biblical perspective of life.
So as a part of sharing my journey through this blog I am adding a category of posts called: Vital Voices, in which I will share some of these significant sources that are markers on my life’s timeline.
Let me start with one Vital Voice that shows up in several seasons of my journey: Oswald Chambers - in particular, his devotional, My Utmost for His Highest. If you are familiar with his writings, you will be shaking your head in agreement right now. He was an early-twentieth-century Scottish Baptist evangelist and teacher whose writings have stood the test of time for millions of Christians over centuries now.
The outside of my well-used, well-worn copy of My Utmost for His Highest
from the 1970's
I could fill a volume with all the journal entries I have had over the course of my faith journey that reference one of his daily devotional writings. Let me share just one of Oswald’s teachings that has proven a timely source of truth and clarity repeatedly for me.
It’s about the inevitability of affecting other people and upsetting their plans when we obey God. How do we reconcile other people being upset or disappointed because of a decision to which we feel God has led us?
We can disobey God if we choose, and it will bring immediate relief to the situation...Whereas if we obey God, He will look after those who have been pressed into the consequences of our obedience. We have simply to obey and to leave all consequences to Him. Oswald Chambers
To read the entry in its entirety, click on this link: What My Obedience to God Costs Other People .
One of the repeatable personal applications of this principle during my journey is when I have had a point of growth that demands a change in my behavior, decisions, boundaries...etc.
Haven’t you experienced the wretched-gut response when someone who is used to you reacting in a certain way is reviled that you are now responding differently – perhaps in the opposite of what they have grown accustomed to? This is especially true when your ‘old way’ provided a benefit for them that they are not willing to give up.
A Vital Voice for me during a time when I was grieving over such a situation, came through this statement from one of my instructors during my Enneagram Practitioners certification course:
Sometimes we lose people because they will not allow us to change.
I felt my gut start to untangle as the statement went from my ears to my head to my soul. Sigh....not easy or comfortable; but I have found it is an unavoidable part of respecting myself and trusting God as I endeavor to get closer to who I was created to be.
What are some of the Vital Voices in your life?
Have you experienced the pain of disappointing others while you were trying to obey something you felt was God-led? What emotions did you experience? How did you regain your peace from the situation?
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