We have all experienced that moment in a conversation where an awkward silence fills the spaces between us. In some contexts, for example, when I am with my wife (someone who knows me well), this silence is a place of safety. In other contexts, the silence is deafening and we quickly do our best to fill the void. We live in a society of noise pollution. We fill our ears with the radio, music or just the noise of life happening around us.
The Voices in our Head
We avoid the silence because of the voices in our heads. These voices may be our hopes and fears, our doubts and worries vying for attention. Vincent Van Gogh is said to have noted: “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
What voices are you listening to in your head and heart? Are they voices of hurt, anger, or fear? A Stanford Lecturer, Shirzad Chamine, refers to these voices as saboteurs, trying to sabotage your life, your hopes and dreams. Carrie Fletcher once said: “To the voices in our heads that tell us we aren’t good enough: do be quiet.”
We need to ignore these negative voices. Instead, you need to allow room for the voices in your head to speak of hope and life and override all negativity.
The Voices of Others
The voices of others often shape our internal conversations. If you think about it, the saboteurs in your mind often sound like a cruel bully, an insensitive teacher, or a frustrated parent. What people have spoken into our lives often influences the flow of conversation in our head space. What voices are you allowing to speak into your life?
I have observed that people who listen voraciously to the news and absorb negativity, live in fear of the future. They have allowed these negative voices to become the dominant force in their lives. Jim Rohn’s famous quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This is simply because you start to believe in their opinions and their voices become part of who you are.
Listening to the One True Voice
In Revelation 3:20 we read: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Here Jesus is saying that He knocks at the door of our hearts – His voice speaks into our lives but we decide whether we will open the door and allow His voice into our lives.
I have chosen for the voice of Jesus to be a very loud voice in my life because I know that I need His daily direction and His leading. As I have listened more to His voice, God has granted me wisdom in business. Where I have listened to my own voice, this is where I have made the biggest mistakes.
Interestingly, when we consider the life of Job in the Bible, we find that his self-vindication clarifies the silence of God. Only when Job was at the place where he was willing to listen, was the silence broken. As long as a man is defending himself and not listening, God will not justify him. When Job thought he had some righteous ground on which to stand, God was silent. This is true in our lives too.
What voices are you allowing to speak into your life? What is your voice saying into the lives of others? What are those around you hearing when they hear your voice?
About the Author: Dr Alan Louis is a third generation entrepreneur in a family with a 100-year business history. He devoted his life to Christianity as a child. Awarded a PhD in Commerce, is an Ultra Ironman Triathlete Gold medallist and was inducted in the IBC Hall of Fame for entrepreneurship. Internationally he has served on more than 100 private corporate boards, and has experienced the trials and successes of commerce for 3 decades.