The Voice Within You
We got fruit flies in our house some days ago, and they are grossing me out.
The little buggers got in through some fruit that we had in our fruit basket---fruit that outstayed it's welcome by more than a few days, apparently. The implications of all of it make me ill.
At first, we thought they were gnats, but we soon became disabused of that notion after a bit of research indicated just exactly what they were based on where they seemed to be congregating.
The way you get rid of these pests is to clean the dickens out of the areas to which they seem to be attracted, and then you do something odd, and kind of icky: You put apple cider vinegar mixed with a bit of dish soap into a bowl, and the flies can't help but land it, and then blessedly drown.
So now I've got two bowls full of apple cider vinegar, dish soap, and about a hundred dead fruit flies each. Just writing about this makes me feel queasy. But there it is.
I got to thinking about the theological implications of that whole thing this morning because I tend to do that sort of thing even when I don't necessarily want to "go there."
I've been thinking that there's a truth in those bowls full of ick that is absolutely instructive to you and me.
Sometimes no matter what you do to clean yourself up, to make everything in your life work, to be better, to do better... it's like there's always that one thing that we can't seem to shake. Or maybe it's more than one.
Then we find ourselves getting sucked into the endless cycle of negative self-talk that arises when we begin beating ourselves up for being flawed, for making mistakes, for not being able to be the people we want to be... for being human.
And then we can drown in it.
I've said it before here, but I have a nasty voice in my head that sounds off in the strangest ways and at my most vulnerable moments. It tells me that I am worthless, a constant screw-up and when it really gets going it speaks all kinds of darkness into my soul.
It might say things I've heard from other people from time to time, but it's mostly my words to myself, and it's definitely my own voice speaking to me about me.
I have also discovered that some of the things that I hear myself say about myself are often the very things that come out of my mouth toward others---especially those others that exhibit behavior I fear in myself.
One of the most valuable lessons I am learning in life is that no matter what the voice in my head tells me, there is another voice speaking into me constantly, softly, and more powerfully than any other. This voice doesn't come from my head, it resonates outward from the depths of my soul.
And if I am still, and vulnerable, and willing to listen, God's voice (because that's what I'm talking about here), which is the voice above all voices, tells me other things that about myself---things I long to be true, healing things, life-giving things.
God's voice speaks from the depths of each of our souls, but in order for us to truly listen, and allow God's voice to drown out our negative self-talk--we have to surrender it and let it go.
Because that kind of self-talk originates from our need for control and the angst that comes when we realize we aren't able to control much of anything.
We also need to learn that it will take time for us to unlearn what the voice in our head is telling us. It will take time for us to develop the kind of "inner ear" that is tuned to the voice of our loving Creator.
Fr. Richard Rohr once wrote:
The surrender of faith does not happen in one moment but is an extended journey, a trust walk, a gradual letting go, unlearning, and handing over. No one does it on the first or even second try. Desire and longing must be significantly deepened and broadened.
May you learn to surrender today and every day to the voice that speaks to you from deep within yourself. The truest and most loving voice you will ever hear. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.