I went to my parents' for supper after my PD (professional development) today. Mom had prepared a lovely chicken dinner. As mom was making final meal preparations, she asked how my day had been. I said really good. The speaker was interesting, practical and relevant...and then like a kid coming home after school and being asked what they learned that day and saying “I don't know,” I stumbled and stammered to try to remember what he had said. I knew there were three sessions and could only remember the topic of one of the sessions.
I'll go out to my vehicle tomorrow and look at the papers I got at the ACSI conference and remember what the topics were, but it was the second session – the one I remember on my own – that had the biggest impact on me.
It was about voice management – dealing with the various voices in one's head that tend to influence everything we do: the voices from one's family of origin, of critics, of the crowd and peanut gallery, of the enemy and one's own inner voices and of course, the voice of the Father, the Good Shepherd. The main point the speaker, Terry Young, made was that we can't manage the voices in our heads, we can only choose how loud to turn up the volume of the ones we want to pay attention to. It's a matter of attentiveness, not management. Those voices will always be there but which ones will we allow to direct our lives?
I appreciated how he pointed out how Jesus, like us, had all those voices in his life too. His family of origin at one point wanted to take him away because he was “out of his mind”; he had critics who accused him of being mad, blasphemous, deceitful, Beelzebub; he had people who wanted to crown him king by force and others who wanted to stone him; he had the enemy who tried to convince him to take the easier, more comfortable path to power and influence; and then he had the voice of his Father saying, “This is my Son whom I love, with him I am well-pleased (Mark 12:14).” And that was the voice Jesus listened to, that was the voice of the one who directed his every action, that was the relationship that allowed him to fulfill his purpose, to engage fully in the life around him and disengage productively to turn up the volume on that voice. And we have that same option. We too can turn up the volume on the voice that says, “'You are my son (or daughter); today I have become your Father.'” (Psalm 2:7)” and “[the Lord you God] will take great delight in you … [and will] rejoice over you with singing (Zeph. 3:17).” We too can attune ourselves to the Father's voice to become centered and purposeful, and turn down the competing voices in our heads. It is a great comfort to have that opportunity and the only question remains is if I will avail myself of that option.
“Good Shepherd, what say you?”
“The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” John 10:2 – 4, emphasis mine