One of the things I’ve been learning recently in my discipleship group is how to replace the voices in my head with God’s. There are a few caveats associated with this, however. One is I have to know God’s voice (the Bible) and the second is I need to identify the emotions, voices and subconscious thoughts that need replacing.
One prevalent “voice” I listen to has been around a long time. Like most voices in my heart and head the need to control is subtle but constant. Since I’ve gotten better at not verbally manipulating others however, I thought I wasn’t, what my friend calls, “over-functioning.” However, I’m learning that over-thinking, planning and constantly worrying is another form of control that is as unhealthy, damaging and disabling to myself and others as other means of over-functioning.
What’s wrong with mentally over-functioning? What’s dysfunctional about playing and replaying in my mind ways I can “help” my kids with their financial and life decisions and relationships? What’s the harm in lying awake pondering if my husband disciplined “correctly?” Although we are supposed to coach and parent our children, obsessing over their life choices and trying to manipulate outcomes on their behalf, actually disempowers them.
It’s not good for me either. Last month I chewed through an appliance I wear because I grind my teeth incessantly. I’ve had difficulty falling and staying asleep this week. I’ve cried more in the past seven days about parenting and marital issues than I have in the past six months. Why?
So now what? How do I begin replacing the voice that tells me I need to try to fix everything and protect everyone with God’s voice? How do I begin loosening my grip of control? Yesterday, I realized I mentally over-function most often because I envision worst-case scenario endings for my children’s futures, my marriage, and my life. But while praying about it I had two Spirit-inspired thoughts,
“Why do your outcomes always end badly, violently and horrifically?”
“Why can’t you imagine positive, beautiful or redeeming endings?”
And immediately those two questions began deconstructing the voice of control that robs me of so much. Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” What lies inside those of us who know and love Jesus Christ?
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine,
according to His power that is at work in us.” Ephesians 3:20
What lies within us is power, if we pray instead of plan. What lies within us is unimaginable, not the unthinkable. Starting today, when I catch myself worrying, I’m reciting Ephesians 3:20. I’m asking God to help me trust His ability to solve more than mine. Starting today, instead of worrying about what happened yesterday or might happen tomorrow, I’m going to try and believe this verse. Then I’m going to watch what God does…