My spiritual mentor says there are typically three voices in our heads—our authentic voice, God’s voice, and the unholy voice.Learning to distinguish between them, he teaches, gives us clarity, direction, and balance.
Our authentic voice empowers us.It speaks with honesty, give us affirmations, and helps us make wise choices. It invites us to question what story we’re telling ourselves and determine if that story is true.
Our authentic voice is comfortable with the holy tension between our good qualities and our negative traits, because both have gifts to offer on the road toward inner growth. The authentic voice works in harmony with and seeks God’s voice. It knows that we and God co-create the life we choose to live.
God’s voice is the voice of love. It inspires, gives us wisdom, and provides insight. God’s voice encourages and guides us. It points us in the right direction. It helps us discover that we are enough. We’re both human and divine because we’re God’s Spirit revealed in flesh.
The unholy one has a voice that shames us, leaving us filled with doubt and confusion. It wants to lead us into excess. The unholy one tells us we’re bad. It lies. It tries to entice us to numb the pain of life by clinging to attachments that point us in the wrong direction.
When we stop and ask ourselves which voice we’re listening to, we learn to distinguish the tone and quality of each.
For example, if we’re fearful about an upcoming meeting at work, our authentic voice helps us identify the fear and encourages us to turn to God to seek his insight and help us face the fear. Our authentic voice might ask God for the grace of emptiness—to empty ourselves of all the competing voices in our heads—so we can hear his voice and let the butterflies in our stomach fly straight.
God’s voice will then remind us we’re safe and we’re strong. He’ll give us wisdom during the meeting to speak well and move through the fear into truth.
The unholy one will shame us and tell us we’re no good. “You’re going to be a flop at the meeting. You may as well stay in bed and pull the covers over your head, because you’re not enough and never will be.”
The fear might not completely go away, but armed with the practice of knowing how to distinguish between these voices, we’re empowered to choose which ones we wish to hear and follow.
Carl Jung said, “I would rather be whole than good.”At first blush, his statement might be surprising. The unholy one would have us interpret Jung’s assertion as a license to let loose, sin freely, and go down the path of not caring who or what gets in our way.
Our authentic voice recognizes that we have both a light and a shadow within us, and the two work together to make us whole. Our striving to be “good” can be the ego’s unnatural desire to be perfect, and by doing so, we build walls of protection and self-defense in our endeavor to hide our imperfections.
God’s voice tells us Jung is right. We are whole. God loves us just as we are—perfectly human—and as we take time to listen to God’s voice, which is always one of love and wisdom, we’ll walk the path of inner peace and balance. We’ll recognize that freedom and responsibility are twins. We’ll know the truth, and it will set us free.
The next time you hear those competing voices in your head, stop for a moment. Ask yourself, “Whose voice do I hear? Whose voice do I choose to follow?”
—brian j plachta
Can you forgive yourself for being perfectly human?