The Inner Voice

I’m finishing writing a novel: When Whales Sing. In the section I’m working on, the inner circle of the Southwood Tribe meets to determine curriculum and essentials for healing, restoration, release and self-management. In other words, how to walk in the Spirit with both feet on the ground on which we are living.

Of the hundred plus books I’ve read in the past months, especially non-fiction, the central message has been to recognize the inner voice, monitor it and determine the source of the words. Yesterday’s blog from Lance Walnau talked about 2 Corinthians 10:5 and Ephesians 6:12. The topic is: guard against new negative strongholds that become restrictive and controlling.

“Remember: the battle zone is in your thought life.”

“Paul says one of our primary weapons is the power to inspect and take thoughts captive as they enter our mind.” Walnau goes on to call this an “interrogation process in which we take a thought captive ‘at the point of a sword.’”

That is a working weapon for an adult or person old enough to process thoughts. What if the stronghold(s) was built prior to speech? Or cognitive skills? Like 2nd grade? Like in an atmosphere of abuse or…. The most fortunate kid is the one whose parents read to him/her. That one factor gives that kid a huge life-long head start. Restoration is wonderful as we search for the on-ramp to the super highway God intended for us.

I took a break from writing and went to the waterfront to read. My mind was spinning with the power of negative inner voices, strongholds and monitoring self-talk. I’ve been reading Pat Conroy’s memoir My Losing Season. He traces the reason for the losing season to a jealous coach who was described thirty years later by Conroy’s teammates as “a black hole” who crushed men’s spirits with his brutality, jealousy and negativity.

In a Citadel game against Old Dominion, Conroy heard a voice within that told him never to allow the coach to speak to his core being. The decision to heed the voice changed the basketball-writer’s life. But then the coach beat on his spirit and Conroy caved.

The hour at the riverfront was terrible. I can’t imagine the motivation of a leader treating those he is responsible for as that coach did.

The voice returns. Being sensitive to the source of any inner voice(s) and questioning whether the Holy Spirit or a dark spirit or just a mind on an afternoon jog, I determined that Conroy was hearing a real voice—I have no solid answer, but I wonder if it was the Holy Spirit.

“Hey, pal…let’s go over it again. (Coach) is bad for you. He gets under your skin. He lowers your morale. Got it? Do I make myself clear? One more time. Tune (coach) out. Play the game because you love it. You’re thinking too much. Don’t think. Play. Get into the rhythm of the game and let it flow though you. Be natural. Be loose. Get yourself back. You’ve lost yourself.”

Conroy writes, “It was a voice that would come and go for years until I realized what it was, the truest part of me, the most valiant flowering of my character, a source of pure light and water streaming out of unexplored caverns within me. Unlike me, this voice knew nothing of shyness or reserve or shame or despair.

“Because I was taking a course in abnormal psychology and because my family produced psychotics the way some families pass down freckles, I wondered if that unbidden voice was a sign of paranoid schizophrenia. But the voice offered advice too good to have any connection with mental illness. The voice knew what was good for me.”

My Losing Season, Pat Conroy, Doubleday, 2002. Page 217

The staff at Southwood is counseling, pouring into, walking alongside several broken people—children and adults. Whatever else is in the discipling curriculum and training, they will train how to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit and discern dark voices injected into mind and soul by events, words, experiences and wrong interpretations—taking every thought captive at the point of a sword. I can think of nothing—NOTHING—more important.

©2016 D. Dean Benton—Benton Books & Blogs—

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