(no, that's not a typo in the title)
I’ve always been a good listener. I’ve always been that friend that listens to whatever you need to say. My husband makes fun of me now when he sees me on the phone. It looks like I’m just walking around with a phone by my ear… nodding and hardly saying a word.
I’m also an introvert. Big time.
As an introvert, I’m totally fine being by myself and it doesn’t bother me at all not to say a word out loud all day. I do have plenty of thoughts running around in my head, but talking… just never seemed that important to me.
As my prayer life began, I discovered the art of journaling my thoughts and prayers to God, and his subsequent responses. A whole world opened up when I began doing this. But one day the Lord asked me to say something out loud.
I already had a hard enough time when someone in a Bible study group asked me to pray out loud… even though I understood that was the tradition. But the Lord was asking me to pray out loud … all alone in my room. I wrestled with the thought and resisted because I was sure it wouldn’t make a difference if I prayed in my head or out loud.
Wouldn’t you know, not long after that, I started hearing sermons, being given books, and hearing songs that used words like “Proclaim”, “Shout to the Lord”, “Lift your voice”.
In my own Immanuel Process time with my mentor, we came to a place where normally she would let me tell Jesus things in my mind… but all of the sudden she started telling me, “You need to do this out loud”.
So I did.
Do you know what? God gave us vocal chords for a reason. There is power in the spoken word of truth.
Not speaking out loud gave the enemy a tool to use to keep me locked up in fear. Staying quiet all the time made room for untruths to ramble on in my mind right alongside truths. This was a perfect breeding ground for doubt.
Speaking the truth out loud is how I was able to silence the doubts. Speaking the truth out loud removed the power that the lies had held over me from within my silent world.
Soon I discovered that speaking out truth, even when I wasn’t sure if I believed it… helped me to believe it. Speaking the truth set me free. (Sounds familiar doesn’t it)
As a photographer, the best metaphor I can give you is this. The lies and doubts running in my head are like a roll of film inside my camera. (you know, those things we used before our cellphones could take pictures!) When I SPEAK out truth, it’s like opening up that camera and exposing the lies so that they can no longer be preserved in my life.
For instance, saying out loud, that God is good… when my mind is tormented with experiences that seem to “prove” otherwise, helps my mind to grasp that it is true.
The truth is that God is good.
But when things happen that we don’t think line up with that statement, we start believing the lie that God isn’t good. This lie can run rampant and lead to all kinds of untruths like, “He doesn’t love me”, “He doesn’t care what happens to me”, “He is distant”, “He is mean”, “He is angry with me”, “He failed me”…
The more those lies circle around in my head, the bigger they get, and the more realistic they start to sound. And the more my image of God becomes distorted onto that filmstrip!
Before I know it, I’m not feeling very connected to God, I’ve lost shalom and joy and frankly, I don’t even want to pursue a relationship with Him. What a victory for the enemy this is!
Until I step into the stillness and call out to Him with a simple declaration of truth. You ARE good. It might start as a whisper. As I hear myself say it, it becomes more familiar. I hear the words coming from my own mouth and it’s like a distant memory, a cherished memory I can finally recall.
I say it again, louder- God, You Are Good.
And He shows up. And He understands my pain. And He understands my anger. And He wraps His arms around me, and the lies go running.
They run away in the presence of TRUTH. God is good and HE is truth.
Sometimes you’ve just go to say it, or even better, sing it. Here’s a song you can try it with.