by guest writer Lucinda Smith
Our heads are often full of voices – voices that pull us in opposing directions. There are so many words and not enough spaces in between. These words vie for our attention and the voices seem to demand some sort of action. At least, that is how it has felt for me these past few weeks.
Sometimes, there are emotions, strong and deep, that are attached to the words and this complicates things. Some of these, I know from experience, will subside, but others feel like I will break and tear apart under their weight.
Jesus says, in John 10:4 his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
As followers of Jesus, he is our good shepherd and we are his sheep. We have chosen to follow him because we have seen and found, in him, the way to life and peace and purpose. But the ‘following after him’ can get so complicated – others are journeying with us and the path gets crowded and confusing. It’s not as simple as we had thought it would be, or perhaps, as we had been told it would be.
I am 60 years old, and have learned a few things. I have discerned that there is only one voice that I must heed. Only one voice that speaks truth. Only one of the many, is distinguished and marked by love. Only some of the myriad of words that swirl around my head, competing for my attention, only some, will bring me life. I have learned this, but am also still learning this.
Jesus says that he is the Way, the Truth, the Life. What He says is not only true, it is THE TRUTH. This must mean that his words are superior to any other words that I may be tempted to listen to. Even when they don’t feel like THE TRUTH, they are THE TRUTH, and I can choose to believe them, or not. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. They have learned to discern truth from lies.
In this same passage, Jesus says this about his sheep ‘they will never follow a stranger; in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice’. He is so confident, isn’t he? So confident that the sheep will only listen to his voice.
Which brings me back to me, and the cacophony of sound that has filled my head just recently… ‘Jesus, I choose your voice only. I choose to focus so hard on your words that those of the stranger will drop away, as yours come into focus. Your words will never tear me down, they will not suck life out of me, they do not insult me or belittle me or cause me to consider myself to be either “too much, or not enough”. Your voice brings me comfort and is sweet and is often whispered – it reminds me of who I am and whose I am, and that is enough. You have said that I will not recognise the voice of the stranger, and therefore I choose to give it no space, no value, no power…’
Bio for Lucinda Smith
Lucinda is married to Steve, a GP, and they live in Preston, Lancashire. She has four children, seven grandchildren and a lovely chocolate Labrador! The subject she is most passionate about is IDENTITY, and, in the days before Covid 19, she spoke regularly at women’s breakfasts and small conferences. She is currently in the process of writing a book, The Red Thread, based around the story of adopting their fourth child from China. In a former life, Lucinda and Steve were medical missionaries in Pakistan. She loves mentoring young women on their journeys with Jesus, walking, books, good films and cream teas!