September 14, 2019

Who Are You Listening To?

By Jeanne Harrison

When I was fifteen years old I applied for a job at the most prestigious gym in Gainesville, ranked eighth in the country by Men’s Health magazine. Thanks to the hype, and thousands of college students, the gym had an endless stream of applicants and competition to land a job was fierce. The interview process was three-fold, beginning with a group interview.

On the day of the group interview I was easily the youngest person in the room. There were a dozen applicants and a team of multiple interviewers. Think Hunger Games without the weapons. They fired off questions and we sparred verbally, eager to impress. Halfway through the interview, one of the supervisors turned to the quietest applicant in the room. 

“If there was a soundtrack to your life, what would your theme song be?” he asked. Before she could answer, he went on, “I guarantee you will pass this interview if you stand up and sing that song right now.”

The room fell deathly quiet. She hesitated for only a moment. Then she slid her chair back and stood up. With a painfully awkward voice, she began to sing. To this day I have forgotten everything about that interview, save the sight of a shy girl—head tilted back and eyes closed—singing in a room full of critics. The song she chose was Queen of Sorrow.

Imagine you wanted that job badly enough to stand up. What song would you sing? It’s an interesting question. Would the theme song of your life be a tune filled with regret—the kind of country song that makes everyone cry? Would it be a love song with equal parts hope and heartbreak? A heavy metal hate song? Would it be a pop song about conquering the world by your own sheer awesomeness? Or a song about the queen of sorrow and all this hell within

The crazy thing about the soundtrack of your life and mine is we create them ourselves. Note by note they materialize as we listen to all the thoughts and feelings roaring within. 

The condemning echo of the past. 

The fearful whisper of the future. 

The competitive cry of social media. 

The endless critique from bosses, or in-laws, or fill in the blank. 

Changing the soundtrack of our lives begins by giving ear to God’s Word. Hebrews 1:1 says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” In other words, the birth of Christ signals a cosmic paradigm shift. Where God once revealed Himself through prophets—mere men—He now reveals Himself through Jesus.

The great tragedy of the New Testament is that the Jews preferred the prophets. They clung to Old Testament prophecies, all the while rejecting the very fulfillment of those prophecies, standing in human form before them. In so doing, they listened to the words of men instead of the Word made flesh. 

Two thousand years later we do the very same thing. We listen to the ex who said, “You’ll never get your life together,” instead of the Messiah who says, “I came that you may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). We listen to the clamor of culture that always cheers, “More!” instead of the Voice that once warned, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). We lie awake at night listening to a thousand “what ifs,” meanwhile Jesus cries, “Don’t worry about your life! There is peace in Me, for I have overcome the world.” (Matthew 6:25, John 16:33).

Whose voice are you listening to? In his book, Dangerous Calling, Paul David Tripp wrote two sentences that revolutionized my thought-life: “No one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you more than you do. Whether you realize it or not, you are in an unending conversation with yourself, and the things you say to you about you are formative of the way that you live.”

The best thing about being in an unending conversation with yourself is that you have the power to change the conversation. You have the power to allow God’s Word to inform and reform your thoughts. It all begins by listening to Jesus. The author of Hebrews writes that Jesus is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3). If we want to know what God is like, we must look to Jesus. Pay attention to His words. Learn from His life. Invite Him into the unending conversation you’re having with yourself today. I guarantee He has something beautiful to say.


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