The Voices in My Head
by Stephanie Nickel
I’ve recently been writing what Julia Cameron calls “morning pages.” Basically, it involves stream of consciousness writing for three pages before heading off into your day. If you think it’s a stupid exercise, well, that’s what you write. “This is dumb. I don’t know why I’m doing it. Nothing good can come of it. It’s probably just a major waste of time …”
While I haven’t written these sentiments, I haven’t approached this writing as journaling either, something I call “rambling until I stumble upon truth.” Cameron’s assurance that “this isn’t art,” has been most helpful. No expectations beyond “Write!”
Even so, I have come across a number of “Eureka Moments.” I actually came to realize that I can silence those voices in my head that tell me, “You should do this. You shouldn’t do that. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah.”
Over the years, these voices have disguised themselves as individuals whose opinions I care about—and some I really don’t (odd as that sounds). This doesn’t mean these people actually said I should or shouldn’t do something. Even if they did, I’m sure they didn’t mean for their words or what I thought they were thinking to run as an almost-endless loop in my head.
Those voices can become overwhelming. These taunts weigh me down with what I call the “I shoulds.” (And I don’t respond well to this kind of “motivation.” In fact, I often dig my heels in and refuse to move.)
While I know that just because someone thinks I should do something doesn’t mean I should, I came to the realization that it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t either.
I’m on the road to learning to do the right things for the right reasons, and I’m sure this will be an ongoing lesson. As I learn this lesson, I will experience more contentment and more peace.
You must try this routine. … follow this meal plan. … read this book.
These things might be great, but I must look at my personal to-do list and decide what I can reasonably add to the list.
Yes, I should eat better—and I actually enjoy making healthier choices. But I refuse to beat myself up at if I chose to eat that last piece of coconut cream pie.
Yes, I should exercise more—and I have the know-how to put together an effective workout without stressing. But if my weights stay on the floor today, I must remember, Lord willing, tomorrow is another day.
Yes, I should get more sleep … says she as she rubs her eyes and checks the clock. But I can still enjoy the late night sessions that enable me to cross one more thing off my procrastination list.
The exciting thing is that the I shoulds that have eternal value are in God’s Word. And when He gives a command or a directive, He provides the wherewithal to accomplish it. He will also show me where all the other I shoulds fit into my life—and He will give me the wherewithal to accomplish those He has planned for me. The rest I can lay aside, further silencing the voices.
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