My life lately has been a scene from the animated classic Finding Nemo.

No, I did not lose my child. (Although as I’ll share in a moment, I’ve been tempted!) Remember the flock of seagulls all clamoring “Mine. Mine. Mine.” endlessly? Well, around here, I’ve been hearing a lot of “Mom? Mom? Mom?” usually in a chalkboard-scraping, irritating, whine. Until I’m ready to scream. Or at least plug my ears and yell “la-la-la” while running away.

Except I can’t. I’m the Princess’ mother. And her legal guardian. Not to mention she needs supervision even when I desperately need a break from all the noise so I can hear myself think. And there are parts of her behavior that she cannot understand or control no matter how many times I tell her to use her nice voice.

During a recent drive–trapped in the car with the noise to the point I couldn’t even hear the radio–I had a revelation. My complaining Princess is just one of a number of grating voices in my life.

What about those whispers of doubt? Reminders of my insecurity? Accusations of guilt? Pointed fingers of blame? Every day I’m surrounded by both internal and external voices that bombard my peace of mind. Speculations. Rumors. Gossip. Arguments. Grating voices telling me everything that is wrong with the world and how I can do nothing to change it. Voices whispering that my writing isn’t strong enough. That my career is going nowhere. That I won’t have time to write anyway once Princess transitions into her new job.

Still, there are other voices I hear. Those of other family members. Friends I haven’t seen in awhile. Social media updates that I actually care about. Stories of how someone’s day went and what type of help they need. Text messages and voice mails and emails chime in at all hours of the day. Some can be ignored and others must be dealt with immediately. I’ve even got characters inside my head lobbying for their story to be told.

So much noise. So many voices grating on my nerves and last thread of sanity. Will it ever end? In the middle of the chaos–like during the car ride with Princess–I find myself shouting to be heard above the chaos. Just let me have some quiet for a few minutes!

There in the momentary silence, I hear the still small voice of Wisdom calling me to rest awhile. Restoring my soul. Smoothing the path I should take. Giving me direction. Wrapping me in love. Inspiring true joy. Strengthening me to face the challenges.

And all it took was me silencing the grating voices for a few minutes. No wonder they call it “quiet time.”

What about you? What voices are clamoring to be heard in your life lately? How often can you shut them down in order to hear the voice of Wisdom? Are some voices a permanent part of your life or can you count on “this too shall pass” for hope?

Silence the Grating Voices
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