One measure of wisdom in your life is what you believe about speaking. And I'm not talking simply about the words that come out of your mouth; it's much deeper than that.
Most of us, driven by our insecurities, have come to a place in our lives where we speak out of ourselves in order to speak into ourselves. We say, show, and live those things that will garner us approval or accolade from others so that we feel better about ourselves. It's all based on achievement. It's something we do. And we do it only so that it means something; we do it because we think we know what it means.
We go after that promotion at work because we think it means something if other people see us as a manager and not just an assistant manager. We browse the lot of new (used) cars because there's something to be said for a man who can upgrade his wheels. We brag about our children on social media, not because we want you to know how awesome our kids are but because we want you to kind of be impressed with us, as parents, too. We share our latest accomplishment, however trivial or small it may seem, as soon as we hear the news because we can't wait to get the feedback and hear what it all means. Whether or not, as we long in our souls for to be the case, it's really anything at all.
I know because I lived quite a good deal of my life this way. Speaking out of myself - my accomplishments, my successes, my achievements - in order to speak into myself. Longing for my life to be anything. Waiting to hear what it all means.
The problem, of course, is that when your life speaks for you, it can never shut up. You have to keep doing, keep achieving, keep putting yourself out there in front of others lest you lose the meaning in your existence. If you use your life to speak into your life, you have to keep pouring yourself into your life to hear anything at all. And all of a sudden, you can't remember which came first - the life you speak out of or the life you speak into? It's all quite a mess.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about the pieces of masking tape I keep on my desk - just little reminders of the life I want to live. I've added a new one since I wrote that post: Only God speaks into your life. Only God tells you who you are. Only God affirms your existence. Only God provides meaning and passion and purpose. It's something I just can't do for myself any more, nor do I want to.
See, something interesting happens when God speaks into your life: you only have to worry about speaking out of it. You get to put things out in this world, good things, things that are created uniquely in you without worrying what comes back to you. You get to do the things God has called you to do without wondering if it's really your thing. God speaks; you know. It is really your thing. You get to be a blessing to others without the burden of validating yourself in the process. You're already validated. It's remarkably freeing.
It's because when God does the speaking, the things that used to agonize you, the things that used to energize you, the things that used to drive you...now quiet you in His presence. You realize what it really means - which is not anything that you do or anything that you are but is this very real experience of who God is and what He is doing in you. It's the ultimate affirmation because it's not anything you've created; it's the way you were created. All of a sudden, all that meaning you've been longing for sinks into your depths and...and it's beautiful. It inspires you to be more of that person, not so the world will know but so that you will know. So that you will hear that whisper again.
Who speaks into your life?