Inside / outside voice
“For whatever reason, God never seems to shout when trying to get my attention. God always uses his “inside voice,” as my mother used to call it. Shouting, and calling, and crying out, and throwing people off their horses is great stuff, but that’s not how I hear God. I hear God in a whisper; in a look; in a turn of the head; in a subtle expression on a face.” Br. James Koester, Society of Saint John the Evangelist, Daily Email SSJE
The irony here is that as I read this from SSJE about God speaking to me in God’s inside voice, I am practicing preaching with all my might with my outside voice. My voice is soft. It is a legacy from my father who was soft spoken. It is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing as I talk to people and can more easily relate to them as a softer listener. But when I stand in the pulpit to preach the word of God or speak out to a group, I have always had difficulty projecting that message even with good amplification. My husband always sits in the back of any congregation or meeting giving me signs that I need to increase my volume. I have spent years working with an amazing speech pathologist, but still have to push my voice. If someone has a hearing impairment, they may especially have difficulty hearing me. My present rector has taken me on as a project to increase my volume. He let me read a prayer outside at a burial office as an “audition” to see if I had an outside voice. Yesterday I preached at a church without amplification. I felt as if I were shouting the whole time.
So, what is the point of all this in reference to our relationship with God? For me, I am just acutely aware of what an inside voice sounds like and what my outside voice sounds like. My connection to God does indeed come through an inside voice, quietly slipping in. I also know I hear these soft messages at moments when I least suspect God, usually in interruptions in my daily routine. I am wondering, however, if God also speaks to me with an outside voice, and I just never hear it because I only expect the inside quiet connection. Does God’s outside voice also speak at the least expected times by least expected people I don’t usually listen to or maybe don’t even want to listen to?
Let me know your experience. I want to hear from others struggling with God’s inside and outside voice.