The Voices of Our Past

The crippling sound of a familiar voice that lingers in your subconscious mind, that one that does not necessarily sound out the syllables of your name in a way that gives you hope; you hear it in your head when you have down times and when things are not going your way. When you hear it, you agree with it, that you were never going to be successful, that staying in a dark place is for you. There’s a sense that it does not get better, because even on days when you feel like you are at the top and are about to realise a break-through, the same voice shows up unannounced and it asks, “Who do you think you are? It tells you, “There is no way you can crack it.” Again, you find yourself in the same dark place, chastising yourself for daring to believe. I know that many of us go through this roller coaster of life, it’s both debilitating and derailing.

It is so hard to control our intrusive and obsessive thoughts because the voices just go round and round in our heads, one encouraging and the other, landing you close to nowhere. The mind is a powerful organ and can trick you into all sorts of feelings and thoughts that can easily run away with you and throw you into a place where you end up not knowing whether you’re coming or going. Many therapists propose steps of coming out of this roller coaster. The idea of going to therapy and having a sit down with someone who will give you tools to manage these voices, is noble but still, there is the very same voice that fights with you when you attempt to take control of your life. Here is a personal example; as many of you following this blog may know about the relationship (or the lack thereof) I had with my father (may his soul rest in peace). I really never thought his absence in my life would have an effect in my life at some point, given that we had no relationship at all. So when I was at Grad School, struggling with one of my courses,  a voice from nowhere creeps in to say, “If you do not make it in this course, you will be like your father.” And mind you, at that point, I had no reference to my dad in terms of his education and his life, therefore, this shouldn’t  have bothered me, right? But I spent that night battling with a voice that was telling me about failure. I really had a choice of  ignoring it and continuing with my life, but it bothered me so much, that I resorted to spending time in prayer making sure that I lay myself bare in the presence of the Lord.

In my spirit I was led to Isaiah 54:17; “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” I am sure you are wondering, weapon formed against? What does a weapon have anything to do with the issue at hand? Let me explain. Did you see the promises in the scripture, and it says they are our heritage. They are our entitlement, those promises.

Note:

  • No weapon formed against you will prosper
  • Every tongue that rises against you in judgment, YOU SHALL CONDEMN. That means you shall cancel, you shall refute and you shall render useless. You have been given the power to do so. It is your heritage to condemn tongues that speak against you and heaven will back your cancellation.

The scripture did not say every tongue that rises against you in judgment (to pass false judgment against you) God will condemn for you. It said YOU SHALL CONDEMN. God is not coming to do it for you. It is your duty to do so.

What awakened my thinking in this scripture is the obligation that the Prophet Isaiah attached to the one who is hearing the voices that rise in judgment, he says that I have the power to cancel, refute and render them useless. But the challenge this poses, is that not many of us have the boldness to confront voices or even tongues, as the scripture says. It seems we are locked up in jail, we are timid and do not have  tools to identify these voices and let alone the tools to address them to condemnation.

The reason I am writing about this is that I am seeing effects in my life of things that did not happen, experiences I missed, and things that I believe I should have experienced to make me what I believe is a complete human being, especially in the area of family and relationships. The other day there was an error in my life, which after going through it, I started saying to myself if only someone had told me I would go through this, I would have avoided or known how to deal with it. 

Something else to ponder on as you deal with these foreign voices is that God did not say that there will be NO weapons. He said that THEY WILL NOT PROSPER. None of them will. The negative feels and voices will be there but God says that they will not succeed. This is true and good for it means, the negative voices will not win. You will overcome them, control them, shut them down and walk into your most splendid destiny.

As I conclude this I want to encourage someone and say that we can silence voices or condemnation that have an effect on us today. What is critical is to be able to identify them and their effect on your life. The moment you can identify that annoyingly and crippling voice in your life, you are in a better position to deal with it decisively. A friend of mine said to me, “We have learned to live with these voices.” But some of us are deeply traumatized by the voices such that our lives are at a standstill, therefore it is necessary to summon the authoritative voice within and hold on to the promises of God. You will nullify the negative. You will move up and ahead.

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Love and Control

So is there love without control? Can love and control coexist? Can you have one without the other? Is control really a component of love relationships?

Love is defined as ‘an intense feeling of deep affection.’ I personally like the use of ‘the intensity of feelings’ combined with ‘deep affection.’ But now, how do you know that you’ve got feelings of deep affection or that you have intense feelings for somebody? Does it just come over you like a mighty wind or do you get overwhelmed by a combination of feelings and deep affection or do you just know? What triggers those emotions?

You will forgive me for throwing so many questions in your face but I am genuinely interested in this topic. I would love to know how you consider these two elements and how you experience them in a relationship, especially in this day and age as we tend to confuse the issue of affection and feelings. What really comes first? Is it the intensity of feelings or deep affection? For example, if you meet someone for the first time, what do you initially experience? Is it feelings, attraction, love, or deep affection? So which one has the power over all others? I know, I know, so many questions! Please, bear with me.

On the question of what causes the feeling of being in love, I saw a segment on HuffPost by Carolyn Gregoire, explaining the science of love in her article, 8 Crazy Things Love Does To Your Brain, According to Science. She says that when you first fall in love, you experience a rush of hormones to the brain including oxytocin, the “love hormone,” the “pleasure hormone” dopamine, and sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. This influx of hormones plays a major role in those intense feelings of fluttery excitement, attraction, and euphoria. So given this explanation of feelings, one then wonders if what we are feeling now is a case of euphoria or of attraction? Can we build our relationships around just feelings or is there a need for a balance between feelings and excitement?

In my years of being in love, I have realized that if I build my relationship on feelings alone, I tend to struggle because feelings come and go. So if they come and go then it suffices to say that sometimes I will not feel like I am in love with my wife. And if feelings come and go, then it also means that there are other ingredients that I must have to balance my love relationship. When it comes to attraction, most of the time it is built around someone’s looks, maybe how the person smells, maybe their posture and height. It’s subjective. But I am convinced that when it comes to love and relationships, we need more than feelings and attraction to sustain the union. I do not think that our building blocks of love should just be mere feelings, looks, and attraction, there has to be more than that. Seriously, there has to be something else that makes us stay glued together as lovers because as human beings, we are fickle.

I want to speak briefly about the issue of control; what is control in relationships. Do we control what we love or who we love? How do we love without control? When we are in love, should we control ourselves or the ones that we love? Just the other day, I was considering the issue of love and control, asking myself two fundamental questions; in a case where I am concerned about the whereabouts of my partner and I enquire by sending a text or calling them to ask where they are or when they’d be coming back home if that was tantamount to control or an expression of concern. And what is the difference between control and concern? Because from where I am standing, if there was no prior notification of their whereabouts, I am bound to be concerned if they don’t show up at the time they usually show up at. I believe that if I am in a relationship with someone, I have a right, and I know it’s too strong a word, but I’m obligated to know where they are and if they are safe where they are. In that set up, we would both be accountable to each other, therefore deserving of notifications on whereabouts.

Perhaps let’s look at ‘control’ to bring in some perspective. I found this definition very interesting; “controlling behavior is when one person expects, compels, or requires others to cater to their own needs, even at others’ expense. The controlling person targets an individual and dominates them in an unhealthy, self-serving manner.”I found this definition to be particularly interesting because it focuses on key issues i.e. domination in an unhealthy and self-serving manner.

Ken Poirot says, “Control and manipulation are not love; the outcome is a life of imprisonment ultimately leading to deep-rooted feelings of resentment.”

So if there’s this type of control that is manipulative in your relationship then you should know that it is unhealthy and may lead to feelings of resentment as opposed to love. But if someone is concerned and loves you, then they come off as concerned if they inquire about your whereabouts and safety. What is critical is to be watchful of the way that it is done, you will know whether it’s control or concern.

I have, for a number of years, been in the same category of concern which was getting toxic because it was not clear whether it was still concern or control. I really thank God that I’m slowly coming out of that cocoon now and I am able to mind my own business whilst praying that my wife is safe wherever she is. I always pray too, that my silence is never misinterpreted or misunderstood as disinterest and/or lack of concern. The truth is, there is really a fine line between being okay and not giving a toss about somebody’s whereabouts. My mother used to tell me that if she didn’t know where I was, then she would never know where to run to if anything terrible was to happen to me. She also advised that it was okay to make a mention of having arrived safely at a location and to signal my departure and as well alert the relevant people if I’d be running late or be delayed for an engagement.

With that, and without dragging on for much longer, I thought to share my concern on how I reckon we often mistake showing concern by being controlling. I will conclude this with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Please share your thoughts with me, I would love to hear about your experiences and varying circumstances that prove tricky! Let’s talk.