Sometimes I hardly notice it. Other times it makes me feel as though I’m losing my mind.
I have tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears. Of all the things that could be wrong with me, this is hardly worth mentioning. Yet there are times when it nearly brings me to tears. It isn’t painful. It is really just an annoyance. Sometimes I feel desperate to make it stop, desperate for a moment of silence.
The high-pitched ringing is nearly always present. In order to tune it out, I need background noise to drown it out. Frustrating for someone who enjoys quiet. Some nights I lay down to go to sleep and it feels deafening. One time I even asked my husband if he could hear it because it seemed impossible that he wouldn’t be able too. Those are the nights when I’m grateful for my husband’s deep snores as it gives me something else to focus on.
As a child, I remember staying at my grandparents’ and hearing the radio on my grandfather’s nightstand play late into the night. He too needed noise to bring peace.
This ringing in my ears reminds me an awful lot of some other noise in my head. The voice of self-doubt. All too often present. It has only been recently that I’ve come to think of this noise as Satan’s whispers. These whispers are sometimes quiet. Hushed hints of unmet expectations. They point out wrinkles in the mirror. They compare me to others – always letting me know I don’t quite measure up. Sometimes they grow louder. Shouting at me that I’ve messed it all up. I’ve failed. I’m not good enough.
Over and over these whispers tell me lies.
Lie after lie. If I’m not careful I start to believe the whispers. I fall into a trap of hearing nothing but these worthless words. They create doubt where there should be confidence. They build fences where bridges should be. And the more I listen the more I fear they are right. Right about it all. I’m not enough. I won’t get what I want because I’m not worthy of it.
When I listen to the whispers I say no to things, I let opportunities pass me by because I grow convinced I can’t succeed. The more I let that happen the more doubt and regret follow. It is a vicious cycle.
So in just the same way, I am forced to mask the tinnitus; I must mask these evil whispers. I need good doses of friendship. I need Christian song lyrics on repeat. I must hang on the words of those I hold dear. I must fill my heart with words of worship. I must amplify laughter. I must listen closely for notes of love and grace. These are the things that speak the truth.
The whispers do tell one truth: I’m not enough. But rather than seeing that as a downfall I am reminded I was never meant to be enough. I was made for connection. I was made to lean into a faith that fills in the gaps. A faith that dispels the lies.
If you are like me and have some whispers you’d like to silence, together let’s make some noise. Let’s speak encouragement to one another. Let’s pay attention to what we listen to. Let’s believe the kind words offered to us rather than dismissing them.
You and I, we are worthy of peace. We do however have a responsibility to seek it out. It is freely offered if we seek it—just as Satan’s whispers are freely offered. We have choices to make. Together let’s create a new playlist. Let’s put positive on repeat and turn it up.