What Voice Are You Listening To?

Leeana Tankersley

Am I the only one with a noisy mind? Lots of chatter going on up there. Especially these days. And it can be all too easy to believe that every voice I hear is worthy of airtime.

When we are tired, depleted, or feeling vulnerable, we are especially susceptible to assuming the thoughts that enter our heads are true. We don’t have the resources to question them, hold them up to the light, like we do when we’re more rested and resilient.

So when I am particularly “under” a certain voice or message, I try to take a moment and determine the source. Is this God’s voice that’s nudging my heart? Is this my own soul voice that’s trying to get my attention? Or is this a toxic voice that’s here to just pummel me?

Let’s break them down …


God’s voice is the voice of love. We may think that the voice of God is the voice of blame and panic and an exacting judgment. Maybe our view of God has been skewed, and so we have trouble recognizing the voice of love. But here is the truth:

The voice of love convicts, but it does not condemn.
The voice of love invites, but it does not shame.
The voice of love asks, but it does not attack.

The voice of love is not a human wrecking ball or a bully. It is the constant invitation toward wholeness.

If a voice comes into your head, ask yourself, “Is this the voice of love?”


Your soul voice is the voice of desire. Many of us were taught to distrust our own voice. We were taught that we are a liability to ourselves. Yes, we all have appetites, proclivities, and wounds that — if not tended — will lead us down ruinous paths. But we also have something deeper in us than our hurt and our sin. We have the image of God.

When we are listening to our soul voice, we are allowing our desires, our longings, to bubble up. We are asking ourselves the question, “What do I really want?” And we allow the time and space necessary to discern the answer to that question.

Sometimes I think of my soul voice as the 80-year-old woman inside me. The me who is wise and experienced. Sometimes I think of my soul voice as the 9-year-old child inside me. Creating without editing herself. Imaginative. Not so worried about outcomes.

If a voice comes into your head, ask yourself, “Is this my soul voice?”


The toxic voice is the voice of the soul bully. The soul bullies are there at every turn asking you, “How dare you?!” and “Who do you think you are?!” They speak in absolutes about who you are and who you’ve always been.

The soul bullies deal in the currency of shame and fear. So, if you hear a voice that is trying to shame you into change, that is trying to scare you into silence, that is trying to get you to treat yourself destructively, this is the voice of the soul bully. THIS IS NOT GOD. The soul bully’s goal is never transformation or wholeness; it’s simply trying to get you to abandon your true self.

If a voice comes into your head, ask yourself, “Is this a toxic voice?”

Here are a few practices that might help you if you are feeling overwhelmed by a noisy mind:

  1. Slow down your thoughts. You might be assuming things in your head are true because of how familiar they are to you. Write down some of the thoughts in your head. And then really look at them on the page and ask yourself the source of the messages. Would God be saying those things to you?
  2. If the message is from a soul bully, then it is not from a reliable source. In other words, it is not a message that can be trusted. We do not want to order our lives in service of toxic thoughts. So, we need to take a moment and name these toxic message for what they are: destructive lies.
  3. Speak out loud a simple breath prayer. Say, “God, I rest” (as you inhale deeply) and then say “In your love” (as you exhale deeply). Do this four to five times and take it as slow as needed.

God’s voice reminds us that there is always a hand reaching toward us, there is always grace available, and there is always a chance to begin again.

My prayer is that you would receive this truth today.

Leeana Tankersley is a writer, a mom of three (12, 12, & 9), and a hope warrior. She is the author of six books including Always We Begin Again and her forthcoming, Hope Anyway. Learn more at www.leeanatankersley.com or follow her on IG @leeanatankersley.

This Wednesday, March 10, at 10 a.m. MT, we’ll be talking more about truth and lies on The Comeback Tour on MOPS International Facebook and YouTube Live. I’ll be there along with a few others to talk more about letting go of the lies we believe and leaning into the truth we need. Join us live HERE, or catch the replay HERE.

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