Each classroom was arranged in learning centers instead of desks. The students moved from center to center as they completed assignments, a plan that naturally invited noise. I learned that because of overcrowding, each teacher had been asked to select two children to form a new classroom…my classroom…and of course, each teacher had chosen her two most difficult students.
The first few weeks were a nightmarish battle for control. After losing my voice twice, my sister, Betty, a veteran first grade teacher, gave me some great advice, “The louder you are, the louder the children will be. If you want to get their attention, speak softly so they will have to be quiet in order to hear your voice”. I put her advice into action the very next day.
As the children entered the classroom, I greeted each one with a silent smile. In my hands was a brightly wrapped box. Curious, they asked, “What is that, Mrs. Southerland?” I merely smiled and said nothing until every student was quietly seated. “I have a new plan for our classroom,” I began. “Sometime during the day, I will call your name once. If you hear my voice, you may choose one prize from our new prize box. If you don’t hear my voice, you’ll miss the opportunity to select a prize.” It worked like a charm! In a matter of days, my students learned to listen for my voice above all others.
Stress thrives when we allow the many voices in life to drown out the only voice that really matters, the voice of God. Even Jesus couldn’t please everyone. Why do we think we can?
Father, sometimes it seems as if my head and heart are filled with voices and each one is telling me something different! Help me to hear You, to stop and listen for Your voice above the rest. I will seek You in the Scripture. I will seek You in prayer and in my daily walk. I am listening today for Your voice alone.
In Jesus’ name, Amen
Now It’s Your Turn
- Make a list of five “voices” that are frequently heard in your life.
- Examine each voice to see if it lines up with God’s plan and purpose for your life.
- Strengthen your ability to hear God’s voice above the others by reading and memorizing Scripture.
Below are a few of my favorites:
Psalm 32:8 I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you
Exodus 14:13 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (NIV).
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (NIV).
Isaiah 42:16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them (NIV).