If you’ve ever seen a Shakespearean play produced onstage, you know that they are riddled with dramatic individuals. Hamlet… Romeo and Juliet… Macbeth… Titus… Richard III… not the most reasonable or rational human beings we’ve ever encountered. You’ve likely also noticed that these dramatic folk tend to talk to themselves in soliloquy. If you’re unfamiliar, here’s a quick overview:
“A soliloquy (from Latin solo “to oneself” + loquor “I talk”) is a device often used in drama when a character speaks to himself or herself, relating thoughts and feelings, thereby also sharing them with the audience, giving off the illusion of being a series of unspoken reflections. If other characters are present, they keep silent and/or are disregarded by the speaker.” (I’ll clarify why that bit is in bold in a moment… hang in with me.)
Hands up if you regularly engage in soliloquies. (You can’t see me, but I’m sitting in a coffee shop with my hand in the air right now. Everyone nearby is studiously ignoring my behavior, which is exactly what they should be doing.) I don’t think it’s just me either. I have a hunch that most of us talk to ourselves throughout the day, and that often that running soliloquy is anything but encouraging or kind. Maybe you tend toward the dramatic, like me, (and Hamlet, and Macbeth), and every mistake or moment of weakness becomes an opportunity to berate yourself.
Now, I know this is a topic we hear a lot about. “Be kind and gentle with yourself” our leaders tell us. And in our best moments, maybe we are. But then we get tired, or discouraged, or distracted, and the old tapes play. Old habits die hard, and old voices are hard to silence. Which is why I want to encourage you to revisit that bit I put in bold above: “If other characters are present, they… are disregarded by the speaker.”
We know that our Father is omnipresent. He is always with us. But in those times when I am speaking to myself about my life, or myself, or my circumstances, I forget that He is so near. I am blinded by the spotlight, and the sound of my own voice drowns everything else out. But these days, I’m trying something different. I now imagine God standing just outside the spotlight, watching me quietly. He has so much to tell us about our lives, ourselves, our circumstances… and yet we step into our own light and rant to ourselves about the injustices we’ve experienced, the shortcomings we see in ourselves, or that terrifying mountain we face. What would happen if every time we think we’re just talking to ourselves, we imagined our Father standing in the shadows, listening… waiting for His opportunity to be heard? What if we allowed Him to step into the spotlight with us, and let Him speak? What if we stepped out of the light entirely, and kept silent for a moment? What if we didn’t disregard the other character who is always, always on our stage with us: our Father, the ultimate Author.
Let His voice fill the stage. See how things change.