Listening To The Right Voice {by Tori Watson}

Spiritual Growth

Hi, my name is Tori and I’m an over-analyzer. (Cue the loving, unanimous group response “Hi, Tori!”)

While I realize this isn’t Over-Analyzers Anonymous, and many of you may not share this tendency, I felt like it was a fitting confession to start off with, because this aspect of my personality has literally affected every area of my life. Every major (and even minor) decision, personally and professionally. And while analysis can be great, when you let yourself get so hung up on processing through every possible outcome or solution – and every possible opinion someone might develop of you, as a result – you can miss the beauty of taking a leap of faith.

About 5 years ago, now, I was lying on my bed one day praying desperately that God would confirm what I was supposed to pursue with my life. I had just finished serving and traveling with a ministry for 2 years, and during that time I wasn’t really stressing about what would come next, because I knew God would give me direction in the right timing. Well, NOW the “right timing” seemed to have come and gone, and I was feeling a little hung out to dry. My interests were all over the place (theater, cosmetology, interior design, photography) and while they were all creative, the path towards pursuing each of them was so different. Even as I considered them, I thought through the different things that people would think depending on what I chose. I wanted to be perceived as smart and successful and creative. I wanted to know that I could be good at whatever I settled on. And I had a lot of people telling me I would be good at cosmetology (I don’t really know why, even!). So I started mentally trying to settle with that, but the more I tried to get excited about it, the more I knew that deep down I was actually passionate about photography, more than anything else. It made me FEEL. It excited me. The possibilities of creativity seemed endless, and the ability to interact with so many new people was thrilling. But I didn’t know anything about digital SLR cameras, or the computer programs to edit photos. I certainly didn’t know anything about running a business and knowing how “saturated” the industry already was, I was convinced I could never be good enough to establish my own place in it. Besides, why did anyone need ME as their photographer? There were hundreds of people already experienced that could do so much better.

Over and over thoughts like that raced through my head. I can’t do it. I’ll never be good enough. I’m not technologically minded, and learning the gear will be too hard. There are a million people more creative than I could ever be. So I continued to try to put it out of my mind, and think of other options. Until one very unforgettable moment when God literally interrupted my thoughts and said, “Are you going to let your fear of failure keep you from pursuing what you’re truly passionate about? Because if you are, that’s fine, but you need to know you’re going to miss out on a lot of blessings in life if that’s your mindset.”

I was stunned. And I knew He was (as always) totally right. Somehow, up until that moment, I didn’t even realize that I was talking myself out of something I was called to do because I was listening to the wrong voice and over-analyzing based off what it was telling me. I was nearly prepared to make a huge life decision solely out of the fear of the unknown. The fear of potentially failing. And when I realized that, I knew it’s not how I wanted to live. Right there in that moment God gave me faith to step forward, in spite of being afraid, and has blessed me in ways I would have never experienced had I not been willing to.

Maybe you’ve found yourself in a similar place. Where the voices in your head only seem to be telling you how inadequate you are, and that you will surely fail. I still have to remind myself not to hold back out of fear, and to stop listening to voices that tell me I’ll never be good enough. Because you know what? Even if I do fail now and then, it doesn’t mean I’m not where I’m supposed to be, on the journey that I’m called to. What it does mean is that I need to keep my eyes fixed on the One who called me, and who’s leading me, and know that every day is a chance to grow a little more. If I fall on my face, He’ll help me up get up and have faith to trying walking again. And if my process of growth is slower than someone else’s, that’s ok, too. Life isn’t a competition with others, but an opportunity to reach our own full potential, daily, as we walk in trust of where God is leading. And there is such freedom in grasping hold of that truth.

As you go about your day, be aware of what voice is speaking loudest to you. And if it’s negative, fearful, and self-defeating….take time to stop and remind yourself that’s not the Lord. When we’re willing to sift through and push those thoughts aside, His voice can come through more clearly and remind us of what’s true. That He has plans to prosper us, and not to harm us. To give us hope and a future.

March 18, 2013

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  1. Ally

    March 18th, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Such a great and inspiring post. I needed to read this today. Thank you!

  2. The Beginning of My Journey » Marvelous Things Photography | Blog

    March 19th, 2013 at 8:03 am

    […] to have had a personal piece about the beginning of my photographic journey published on the Delight {& be} blog, yesterday, and I wanted to share it here, today. If you’re not familiar with Delight, […]

  3. Julianna

    March 19th, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    thank you so much for writing this, Tori. SO encouraging. :)

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