Parable of the Earbuds - Carrie Roark
“I can’t do it!” my daughter cried for the seventeenth time in 5 minutes. My daughter, 12 years old, was having a panic attack about her upcoming science fair presentation because she seriously dreaded having to orally present her project to the judges. As I was helping her prep for the presentation the night before, she froze up and instead of giving me an answer to the simple project questions, she gave me an excuse, “I can’t do it, Mommy! I can’t do it!” I reminded her to tell herself the truth that she could do it and that she would be ok no matter how the presentation went.
I wanted to get her to see the worst that could happen wasn’t all that bad. So I tried a tactic I had used before. “Will you die?” I asked her. “Yes!” she screamed through her tears. I gave her a look that said, “Really? You are going to die?” The conversation went on like this for a while. I could see that she was holding stubbornly to her misconception that presenting her project was going to be the absolute end of her. She would hear no reason.
I shared with her about the spiritual warfare we are in that is described in Ephesians 6 in the Bible. I pointed out that she was choosing to listen to lies from a spiritual enemy that wants to trick her into believing that she is worthless and no one will love her if she is imperfect. I told her that she could go on listening to the lies or she could make a different choice.
She came back with a question that I found to be quite insightful and told me that she was heading exactly where I wanted her to go. “Why can I only hear the voice of the enemy and not of the angel in the other ear?” Yep, that was the right question. She was about to have that ah ha moment. “Think about it,” I countered. After thinking just a moment, she said, “I’ve got an ear bud in my ear on the wrong side of my head.”
Exactly! She is almost always listening to music with one earbud in, and if I try to talk to her from the side with the earbud, she can’t hear me. She doesn’t even know that I’m speaking. She has to take the earbud out. Yes, she was starting to see. She needed to move the earbud to the other side of her head. There is another voice speaking to her, the one that speaks only the truth.
Can you relate to what she was going through? I’d bet that you can. I know I do. So many times, I choose to lean in a little too far into self pity, anxiety, or fear. It’s great to know that I don’t have to stay there. I can make another choice. I can plug my ears to the lies and become ever more aware of the voice of my Father.
Do you have an earbud problem? Do you take the time to evaluate and discern your self-talk? Do you have the discipline to challenge those thoughts and compare them to the truth of God? If not, you can begin today. Try this exercise. Fill in the blanks: I feel _____________ because ______________. And if that happens then ____________. Then compare that feeling to the truth. If it doesn't line up, toss it out without prejudice. As an example, someone may say, “I feel scared because I may mess up. And if I mess up, I won’t be liked and accepted and I may find out I that I’m worthless after all.” Now, that's not what I know to be true. The truth is that people don't require perfection to accept me and that I have infinite worth in that Christ died for me. I can let go of the fear because it see that it is not serving me.
I gave my daughter a word picture that night to help her understand what she was doing. I asked her to imagine someone told her she was on fire and asked what she would do. That's easy. She would stop, drop, and roll, of course. Now imagine, that you discovered that you were not on fire at all, that it had been a cruel joke. How ridiculous would it be for you to continue to roll around on the floor knowing you were not on fire? The answer is “very.” It would be very ridiculous. Get off the ground, admit that was a silly thing to do, and move on with the truth.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32