Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
-Casting Crowns, “The Voice of Truth”
My favorite part of Belle the basset hound isn’t her droll expressions or lazy temperament. It certainly isn’t her smells and slobber. It’s her imaginary thoughts—the things we pretend Belle would say—the made-up dialogue between Belle and our family.
For instance, when I say, “Belle, get in your bed,” one of the kids responds in what we imagine to be Belle’s voice—a cross between Eeyore the donkey and Doug in Up—“I don’t actually want to right now so I will just stay right here.”
“Belle, do you want a treat?” is answered with something like, “Yes, please, I would like one of those very much, and how about if you just give me the whole jar but please leave it open because I don’t have thumbs.”
I confess, I sometimes carry on entire conversations with Belle, even when no one else is home. I don’t mean I talk to her. I talk with her. Just today, Belle mentioned that she hadn’t had breakfast yet, and I told her that I’d been very busy and to stop complaining, and she said she was sorry and asked me to forgive her.
Occasionally, Nathan points out that Belle isn’t, in fact, talking. “She probably doesn’t even think that, Mom,” or, “What if her voice is completely different than that?” And yet, despite his call back to reality, the imaginary dialogue continues. In fact, the longer I play Belle’s voice in my head, the more real it becomes. I’ve given this dog an entire personality and thought life—even motives and ambitions!—that can’t possibly be true.
Pretend conversations are harmless enough when it comes to basset hounds, I suppose, but sadly, I have an over-active imagination in more important areas, too. I replay the voices of doubt and fear and shame repeatedly in my head until I believe them. I make up other people’s thoughts—their motives and ambitions—that probably aren’t even true. I mistrust and obsess, based on scenarios that come from my very own head. And as with Belle, the longer I listen to my own imagination, the more real it becomes.
Time for a call back to reality! Time to make my thoughts obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), and to think about whatever is true. (Philippians 4:8) Oh, Lord, enough with pretend thoughts and vain imaginations. Let Yours be the only voice I hear. “I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.” Amen.
Previous Lessons from a Basset Hound:
- Lesson 1: Obedience
- Lesson 2: Perseverance
- Lesson 3: Love
- Lesson 4: Hope
- Lesson 5: Smelling Like Poo
- Lesson 6: Tweet!
- Lesson 7: Reward
- Lesson 8: Wisdom
- Lesson 9: New
- Lesson 10: Friendship
- Lesson 11: Being Stung
- Lesson 12: Acceptance
- Lesson 13: Rest
- Lesson 14: Joy
- Lesson 15: Compassion
- Lesson 16: Sabbath
- Lesson 17: Eye Contact