Finding Your Voice
When we were young, we said how we felt, we spoke what was on our mind, and we were unapologetically authentic to ourselves. We had no filter; we had no problem stating how we view the world, or asking questions about how everything works. Slowly but surly as time goes on we begin to be silenced. We raise our hand proudly in class to answer the teachers question, and we answer incorrectly as the class snickers. Careless comments are thrown around, "You talk too much." "You're too loud." "You laugh weird," etc. These small moments are replayed over and over in our little minds, and they turn into what feels like a big rejection. The enemy uses this to feed us lies, "You are not important." "Someone else can do it better." "Don't speak up, you will look like a fool." So we continue through life slowly believing these lies and speaking less and less. As we journey into adolescents, "fitting in" is top priority. We try to figure out who we are, and where we belong. We stop standing for what's right, we let things slide, we don't speak up for the kid that's getting picked on, and we stop raising our hand in class.
The picture that comes to mind is the scene from The Little Mermaid, when Ursula paints a beautiful picture of all the things she can give Ariel. Life looks perfect, she persuades her by giving Arial her deepest desire; to belong. And it won't cost much...just her voice. This follows us into adulthood. We get a job and we're told not to rock the boat. We agree with everything our boss says. We don't ask questions or challenge the status quo because years ago we believed these little lies. We traded our voice for the pretty picture of belonging. And by this point we aren't really even sure if this is where we want to belong. The good news is that now we can recognize the lies and know that it isn't truth. Don't let yourself be held captive to a carless comment someone said to you when you were 10. Bless it, and release it.
If we live in a world that takes our voice away, then why are their so many loud obnoxious voices all around us? We live in a social media driven world where we can hide behind a screen and say whatever we want and think it has no consequences. This isn't the "voice" I'm talking about. We know what the lies are, lets see what the truth says.
- "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who live it will eat its fruit." Proverbs 18:21
- "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29
- "Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin." Proverbs 13.3
- "Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues." Proverbs 17:28
- "The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit." Proverbs 15:4
- "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." 1 Peter 3:9
Our voice comes from deep within. It has purpose and power. Each and everyone of us posses the influence to use our voice in a way that is pleasing and empowering. It takes more strength and courage for a person to speak authentically and truthfully, than it does to mindlessly throw around words. We need more people stepping up and using the voice that God gave them. It took me a long time to feel confident in my voice, and it took a lot of discerning between what was true and what was not. Once we take notice to the little lies, we can bless them, and release them, and step forward confidently in who we are and who God created us to be. There is so much freedom on the other side. Sometimes using our voice might be saying nothing at all, but simply praying over the matter. The voice of truth doesn't necessarily need to be in the spotlight. Sometimes it is, but using it in seemingly insignificant ways can move mountains. Who cares if you only got one like on your status? Who cares if only two people hopped on the conference call? Who cares if fifty people where supposed to be there and only eight showed up? It only takes one; one person to hear the message that you spoke, and one to change the world.