Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.
I have compiled a lot of life lessons over the years. It is my own “book of Proverbs” filled with wisdom and life application that guide me on life’s journey. In this group, is a small subset that rise to the top and I find myself sharing in all areas of my life. “Use your voice” is one of them.
It has to start with your heart. You have to know what you believe on the inside and what you willing to commit to, so all can see. There is no reason for you to use your voice if you are not willing to back up your words with your life. If you want to find your voice, ask yourself this question – “If I was to die right now, what would I want people to know about _____.” Sounds morbid but it really is a way to clarify what you believe about a subject. It can be as silly as who is your favorite football team to deeper topics like politics, family and God. I am amazed at how people will just say things and think by saying “Just Kidding,” it makes it all good. I realize this might take some time and thought. Take the time because you are worth it. You don’t want to misrepresent yourself just because you are flippant or didn’t want to take the time. You need to discover own your beliefs before you use your voice.
Use your voice in all directions. One of the things I taught my kids when they were young was to shake an adult’s hand and look them in the eye when they spoke to them. It is tremendously intimidating for a child to do that. Over time, they developed the confidence to respectfully speak with adults and others with confidence. The concept is true in using your voice in all directions. When you firmly establish the foundation of what you believe, you want to communicate this with others of all ages and life experiences. It is may seem easier to use your voice with someone younger than you – you have more wisdom, experience and life stories. Yet, I work hard to know more about the person so they can receive the thoughts with the least amount of hindrances. There are even different qualities associated with age groups that will help you understand how to communicate effectively. Using your voice “upward” is always a little difficult. Here is one tip – always be respectful and honoring with someone older than you. Even in direct disagreement, you can give someone respect. You need to use your voice up in all areas of life – family, relationships and business. You have important principles to share that will make a difference in their life. Be true, genuine and straight forward. Even if they don’t agree, older people will respect your approach and sincerity.
Finally, use your voice with God. Before I get accused of being sacrilegious, let me explain. Prayer is nothing more than you communicating with God. It should be a dialogue – not a “Christmas List” of needs or a debasing of yourself because you are not worthy. (Through Christ you are worthy.) If I went through twenty-six years of marriage with Kristin and communicated like either one of these two ways, both of us would be miserable. Talk to God like he is sitting right next to you and will see the difference. It will cause you to listen more as well. Last thought, it is ok to use your voice with God when he disappoints you. I think it is healthy to share your frustrations with God and even “argue” with Him. There have been some big challenges in my life where my and God “went at it.” I told him how I felt…but then I had to listen to what I thought He would say. I never won an argument with God but I cherish that part of the journey because I felt the genuineness of our relationship.
Have you been silent for too long? Have you held it in when you really needed to share what was on your heart? Can you imagine what that circumstance or relationship if you could really share your heart and what your foundationally believe? It is time for you to “use your voice.”