Silence has been a word running through my mind in this past season of life. I have pondered its deepest meaning, emptiness, and peace while noticing the times when others choose this lack of sound over voice. Me, on the other hand, have found that I have been creating a wider expanse between silence and me, using my voice to convey the very parts of me that make me who I am.
And the crazy awesome thing is, God is not calling me to be silent.
Over the past month, I have been placed in situations where silence from others has become intensely loud. Women who I know have educated, eloquent opinions over tricky subjects seem to loose all sense of voice and confidence as soon as opposition arrives. They agree, replicate, and repeat opinions of others, for what benefit, I do not know. I can’t speak for all women, but I feel this is a problem we have all faced at one point or another.
I feel that the problem is solely rooted in this: “I don’t want others to think badly of me.”
This goes through all of our heads. Of course we don’t want others to see us as anything but the best. But instead of becoming perfection, we instead start becoming a bland, colorless version of ourselves. Is there any vibrancy in that… of course not.
The bible tells us to speak… keep speaking to the world no matter the ones around us.
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you and no one is going to attack or harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10
Let’s dissect this bit of scripture (future English teacher, what do you expect). Paul was in Corinth, preaching in the Lord’s name, letting all people know the good and joy found in Him. When two men, Silas and Timothy, opposed Paul’s belief about Jesus as the Messiah, they became abusive. Paul had two choices: to be quiet or to keep speaking from his soul. This is when the Lord interjects. “Do not be afraid.” Opposition is scary man. Thoughts of unworthiness, self-doubt, and lack of knowledge start racing through our anxious hearts. Without God, we would submit to these negative thoughts and give our lives over to binding chains. With God, Paul doesn’t have to be afraid because He is with him, protecting him from abuse and harm.
And God is with all of us too. God is always interjecting in our lives, pushing us to stand tall and to speak. With God, we can keep speaking the things placed so heavily on our hearts. We have opinions and passions for a reason, not just to sit silent with them. God does not want silence, he wants communication, discussion, and questioning because that is what brings people closer to Him and the joy he can fill our cups with.
Quite frankly, if someone does not respect the beautiful voice coming from your lips, they do not deserve the time of day you are giving them. I have learned to speak without apologies, leaving me feeling free and empowered to pursue my purpose. Speaking makes me strong while silence makes me weak, which is one reason why I created this blog in the first place.
But this way of thinking and doing takes a little practice, and this practice starts today. I have found that the more you make yourself resist silence, the less apprehension you feel about the core of who you are. Take today to speak using the bold, inner voice that we all have playing in our heads. Listen to that little nudge at your heart that tells you to raise your voice a little higher. Tell the fears, humility, and anxiety to take the back seat on today’s drive so that YOU can control the wheel. This may sound silly, but picture yourself driving the car of your life with YOU being in control. Use this image as you speak today.
We will not be alone, as God assures Paul by saying “because I have many people in this city.” As followers of Christ, one of the most important things we can do is support our faith community so that others feel empowered to share their authentic story of life when Christ entered. Let us empower those around us to speak up for their beliefs, for their rights, and for their opinions because we deserve the same rights too.
Today’s plan is simple but it holds a great deal of power. As I have become more confident in my voice, I have begun caring less about what others think of me and more of what God sees in me. I live to praise him and I strive to use my voice to bring love, joy, and the good news of Jesus Christ to others that may not have been lucky enough to experience this.
What will you speak of today when you normally would have chosen silence?