Your Voice – An Unforgettable Offering
Are you quiet, reflective, reticent to speak up? Someone who either cringes in group situations or wistfully dreams of being a bit more bold like the gregarious, outgoing personalities that so easily voice their stories or perspectives?
I think I have at least one foot firmly planted in that camp. On the introvert-extravert spectrum, some would call me an ambivert, expressing some of each. But when it comes to boldness, I’m clutching my copy of Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, remembering her words, “Everyone shines, given the right lighting,” while simultaneously hoping the spotlight doesn’t fall on me.
Really, I believe God created each of us so beautifully unique. We can honor all voices, including our own. If we tend to hold back our thoughts, we can learn to view our own perspective and story as one of value and worth contributing. And if we often are the first to speak, we can practice slowing and making space for others to share their thoughts too.
How would you describe your own level of boldness to speak out freely? What ways might you challenge yourself to speak up or to listen more?
Honoring the unique personalities God has given us, we each can have a voice both gracious and bold, an unforgettable offering to the world.
Earlier this summer I began to pray and ask God to teach me what a bold voice might look like within the context of my personality and culture. This was prompted by a morning reading of Acts 14:1-18. Paul’s boldness was expressed in a loud voice, with weight and authority (v. 9-10) but also “in the Lord” (v. 3).
As I read this section of scripture, I noticed I felt uncomfortable with Paul’s boldness, though not because it wasn’t a great boldness. Honestly, I didn’t think I could be like that or face the fallout when it didn’t go well, as it often didn’t for Paul. And yet, I began to feel God nudging me toward a new boldness of voice. One led by him and spoken in the face of suffering or conflict, even if unpopular. One he lovingly views as worth offering.
I’m still not entirely sure what that looks like, for it seems we are losing the art of the gracious and bold voice. I’m on the look out for the rare, good examples.
What life examples do you see around you of others who are both gracious and bold? What might God be inviting you to try as you step into new boldness?
Will you join me in the pursuit to become one of those rare, good examples? Together we can practice the small steps in the opportunities God gives us to honor our unique voice, to speak graciously and boldly, freely and fearlessly. And then on other side, we can enjoy quieting our own voice and thoughts to create a gracious space to fully listen to the story and perspective of someone else.
What a gift this would be—for ourselves, for others, for the world.
How will you embrace and use your voice, your unforgettable offering? What is stirring inside that you long to boldly share? That quiet hope or audacious dream, that message God is calling you to fearlessly and freely offer? To let it fly on a breeze or a wind and be caught in someone’s heart and grappled with is a celebration of who you are. Tell someone. Tell us.
Very encouraging and thought provoking post Jan. I feel like I may be entering a season where I will have opportunity to use my voice more, both in writing and speaking. I long to be bold ‘in Him.’
It’s so good to hear you’re entering a season with more opportunity, Grace. You have so much to offer–both through writing and speaking! Much depth that Christ has formed in you. I trust he will give you boldness too!
I am also an ambivert, not a surprise that you are as well. I love the concept of gracious and bold; such a fine balance. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Jan. God bless.
It is a fine balance, isn’t it, Susan! Definitely a place in need of prayerful direction as we are with others, courageously sharing who God has created us to be. And what a delight that He uses even us ambiverts! 😉
This just encourages me to keep writing Jan …and to be bold in sharing what God is planting in my heart these days. He’ll water and make it grow. It’s also a great word to keep listening to others …to their story …to their heart! Thanks! God uses your words here! I was thinking how the name of your blog must have been given to you by the Holy Spirit to remind you to keep speaking out courageously. 🙂
I’m so glad, Joy! Yes, keep writing, be bold in your sharing of what God plants in your heart. Your writing encourages me and I’m sure many others too. And you’re right, even as I write about voice and the unforgettable gift it can be, I’m receiving the Holy Spirit’s reminders to have a voice of courage. Always in process!
This resonates with me, Jan. I’ve been through a long season of quiet, when God was drawing me to Him. Now I feel I’m being nudged to be brave and step out to share what He has taught me about delighting in Him. So scary for an introvert, but how can I not? As I was praying about my fear of teaching this at church for the first time, I thought of my ultimate goal of pleasing God first, and pictured Jesus standing in the back and clapping while I do a couple of the women’s Bible study talks next month. I’m going to concentrate on that image as I speak out with my tremulous voice.
This is beautiful, Deb. I have found those seasons of quiet (or stretching, or darkness, or you-name-it) to be vital seasons of God’s deep transformative work within . . . just before those nudges to bravely step out where he is leading. You’ll bring that depth to others as you teach. I love your “how can I not” willingness! And he has given you a wonderful image to remind you he is with you and for you. Cheering you on, Deb. I’d love to hear the follow-up story!
I love this call to be gracious and bold, to consider where we can listen or share, each at the appropriate time. Women have especially received confusing feedback on how to do both. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as you are still in process. I can relate to being on the journey in this area, learning that I have a unique voice and looking for examples of those who lead with boldness and humility.
Thank you, Sarah, for your encouragement and thoughts. You bring up an interesting consideration about the feedback women receive. I’m guessing this can be contextual and cultural and varies, which only adds further to the confusion. I think God gradually and graciously helps us shake off the misconceptions we’ve held as true, allowing us to see the truth of who we are to step into. Part of the amazing journey. It’s wonderful watching your unique voice grow in boldness and humility . . . because it truly is!
Love this, Jan! To be bold, yet humble in our own, unique way–yes!
Thank you, Kristy. I love what we each have to offer. So much to celebrate about that!