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.