Alright… here we go gang. I’m officially breaking my self-protective silence. Today, we’re diving headfirst into the last step of our process to develop a tender heart and a strong voice.
Listen –> Feel –> Do –> Speak
(Remember that process? If you need a review you can reread “God’s Path to Tender Hearts and Strong Voices.”)
I have to confess that I’ve been procrastinating instead of writing. Why? Because “speak” is the scariest step for me.
When I was a girl, especially in middle school and early in high school, I was incredibly opinionated and loved the sound of those opinions coming out of my mouth. I craved a debate, and I relished crushing you in a war of words.
Then something life-altering happened to me. At 16, I stalked a boy to a Bible study. That’s right. God will use any means to get you where He wants you. He leveraged my obsession for musical men to get me to a place with people like I had never experienced. There was revival of teenagers happening at this study, and it was led by people who had made Jesus everything.
I had never experienced relationship with Jesus like that, but I wanted what they had.
The musician-crush faded while my passion for Jesus grew, and I’ve never been the same.
One transformation that God did during that time is that He shut my mouth. As He taught me His higher ways and higher thoughts, I realized that my opinion was worth… well, the proverbial two cents. Learning to value God’s Word over my own words was a necessary but painful dying-to-self process in my life.
Choosing silence was an act of obedience at that point. (And God called it good!)
But years later, silence became something else entirely. Instead of choosing silence to learn more about God, I started choosing silence about important topics as a way to:
- Fit in.
- Get along.
- Seem righteous.
- Fit the acceptable mold for a Christian woman.
- Protect my reputation.
About three years ago, I realized that my silence had gone from being truly righteousness to outright disobedience. I had let the silence stretch too long, letting self-protection be my reason for silence, not righteousness. There were things I should have been speaking up about.
When I first started writing through this process, I claimed that I had been silenced by the noisy extremes, but that’s only a tiny bit true. In working through the details, I’ve realized that the truth is that I wasn’t silenced at all. I chose silence to protect myself. That’s been a painful truth to process.
God shone His light on my heart and showed me that it needed work but that He had a purpose for my voice. Self-protective silence wasn’t an option anymore. It had become sinful behavior.
God has a purpose for your voice too. I hope that you’ve hung in there with me this long because you already have a sense that it’s true. God wants for His people to hone their tender hearts and raise their winsome voices for Him.
So let’s do this together! I’ve been reluctant to dive into this last step because, truly, I’m such a beginner. It’s ok, though, since I have some friends that can teach us all. Here’s how the upcoming posts will roll:
- Next time, I’ll write a little about what a strong voice sounds like in God’s economy.
- Then, I’ll write about what it doesn’t sound like. (Let’s identify the pitfalls up front!)
- Following that post, I’ll interview friends that I see using their strong voices in compelling ways so that we can learn from them.
We can do this together! We can leave self-protective silence behind and start to speak God’s perspective into our spaces.
I’ve felt reluctant about this step. How are you feeling? Have you been silent too long for the wrong reasons?