- Gladys Childs
The Power Behind Your Voice
Just in case this is the first of my blogs you are reading, I need to let you know we are going deep, real deep. You may just need to read a sentence or paragraph more than once. You may need to read this, let it percolate and then come back later and read it again. Every once in a while, we just have to slow down and savor the flavor, or in this case savor the writing and what it means. This might be one of those times. You might be left with more questions than answers, but that is why this is month long series, and we will get where we need to go by the end.
Your voice is your superpower. The use or neglect of it is a direct reflection of the depth of your walk with God. In Proverbs 27:19 it states, "As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart." (NIV) Your voice reflects your heart or the state of your soul.
Our voice goes to the core of who we are in all of our beauty and brokenness. The power of our voice can be lost due to ignorance, neglect, overuse, trauma, and injury. On the other hand, our voice is magnified as we have deeper and deeper communion with God. The real power behind our voice is God. The only reason our voice becomes powerful is because of the quality of our connection with God, who is the source of all power...The Ultimate Voice.
When I think about who had a powerful voice in the scriptures, three people come to my mind: Esther, Jonah, and Mary Magdalene. Not everyone's first choice in powerful people or even on the radar. However, their individual voices changed the course of history. Whether it was giving hope or saving lives or proclaiming Jesus. Their voices helped to change lives.
Esther. The bible makes it clear she was beautiful. Not every day run of the mill beauty, but exceptional. In a time when a woman was a piece of property, being stunningly beautiful would have come in handy.
In our culture today, while beauty is revered, it is a double edge sword. As long as a beautiful woman fits into the stereotypical roles assigned to her, then all is well and fine. However, if a beautiful women steps outside of that narrow role...which generally involves being some form of an object of desire, then shame on her. I bring that up, because of our current cultural biases towards beauty, we may impose those on the story of Esther and see her as less then, stupid, dumb, or unable to do anything apart from her looks. To do so would be wrong. And miss the power of her voice in all of its totality.
Esther's beauty may have helped her to be in a position of power; however, it was not her looks that saved her people. The king had a harem of beautiful women. What caused Esther to stand out was her faith in God, her bravery, her courageousness, and her astute intellect and timing. She knew when to focus solely on God and ask others to do the same, she knew when to speak, and when to be silent. Esther knew how to maneuver in treacherous situations and do so cunningly. (Est. 2:9, 2:15, 4:16, 5:1-8, 7:1-6)
Jonah. Cantankerous, honest, blunt, and a God loving and fearing soul. Jonah, very reluctantly and with little effort and much anger, carried out the task he was assigned by God and a city along with every living thing in it was saved. The Voice (God) gave Jonah's feeble and irascible voice incredible power and persuasion.
Mary Magdalene. Loyal and generous. Her steadfastness was her voice. Jesus magnified her strengths as he used them to rebuke others. Her voice became the first to proclaim Jesus Christ as resurrected. Her voice was so strong that she is often referred to as the first evangelist and is mentioned more than any other woman in the New Testament and more often than most of the apostles.
Courage (Esther), independence (Jonah), and freedom (Mary Magdalene) are some of the attributes that make a stronger voice. These can only be found in Christ. Our voice is our identity and purpose in Christ.
The power of a voice. We all tend to underestimate the power that exists within us. As a pastor's wife, I have joked for years that I am the one to write my husband's sermons. As a professor, I stand in front of a classroom and tell my students on the first day of class how much they are going to love spending the semester with me and how awesome I am. And, you know what I have found. Multiple church members have said, "Wow, I didn't know you wrote his sermons." And, when I am explaining something really hard in Logic class and I tell my students I know that they love Logic, they say "We don't love Logic, we love you and your class." Just by the theoretical power of my positions, people believe what I say. Who do you hold theoretical power over?
To have a powerful voice that reaches others, you have to bring more of the God in you to the forefront. You can talk about God, be all intellectual, but is what you are saying and doing authentic to who you are in Christ? Do people know God more at the end of an exchange with you? Are they enriched and transformed? You have to bring more of who you are authentically in Christ. You cannot do that without a deep connection with God. It is within authentic and earnest connections with God that great artists, singers, speakers, writers, athletes, and everyday individuals go forth to create or do something which is beyond their own capabilities.
When we are not connected to our Creator God in the manner that we need to be we lose our voice. Writers cannot write. Singers cannot sing. Artists loose inspiration. Caregivers cannot give. Our voice is so much more than what we produce, it is the power of a living and omnipotent God working and moving, molding, changing, creating, restoring, and healing. Whenever we are reminded of who we truly are in Christ and who we are inspired to be, it is at this crossroads where the power of our voice booms forth for the honor and glory of God. This is the place where God resides and the place where we need to remain as long as possible.
How do we remain at the crossroads? Following the basic spiritual pathways and then taking the narrow path to its truer and deeper meaning of being reconnected with the spark and purpose that God created you for. By nurturing the qualities of God in yourself and others to liberate the freedom, independence, and courage within. That will free your real voice and its power to influence and change those whom you come in contact with. Your voice is more than you think it is.
Your voice should be a channel through which the power of God flows to change the world. As Christians, our voices are to be the emblem of The Speaker as God is indelibly woven into the fabric of who we are. Our voice is a declaration of our membership in the family of God. Our voice is our identity as a child of God. It reflects our connection with God in a particular moment. Also, through voice, we recognize and categorize people as: fellow children of God, fence sitters, broken, hurting, searching, or those who have turned their back on the reality of God.
Roy Hart, an early researcher in the exploration of the voice said, “The voice is the muscle of the soul.” The voice is the muscle of the God within us. How much of your voice comes from your own thoughts, or what you think others want to hear, instead of from the God who is speaking to and working in your soul?
So, how is the state of your soul? Pause and reflect on this for a moment. We are here for God's glory, not ours. That is when our voice may be the loudest, when it is truly reflecting who God is and how God acts. When we reflect the mysterious and yet relatable God.
So, you may be asking yourself, what does the term "voice," mean? Or you might be thinking, she brought up ____ point or such as such but gave no real explanation or application. True. Stay tuned.
Keep coming back this month as I define "voice" and what it means, and the various ways it manifests itself. I will unpack more of the ideas and concepts raised in this blog. And we might just take another look at Esther, Jonah, and Mary Magdalene.
If you brain hurts after reading this, sometimes, that is just the way things go. Let this blog percolate, sleep on it, and come back and re-read it. God is taking us all, me included, on a journey.
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Photo credit: Photo by Ingo Stiller on Unsplash