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  • Gladys Childs

Your voice has influential power. Know how to use it for good.

"You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself." Devastation flooded through my 14-year-old self. That was not what I expected from the pastor's wife. I had been through a traumatic situation and was finally ready to share the story with someone. I asked the pastor's wife if I could talk to her, and she said she wanted to speak with me too. Knowing what my story involved, I knew she would forget whatever she would say, so I encouraged her to go first.

Voices carry so much influence and power. Beautiful and amazing. Destructive and devastating. Almost 40 years later, I can feel the crushing effect of the words the pastor's wife spoke that night. I wish I could say I have never used my literal voice in such a debilitating manner, but that would not be true. I also wish I could say that my leadership, teaching, and shepherding voices had never missed the mark. Ugh. I cannot.

Many people think only what we say or do is life-giving or soul-sucking. In case you are unaware, I am going to pop that bubble. It is what we say and do AND what we do not say and leave undone, which can be life-giving or life-defeating. Lord, help us all.
When I first understood that the stuff we leave unsaid or undone could be just as bad as saying or doing something horrible, I was like, "Oh my gosh, where are the rose-colored glasses? I want to go back in time and not know. Now that I know this truth, I am responsible." Really? I had enough responsibility already, and do you know how much the average person leaves unsaid or undone that is wrong? I wanted people to stop telling me stuff, and I did not need another area of my life to work upon. The irony is, wouldn't you know it, that the various voices I have had over the years require much knowledge and self-awareness—bummer, dude.

I spoke with a lady recently, and she talked for a good thirty minutes about God and her spiritual gifting. She was in shock that hers was prophecy. She even had her mom guess what it was, and you know what her mom said...prophecy. And then her mom told her various stories of how this was obvious from when my friend was a little girl. We are what we are. Interestingly, my friend said she was so glad it was not something like teaching as she did not want that responsibility or the forthcoming judgment that goes along with that gift. She said she could not handle it.

I felt incredibly calm as she talked about responsibility and judgment. Good thing, too, as all of my gifts fall under the "I am so gonna get extra judgment category." This is probably why I am writing this series on the power of our voice because while I miss the mark sometimes, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to do things in such a way that I do the least amount of harm possible and instead, do the most amount of good as possible.
John Wesley said it best with the following:

Do all the good you can.
By all the means you can.
In all the ways you can.
In all the places you can.
At all times you can.
To all the people you can.
As long as ever you can.

As a Christian, whatever your voice is, it carries so much influence. Never underestimate the power of your voice and the ability it has to transform and devastate lives. 1 Peter 4:10-11 states, "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

These verses remind us to have a proper mindset and keep the end game in mind. What is the appropriate attitude: our voices are to be used, our voices are to serve one another, and we are to be good stewards of our voices. What is the end game: our voices will glorify God. Jesus demonstrated over and over again how to keep the proper mindset and the end game in mind.

Simple techniques I have used over the years to help me keep the proper mindset and end game in mind have been:

1. Look at others with eyes of compassion. We are all beloved children of God, and we all need
shepherding. Every person you come across is loved and valued by somebody.
2. Difficult people are often demanding because they have been mistreated and have not
been taught a better way to live and act.
3. Remember and repeat to yourself often: "...Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with
all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength....You shall love your neighbor as
yourself." (Mark 12:30-31, ESV)
4. Remember and repeat to yourself often, "All honor and glory to God forever and ever!..." (1 Tim.
1:17, NLT)

These four simple steps are game changers in doing more good and less harm. Having the mindset to see the good in others and actively trying to do good is like giving power to a light bulb; God's light shines for everyone to see. With these steps memorized and recalled, stupid seems not to happen as much. However, now that you know these four simple steps, you are fully responsible for carrying them out. You’re welcome.

I hope you have been challenged and have enjoyed this series on the power of your voice. If you missed any of the series, go back and read them. Feel free to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, share posts, and comment as you see fit. Please do so if you have not signed up for my email list. I send out bi-monthly newsletters and behind-the-scenes information.

Photo credit: Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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