“Find your voice” is a common phrase for tinkering writers. Finding, claiming, your voice takes trust that you have something to say and a way to say it that will resonate with others.
Claiming your voice requires stopping all imitation, writing according to someone else’s rules, and following your own heart.
But, what if you don’t trust your heart? If you have heard or thought that it is wrong, or misguided, or bad?
Or what if you don’t know what your heart wants to say when it has never really spoken before? When you have never really let your voice out?
Or what if you know what is in your heart, but afraid that others won’t like it, or even listen to it?
The journey to claim my voice, or even to discover it, emerged both in writing and my life.
As I hesitated to even write and let others read it, as I lacked the courage to re-read what I had written (risking a worse course grade rather than the personal shame of seeing my mistakes), I also struggled in daily life.
I could be fully convinced that my experience had merit to share in a conversation, but at the first spark of dissent, I would begin to garble my words. At times, I would even lose the ability to form sentences and statements that made any sense! I would be filled with dread and shame, wanting to retreat and never say anything again.
As I slowly gained my voice through experience, interactions, listening, praying, therapy, a loving husband, mothering two kids, and being accepted and appreciated by basic strangers, I was slowly able to claim my own voice.
And along the way, at those times when I felt the most unsure, when I could only feel shame and doubt, I turned to the Lord with a renewed sense of trust, reliance and confidence.
God has given us each a voice. God has created in each of us a unique and amazing way of seeing and understanding the world, and a blessed way of expressing our existence in that world.
It is through each of our eyes and experiences that the world is whole. We are each valuable, beloved children of God.
You are loved. You are valuable. You have something to say that God intends for you to say.
If you are a writer, artist, dancer, parent, spouse, friend, accountant, sales clerk, or whatever you are right now, have been, and will be – God has given you a voice that is heard by God, and very worthy to be heard by others.
And along the way, when you are not so sure, remember, Jeremiah 17:7:
Happy are those who trust in the lord, who rely on the Lord. (CEB)
[B]lessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. (NIV)
Lord, help those who waiver in claiming their voice realize that You created it, blessed it, and said it was good. Help those who have claimed their own, also realize that the voices of others are also blessed and amazing. Help us respect the voices that you gave each of us. Amen.