Finding My Voice

Have you ever been afraid to speak?


I have. I think we all have at one time or another.   For years I kept many of my own thoughts and fears hidden inside.  The problem with not having a voice, is that the gift of God is being suppressed.
Fear can entrap and silence us.  This is not what God intended.He made each person unique and divinely gifted;  and that gift is to be shared, not suppressed. No one should have to live in fear of being criticized, hurt or rejected for just being ourselves, but many are living in that fear.
Co-dependent or abusive relationships often create fear that robs one of the freedom to express their own individuality.  In severely abusive relationships, the freedom to think for oneself is often sacrificed for doing whatever it takes to avoid conflict.
In cases such as this, how an individual thinks, acts, and speaks is not an expression of their true self, but based upon the thoughts and opinions of others.  Complying with others can become the driving force in determining how one expresses their thoughts.   In abuse, one’s own person becomes lost and silenced by the voice of another.They become a parrot of the abuser’s voice.  This is sad, but true.
I remember a time when I first began drinking coffee.  A person close to me asked me what I thought I was doing, saying, we don’t drink coffee.  It tastes like burnt water.  That individual was saying that because they did not like coffee, I did not like it either.  Fortunately, I have found my own voice and learned to make my own decisions.  That person is no longer close to me and I still drink coffee today.
While you may be fortunate enough to have not experienced this type of interaction in your own personal relationships, you may still be affected by the thoughts and opinions of others.  You see fear attempts to enslave us, keeping us from expressing the unique being we were created to be.  How you may ask?
Those who rely on the affirmation of others to define their own personal self worth, are just as trapped as those in abusive or co-dependent relationships.  Think about it, do you make a decision, or complete a project then run to seek the approval of your spouse, your employer, parents, or friends?  If so, and you rely on the opinions and affirmations of others more than you do God, then you have some of your priorities out of line.
The bible tells us that we are to have no other Gods.  The truth is, if we give more attention to what others think than what God thinks, we are serving the wrong God.
What does it mean to find your own voice?  Your voice is an expression of your heart and your spirit, it is your true self.  It is not based upon the thoughts and opinions of others.  It is based upon the unique gift of who God created you to be.  You must have confidence in who God created you to be and value your own thoughts and opinions.  If your heart is full of God and his word, then you can be his unique mouthpiece upon the earth, expressing the gift of you.  God made you, and there is no other you upon the earth.  Don’t allow fear to trap you in relying on the affirmation of others.
Other’s affirmation is hit or miss, and if it comes, great!  We can not rely on that however, we must learn to be true to ourselves and God first.  When you can be comfortable in speaking freely in the midst of opposition, you have truly discovered your own authentic voice.
Kathy SmithBlessings to all,
Kathy

 

Where is Life Leading You?

 

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road into mountatinsI was on my way to Wal-Mart one day, but was in unfamiliar territory.   The road I chose after exiting the free-way, brought me to a dead end.  I had a decision to make at that point. I could choose to give up, turn around, and go back home — or I could choose to find another way.

I chose to reset my GPS. I drove my car in the direction I wanted to go, and eventually arrived at the point of my desired destination, Wal-Mart. Sometimes we find that the path life has placed us on does not lead to where we wanted.  Knowledge is power.   We can choose to use the knowledge of who we are, and where we want to go, to reset our compass.  

Many choose to walk the path of life, trying to make the best of the circumstances surrounding them.   Others choose to take the helm, live life by intention, and make decisions that lead them to their desired destination.  We were all birthed into a predetermined family.  That family may be high functioning, successful, socially adept, high achievers, or not.   It would be easy to simply sit back and say, this is the lot life dealt me, I can only make the best of what I have.  

We Do Have a Choice, and Choice is Power

You cannot choose your siblings or where you were born, or even the social status of your birth family.  You do have choices however.  You can choose to resign yourself to remaining in your current state and accepting the present circumstances; or you can choose to forge a new path and march to the beat of a different drum.  You have the ability to change;  it is through the power of choice. 

For instance, the decision to take creative writing in high school helped prepare me for the career that I now have as a writer and teacher.  The choice to give up dancing lessons as a child, and take piano lessons, was vital to where I am today.   A dancer I am not, but music, especially playing the piano, is my forte.  

There are circumstances over which we have absolutely no control; but that is exactly where the power of choice becomes most crucial.   We can choose to become bitter, resentful, and angry over life’s challenges; or, we can use the circumstances to advance ourselves to new heights.  No one chooses to lose their life savings to an economic downfall, or fall victim to a cunning criminal.  No one chooses to be victimized by an abusive husband or wife.  Nevertheless, bad things do happen to the nicest of people.  Life can throw us a curve ball when we least expect it.  

We Can Choose To Get Up Again

While we may have no control over our circumstances, we do have control over how we react to those circumstances.  We can choose to allow life’s challenges to beat us down into a helpless, hopeless, lifeless state of withdrawal; or we can choose to get back up, dust ourselves off, and rise above it.   When we make the choice to get up, God will send us the help we need.  Help to create a new beginning, and forge a new path.   It is a path to something far better than we ever dreamed possible.   In this latter case, God restores what the enemy took from us, in multiples.  

Take Job for instance, God not only restored what he lost, but restored him to a far greater state. God does not get even, he gets better.   He will restore to you what the enemy has stolen, if you will hold steady, trust and believe.  If you refuse to give up, God will reward your faithfulness.  I know, because he has done that for me.   He took me from my home in Ohio, to my daughter’s home in NC.   Then with nothing more than a few suitcases of clothing  and a shipment of books, I came to California, to start again.  I might add that I was no “spring chicken” at the time either.  Most would say I was far too old to start over. In God’s eyes, we are never too old to start anew.    cropped-IMG00004-20110927-1430.jpg

I can tell you from experience that God is faithful, and he will sustain you through the difficulties.   If you refuse to give up, he will guide you through each storm of life to the promised land on the other side.   I can also tell you that the promised land is more blessed than you can possibly imagine.  That reminds me of a song we used to sing years ago, perhaps you know it, the refrain goes like this…

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Where has life led you?  Is it where you wanted to go?  Are you where you wanted to be?   If not, it is never too late to reset your compass and realign your path.  You have the power to choose where you will ultimately end up.  The power is yours, if you choose to live life intentionally. greenway6

Perhaps you need a helping hand to help you get up again, hope again, believe again.   I am here to help, and so are others.  Write to me at www.ksmith@vision.edu.   Or leave your questions here in the comment section.   Would love to hear from you!