No, this post isn't about reality TV, just to clarify. I'll bet that was the first thing that came to mind for some of you, which interestingly enough ties into what I'm writing about today.
How many voices do we have in each of our lives? If we stop to think about it, to count what it is we're hearing around us, all the time, I think we'd be quite surprised.
The voices in our heads
The voices of the world around us
The voices of those we love
The voices in our hearts
The Voice that speaks to us, constantly, whether we hear it or not
All that we hear, everything that we absorb consciously and unconsciously has influence on our thoughts, our decisions, what we do, how we live, we are shaped by the voices around us and within us. And yet we often forget the most influential voice in our lives - our own.
Our own voice holds much power in the words we think and speak, more than we realise or appreciate. Power to speak life or death, power to lift up or tear down, power to encourage or ridicule, power to soothe or maim. We aren't careful with our words, our voices, what we say to ourselves and those around us, Proverbs tells us that 'The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit' (Prov 18:21), meaning that as we think (and speak), so we are (Prov 23:7) That old adage of 'you are what you eat' applies to our voices as well - if we think negative, self-destructive, posionous thoughts, that is what we speak, live and feel. We have the power to think and speak life into every area of our lives and the lives of those we love and live with, yet this is not what the world encourages us to do. We're not 'allowed' to think that we're good enough, that we're worthy, we're conditioned to be critical and cynical of our environment, to look for the 'catch' in any situation, which makes us almost incapable of accepting love and grace without hesitation.
God created the world with His voice, He spoke the world into being with His words. If that's not a display of the power of a voice, the power of words, I don't know what is. We each have a responsibility to mute the negative, life-draining voices that threaten to overwhelm us, to bring the power of life-giving words and thoughts into the light, into our world.
We each have a unique story, a tale of the journey we've travelled so far, and the world needs to hear these. We need to find our voices and speak the message that God has planted within each one of us, even if we think that we're not worthy, that no-one would listen, because this is what builds community, what connects us to each other, and we are created to live as one body.
Raise your voice, share your story - the beauty, the ugly and the pain - bring the words of your life out of the dark and into the light. The world is waiting.