I found my voice in first grade. We were lined up, 6 and 7 year olds each taking a turn at reading out loud from a misalette. The teachers were trying to figure out which students had a crack at becoming part of our Holy Communion program. I was set aside afterwards and told that I was to read a part of the booklet for mass. I was ecstatic and spent the next few days mastering my pronunciation of “eucharist”.
I would end up becoming a narrator a few more times for classroom plays and sometimes, I would even end up with a lead role. I think my love for speaking out loud made up for having absolutely zero acting skills. A future colleague of mine would have a term for it, “Nadaan sa lakas ng bosses”.
After a stint in a hotel, I applied for an advertising position (because that was the degree I held) but circumstances would once again lead me to a place where I had to use my voice. NU107 was in need of new jocks as the original ones were going on a mass exodus. I got a slot. For the next 6 or 7 years, I thrived, hosting events, pushing mics in people’s faces and regaling radio listeners with tales either true or tall. My voice was my weapon and it served me well.
You know the saying “Foot in Mouth Disease”? Through the years, I somehow just contacted it. Oftentimes, I’d say things that would get me into trouble. I can’t count on one hand the number of times this has happened. Whether on-air, at events, in front of people, you name it, I’d say it. Suddenly my voice was no longer my weapon, it was my master and it was me who was serving it.
When I met Jesus in early 2011, something strange happened. The first few times I tried to speak during Bible Study sessions, my voice sounded strange, like it wasn’t my own. I was still used to my old ways, reacting to situations, firing out wise cracks, saying the first thing that came to my head and trying to sound smart. The moment I resorted to these, I knew instantly that something was wrong. The world had taken control of my voice and I no longer recognized it.
Speaking in the heat of the moment, out of passion and pure emotion may seem admirable at first. Some of the strongest and most powerful words are wont to come out during these times after all. If it is impact you want, it is impact you will get. But at what cost? And at whose expense?
Remember Luke 22:33? Peter boldly declared that he would follow God whether to prison or to death. He was speaking what he felt at the moment (very brave) and even commendable. What happened? He would be intimidated before a servant girl only a few moments later. He ended up denying that he knew Jesus at all.
The great news is that Jesus looks past all the times that we have scoffed at Him or would deny His name in the future. He knows that though our faith may falter, it doesn’t fail.
What is the best recourse then?
Luke 8:9 is only one of the instances that show what the disciples did and what we should do unfailingly. It says: “His disciples asked him what this parable meant.”
We turn to God first. We ask Him what we should say.
Before talking with our spouse. Before saying the most obvious thing. Before taking sides. Before deciding on a matter. Before exploding with anger. Before assuming. Before reacting. Before anything. Before everything.
Let God speak through you. Let Him fight your battles, let Him silence your fears, let Him bless others with your words. Let His grace shine through with what you say. Let it be about what He wants to say. We cannot do it on our own. We can but why miss out the chance on letting Him work out His divine plan through us? Why close our doors to be part of something as cool as that?
I found my voice through God, speaking of Him with such delight 23 years ago in church…I am only too glad to be lifting it up back to Him. it’s funny how some of us forget that the ability to communicate is a such an amazing gift from God. We all have the ability to speak life, to encourage and to lift up one another every single day!
And I don’t mean to pry but I wonder, what have we been using our voices for lately? 🙂
Proverbs 15:4: “A gentle tongue (with its healing power) is a tree of life.”
James 3:2: “For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech, he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature”.