The Paradox Series: 1: Using Your Voice

It is time. Let’s speak up for a hot second. I want to do a series on paradoxes. The first being this idea of “use your voice” I hear lately. What does it look like when using your voice, in fact, involves being silent?


It’s been quiet lately. Deathly quiet. Sometimes loud, but mostly hushed up. With a lot of people telling me to use my voice lately it seems like such a paradox to keep quiet. I know all too well the ability to cut down with words as I’ve been victim and seeming victor in that. But some divine wisdom has hushed me often lately. At times it can be like God shutting the mouths of lions.


The wise hold their tongue. They react with calm.


Photo by Kendra Wiklund



Upon first recognition it seems that using your voice actually is about being loud, proclaiming things, speaking up. Yea, it’s that too. Yes, we can use our voice fighting for change, for justice, for hope, for creativity. All of that is a true and worthy use of your voice reverberating in echoes of the heart memory. In fact, we need a lot more proclamations and MOVEMENT. But more on moving forward while standing still another time.


So, what of the silent echo? What of the times you held your tongue for the good? What of the power in a look? That wide-eyed look of hope and longing, yea, you know the one. What if that were filled with words of worry and chatter? Lord knows (for real), that I’ve been there and don’t want any more of myself droning on and on in useless voice tones. It’s good to exercise your voice out loud and its good to know when to hold.


So often we think of using our voice as merely speaking, or a one-way means of communication. But actually, it looks like a lot of things, I think. I believe it can look like singing about how much you want joy and love. I think it looks like a lingering moment of catching the eye and dialoging unspoken understanding. I think it involves movement and standing still. I think it involves calling out the best in others. I also think it is the guttural groans of our pain. I think it looks different than we perceive.


I can shout about injustice to crowds of people, but I can also walk into a strip club and just bring waters for the girls and sit to chat about life. I can drown my heart in conversation of the meticulous speculations of lost love or I can embrace the sorrows of loss in being held by a friend who knows. I can have a vision of a movement that goes unseen or I can put pen to paper.


This using of the voice, it is not black and white. Its silent forms reverberate and shake and shatter as well. Don’t stop using your voice for good. Do it for the good of others, for the good of your heart. Shake things up with your loud and your quiet. You have something to say and are worthy of saying it.


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