Use Your Voice

Speak, even when your voice trembles.

Say something.

Just say something, damn it.

What is the point of living silently?

What can God do with our lives when we resort to mute living?

What is the point of wandering through life and simply observing from the sidelines?

Is this all that there is – day in and day out, the same routine….the same, dead, heavy, silence that acts as an invisible crushing weight on our shoulders?

I can’t tell you how many times over the past 3 years or so that someone has looked me in the eyes and said, “Use your voice.” Too many times to count. For years I remained silent – observing life and living in painful silence. Scratch that – the way I was existing could hardly be labeled as “living”.

Well, my friends, the phrase has resurfaced over the past few weeks – but in a very different form and it’s really gotten me thinking about things. In the past, the phrase was almost always preached at me while I was perched on a therapists couch, muttered by peers as I suffered through yet another group session, written on place cards at the dinning table while in treatment.

Last week my chamber group here at school had the opportunity to have a coaching with the Cavanni String Quartet while they were visiting from Cleveland where they are in residence at Cleveland Institute of Music. It was AMAZING! They energy those ladies have is admirable, to say the least! What we focused on the most during our coaching was trying to decide what it was we were trying to say with the music we are playing.

It’s really difficult because when you have 4 different people with 4 different life experiences you’ll naturally have 4 very different interpretations of what is being said and how it should be conveyed, but we were able to come to somewhat of a consensus, thankfully 🙂

One thing that was said during the coaching: Say something. Even if it’s wrong or doesn’t make sense, just say something – take the risk!

And that really stuck with me (and honestly gave me a bit of dejavu back to the days I spent in Denver, CO.) I used to hide behind my music – I used it as a shield to protect me from having to say something. I always thought that my only job was to read what was on the page and convey what the composer was trying to say with the music – and while that is the goal, it’s only a very small portion of it.

For SO long I’ve been afraid to use my voice – I still am, to be completely honest. I’m terrified to speak up, so speak my truth. But this life was made to be shared – part of loving the world (as I seek so desperately to do) is sharing our happiness AND our pain. Using our voice doesn’t just mean speaking up and speaking out for the good in life – but also speaking up and sharing our hurt, being willing to ask for help, and even more than that – learning how to accept the love that others have to offer.

Part of using our voice is learning to let go. Discovering who we truly are isn’t something we can really do on our own – other people are here to help us learn, discover, heal, and grow through the good AND the bad.

It amazes me that God gave me music as a vessel to share his glory with the world around me and what I’m coming to realize is that that also means sharing my voice through that. I’m bad at conversation – clumsy and awkward. I like to write, but I’m always insecure about how it turns out. I love interacting with other people but am always hesitant about how to go about it. It’s time to let it go. It’s time to take a risk.

It’s time to say something with every resource I can – I need to use my voice to shout from the mountain tops, my music to sing from the stage, my arms to wrap up others in the love of Christ. I’m learning. I am growing. I am speaking up and trying to speak out. It won’t be perfect, I’ll say wrong things and at times, maybe even hurtful things. Part of using our voice is also learning to speak words of love, apology, and being humble enough to know when to ask for forgiveness.

God is teaching me how to love. He’s teaching me how to use my voice – both physically, and musically. It’s time to discover every avenue he’s blessed me with in order to share His love and His glory.

It’s amazing to me when I spend time reflecting on the past few months of my life here in Michigan, as my freshman year is drawing to a close I realize that I have achieved things I never thought I could and I have learned in ways and avenues that I never expected. I have made some marvelous friends and I have grown. I have cried, screamed, and struggled my way through tough days – but the good days have been amazing and bountiful in number! Peace has reigned and God’s glory has been evident to me and I am so thankful for the opportunities I have received and every single experience – the good, the bad, the stressful, the happy, etc – that I have been blessed with.

God is good. My heart longs for His glory – I want to be overcome by His presence and I want to make it my life’s goal to share that with everyone I meet. He is my living hope.

“You have to know what you stand for, not just what you stand against.”
Laurie Halse Anderson

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.”
Ben Okri



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