I wish I had a concordance for my own writing. So many times I would like to be able to look up a word and see what I’ve written about it previously. I am making a small step towards that end by organizing and renaming the blog files by topic. By doing this I have discovered what I’ve been writing about throughout 2010. I’ve written about anxiety twice, twice also about contemplation, three times about the Life of the Spirit, three times about signals to pay attention to in your life, but I’ve written the most blogs about expressing one’s voice—seven times. So in thirty-seven posts(I did not start posting weekly until mid-February and I took a week off for vacation in November) almost 19% were about each person expressing their voice.
You may ask: how is this topic spiritual or even Christian? It sounds more psychological than religious. Jesus does not ever say: discover your own voice, so how does this become a topic for consideration? We were each created individually, uniquely, a discreet package of innate talents and areas of challenge, with many preferences for certain foods and other tastes and with a penchant for an approach to life uniquely ours. Why, when God could have designed us to be basically similar and even obedient, did he choose to make the members of the human race so highly individualized?
To me God thinks in whole pictures not in fragments and he has placed on earth at the same time the right synergy of people who, if they could find their own voice, would bring in the kingdom. He foresees the need for each kind of contribution working collaboratively with Christ in order to realize the kingdom of God. As more and more people are willing and able to find their voice and lift it up as God inspires them to do, then the world will more and more become that place where “the wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the goat.” [Isaiah 11:6 NIV]
Because we have been given free will, we have to choose to act in our own best interests and on Christ’s behalf—these are the same in my mind. We can certainly live for ourselves as most people do or follow his lead to become what we were created to be. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” [5:17 NIV] The new creation is being fully yourself and more.
The question for all of us is whose life are you leading? Are you being true to yourself, the way you were created, or are you living out the culture’s or your family’s way of being in the world? Whose voice are you raising? Your own or the culture’s?
If we are willing to follow our own true nature, then a whole new world opens for us. You have to give up a lot to get there, but most of what we give up is fear. How do you experience fear in your life? Does it present as anger? Or sorrow? Or shame? Or just plain old fear? Fear is at the root of all these other emotions. Why do we lash out at others in anger? Fear is often at the root of anger. What about grief? So much of our grief is fear for ourselves. These are normal human reactions to the events of our lives; but when we place ourselves in the arms of Christ, then the burdens of fear and anger, grief and shame are laid at his feet. As he transforms us into the person we were created to be, he also heals all these areas of dis-ease.
Freed of the distractions of fear and other negative emotions we are able to “voice” what we care about with love. I have put voice in quotes because not all of us speak the truth out loud. Some of us might paint it, or score it, or pot it, or write it, or engineer it: how we express who we are is innate in us. The important thing is to do it, to add our voices with love to the others Christ has captured in heart and mind and soul and strength. Then we belong to the kingdom.