Your Voice

Your voice, as distinct as a fingerprint, gives you the chief instrument you will use throughout your life to engage and perhaps change the world. It does so through formal language symbols, as well as grunts and groans, laughter, singing, sighing, crying, coughs, whistles, and whispers.

         That’s why your voice (oral, written, artistic, or praying) is one of the greatest treasures in your life. It allows you to send your unique message to your family, community, place of worship, nation, the world, history, and to God. How you use your voice is a very big deal. 

         My brother, Vernon, a retired Sheriff, says, “The right to remain silent is one of our most precious freedoms. Everyone should try it.” My friend Glen Roachelle once said something similar to me, “You don’t have to condemn anything. Just be silent.” I’ve found those twin words of counsel to be excellent guides for living.

The Creative Voice 

God spoke the whole universe into existence (see Psalm 33:6, Hebrews 11:3, other scriptures). That is how He creates. Because we humans are fashioned in His image, we too possess creative vocal power. Our words live. Like seeds, they create new life when they fall into receptive soil. 

         So, whether your message, your song, is delivered as a solo or as a member of the trio or choir, you can walk through the world releasing words that create, encourage, and bless. Think of it, when you speak a confident and smiling “Good morning” to your spouse and children, you just designed the environment of their whole day. And you can do that at the gym, your workplace, restaurants, and every other place in your daily path.   

         So, if you hold the historic power to create such fine results, why would you allow others to draft your voice into the army of their reactions? Just because others choose to speak for or against current events doesn’t mean I need to speak about them. My voice does not belong to our national echo chamber. 

         When I venture into Facebook or other sites in the public square, I don’t stand up for America, Trump, Biden, Christianity, or my mom. Why? Because wisdom says every “yes” is also a “no.” Therefore, if I take the time to speak or write about Dr Fauci, I have to say “no” to my own voice and vocation. Jesus said He only spoke what He heard His Father speak. That means He had to say “no” to many other people and purposes—even good ones.

Your Signature Sound

But it goes deeper than that. Your signature sound comes through life experiences that excavate deep caverns in your heart. When specific (and often painful) things hit you—the fatality car wreck, a promotion, the birth of your child, a miscarriage, that award, or bankruptcy—they dig new spaces in your life. Forever after, when air pushes up through the subterranean formations of your life (like the collapsed mineshaft of a longstanding dream), it creates vocal sounds unlike any other human on earth. 

         That’s why we usually know after one syllable or sigh if we can trust the one speaking—we hear a tone, a resonance, that delivers critically important reconnaissance. Just by the sound that came booming (or creeping) up out of his or her underground zone. After working with James Earl Jones in the 1990s, I learned the truth of his famous voice. It rumbles out of the bedrock integrity of his life.

Caring for Your Voice

A well-known singer explained to me the great care she must maintain over her vocal capacities. Specifically, she must prepare sufficiently, pace herself, get enough hydration and sleep, cool down after a performance, and find proper rest and recovery time. Like an athlete, she spends more time training and protecting than playing on the field. 

         When she told me that, I had to question if I value and respect my voice enough to focus on caring for it as she does. I also had to ask why I think I have the time and strength to criticize others, indulge controversy, or engage trivial matters.

         I know some people have a prophetic or activist gift. They speak out as they do because God created them that way. I salute them. But I also know the centrifuge of our times pull many others away from their creative purpose. It spins them out into the orbit of things they cannot possibly create, repair, or even influence.

         But, closer to home, we all have the great honor of dropping words into the human hearts we encounter each day. That is a very high and noble calling. Might be worth working in that realm for the new year coming up.