Finding Your Voice

We had some friends recently visit our home. Our dog Zoey was checking them out, no doubt recognizing their familiar scent. Zoey, swept away with excitement, was jumping all over them, and even let out a small bark of excitement. Our friends, who had been around us and Zoey many times over the last 8 years commented, “Wow! We’ve never heard Zoey bark before!”

My quick response was, “She finally found her voice!” I went on to explain that when my family went on a brief vacation, Zoey was watched by some of our family members, and through their playing and interaction with her, she learned how to bark!

Now, I’ve always complimented Zoey for having an exceptional temperament…granted, she’s not the smartest dog, but she has historically been a good dog, and more importantly one that’s never barked. Well, that is, until recently. Now, upon finding her voice, she barks whenever she’s been left outside alone for more than a few minutes.  Any suggestions on how to break this bad habit?  Please feel free to share. But I digress…

I later thought about that statement – finding your voice – and I wondered what implications it might have for us humans.

  1. Finding your voice is vital in knowing your purpose. Mark Twain was quoted as saying “The two most important days of our lives are when we were born, and when we find out why we were born.” Truly, understanding our purpose will help us to avoid squandering our days here on earth.  What is the message that you are passionately trying to convey?  What gets you up every morning?  What keeps you up late at night?  I guess we could even say it like this: when you find your voice, you will know your purpose, and when you know your purpose you will find your voice!
  2. Finding your voice will keep you focused. There are so many things competing for our attention, it is more difficult than ever before to maintain focus on who we are and what we’re called to do. Distractions are everywhere. Many of them at our very fingertips (most likely the mobile device that you are reading this blog post on). Yet, when we keep the main thing the main thing, we will eliminate many ancillary activities, that can limit our productivity.  When you’ve found your voice, you won’t be able to afford to waste any time on things that are simply causing you to deviate from your purpose…you WILL stay focused.
  3. Finding your voice will increase your effectiveness. If you know what language you speak, you will avoid many frustrating conversations. Perhaps, as equally important would be knowing what language your audience speaks! There are fewer things more annoying than having to listen to a speaker stand before an audience for 45 minutes, and not say anything. Side note: I’ve experienced this frustration on both sides of the lectern. Speakers, ALWAYS make sure that in the first few moments of your speech you engage and connect with your audience! Otherwise, what’s the point? Everyone’s time will be wasted.  If you’ve already “discovered” your voice, you won’t have to “experiment” on a live audience.
  4. Finding your voice will get people’s attention. Inevitably, our lovable K9 will be outside where she is supposed to be doing her…uhhh…business.  Sometimes however, within mere minutes, she begins to use her voice (I believe the technical term is bark), to alert the entire neighborhood that she is ready to return back into the confines of her cozy home. Do I like it?  No. Does it work? Yes. Will she continue to bark to get our attention? Unfortunately yes.  When you learn how to use your voice for the right reasons, you will be able to get and even keep people’s attention.

Your voice is a powerful thing.  My desire for you is that you find it.  Additionally, there’s no point in having a voice if you don’t have a platform to project it from.  So, blog what’s on your mind.  Maybe even start a vlog (that would be a video blog).  Write a book.  If you feel a call to ministry, pray that God would give you an opportunity to share what’s on your heart, and also, find a Pastor or mentor that can help you develop the gift that is inside you.

Don’t delay.  Start now.  Find.  Your.  Voice.   

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