Free Your Voice | Introduction
THE PROBLEM | TRAPPED
Let me ask you a question... Have you ever felt trapped by fear, doubt, insecurity, worry... pain? Ever been imprisoned by your own anxious thoughts and no matter what you do, you can't get out of your own head? I know I have. Or maybe you've felt caged in by the circumstances of your life, your own past or mistakes... OR, the mistakes of someone you love and trusted? Or the terrifying thought that no matter what you do, you just can't change the course of your life. Its sounds something like this… “Things are just always going to be this way. There isn’t anything I can do. I'm stuck in this prison forever. No matter what I do, I can't break free.”
I know from experience, it can feel like a prison that you'll never bust out of. But here's the thing... the only thing keeping us trapped is believing those lies. Believing the voice in our heads that says you aren't enough, you aren't wanted, you aren't strong, you aren't _______ (You fill in the blank.)
The lying started WAY back in the Garden of Eden when Satan told Eve that first whopper... "God doesn't want you to eat that fruit because He's holding out on you." And if you really look at the thoughts that keep you awake at night or spin in your head during the day, they ALL go back to a base distrust of who God is and His heart and intentions towards you. Those lies are what keep us trapped - feeling like we're helpless and life is just always going to be tough and there's nothing you can do about it. Because if you believe that God is somehow holding out on you, you're sunk. Seeing that He's God and all, it's pretty tough to fight your way out if you think the Big Man Himself isn't on your side.
Well, I’m here to tell you… that just SIMPLY ISN’T TRUE!
God is on your side! His heart and His intentions for you are only the best and His Love is so fierce - He's won't let anything stand between us. Just like after Adam and Even ate that fruit in the Garden, God still went looking for them in the cool of the day. He always comes for us. To free us from the bondage of the lies we're believing - either about Him, ourselves, or other people.
THE SOLUTION | SURRENDER AND TRUST
This is where FREEING YOUR VOICE comes in. and you do have the power to change your circumstances and your life! That POWER lies somewhere you least expect it… Your Voice. Something you’ve had all along. But so many people spend years and lifetimes not knowing what to do with that voice and how to free themselves by using it. They allow someone else to write the script of their life - to tell them who they are and what they are capable of. I know... because that's how I lived for so many years.
That’s what we’re going to talk about in this series. I’m going to tell you my story of freedom. And then I’m going to introduce you to 5 brave women who found the courage to use their voices, find freedom and boldly step out in what God has called them to do!
NOT Your Usual Self-Help Schpeal
Before you start thinking this is one of those “self-help, I am woman, hear me roar” kind of things… Let me tell you, it's not. The VERY FIRST thing you have use your voice to do is SURRENDER. That’s the only way to change your circumstances, your future, your life. Surrender to Jesus and allow Him to truly have authority over your life. It's sounds weird, huh? Surrender, give up control and THEN you will have the power to change your circumstances. What??? But guys, I've lived it. I've seen it work. Trust me. That’s where my story started almost three years ago… When I finally gave up and admitted that I did not have the answers and called in the One who does (sort of like calling Ghostbusters), that's when things started to pop!
I'll get to that, but first let me tell you how we got here... talking about your voice and my voice and everyone's voice.
"Use Your Voice."
A couple of months ago, I was praying for direction for this site and a couple of other areas in my life and I kept hearing God say, "Use your voice." Okay.... I hear You, but what does that mean? The next thing I heard was "There is a voice crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord." Intrigued, I looked it up in Isaiah, not the versions I had always heard quoted from the gospels - but from the horse's mouth, as it were. What I saw there was a picture of transformation. Mountains being leveled, valleys being filled, crooked paths made straight. That's a whole lot of transformation and changing... and it was apparently all kickstarted by this "Voice". Who was this voice? What exactly did they have to do with the change?
So, as I began to study the verses and the original meanings of the Hebrew words used and I started to get the picture... (see Nerdy Breakdown below for a full explanation). First of all, I realized that it wasn't God crying out in those verses, it was a man. So, that means I can do the same thing. I'm a "man" (aka human being, y'all. You know what I mean.) And this man was using his voice to cry something, to declare it... He was crying "Prepare the way of the Lord!" In the wilderness. All this verse means is that we have the power to declare over our own lives that we are going to clear the decks, turn towards God and His way of doing things! And when we declare that, it actually happens. God has given the human voice great authority in this earth and when we use it to declare our freedom or someone else's we partner with His heart and things start to happen! The mountains disappear and such.
Voices in Action
At the same time, I started looking around me at the community I'm in and realizing something. I am SURROUNDED by amazing humans. These are people who fiercely love God, are willing to stake their lives on His promises and are running after Him and the dreams He has placed in their hearts with no hesitation or fear. They are just doing that thing! And I started to see the other side of the picture. Using your voice means something else besides just freeing yourself... Once you do that, you are ready to use the power of your voice to declare God's goodness and free others around you. You are ready to take action.
WHAT DOES FREEDOM LOOK LIKE?
That brings me to my last point for today... What does freedom look like for you? One of the things we're gonna highlight in this series is that stepping out in freedom looks different for me and all of us. Every single lady you will meet is stepping out in a different way. A way that is unique to her and her story. For me, freedom looks like taking the step to start this site and imagine that I have something to say that will help people... because I have to be honest, guys... For the longest time, the voice in my head was telling me "Who do you think you are? You don't know what you're talking about! You don't have have anything to say that's going to help people. You still have issues of your own!" Well, sure I do! I'm still learning and growing. But I hope and pray (and believe!) that in sharing that process with you - in just sharing my story - it will help someone. And honestly, all God asked me to do was take the first step... And then the next step He gives me. And so on into infinity. The rest is up to Him. And knowing THAT is FREEDOM!
Also, side note - the pictures I chose to represent my freest self are of me dancing because in ALL the places in the world, that is when I feel the most like myself and FREE. When I'm dancing. It can be to hip hop, rap, salsa music, elevator music... at a sporting event, in a dance class, at the grocery store... It doesn't really matter. That's when I'm the happiest. Nothing super deep and has nothing to do with what I'm ultimately called to do (I don't think!), but it makes me happy and that matters to God. And He makes sure I get plenty of chances to dance!
On that note, I'll sign off for now... be looking for the video story in a couple of days. Oh, and the Nerdy Breakdown is below, if you wanna check it out!
See you soon!
So, as promised… here’s the skinny on Is. 40:3 – 5:
It’s Your Voice He’s Talking About | The first thing to realize is this passage is not talking about God’s voice. It’s our voice. That is confirmed three times when it’s quoted in the Gospels referring to John the Baptist. He was a human just like all of us. The Hebrew word for “voice” in this passage means instrument. Our voices are the instruments with which we change things in our own lives and the world around us.
What Are We Supposed to DO with Our Voice? | Cry Out! This person in Isaiah 40 used their voice to cry out to God to come into the situation. Do you think they were the ones leveling mountains and making crooked paths straight? Nope. It was God. The phrase “crying in the wilderness” means to declare publicly in all the lonely, isolated places. How do you declare publicly in a lonely place if it’s just you? Ahhhh… Your enemy is always there and so is God. You’re declaring your intention to have His way in front of both of them!
Prepare the Way! | Again with the nerdy Hebrew definitions, but this word “prepare” means to turn towards something and clear away the confusion. The “way” is a journey or manner of life, a path… See it? When we cry out to God, we are declaring our intention to turn towards His way and clear out the junk! That’s preparing the way.
The Rest is History | Verses 4 and 5 show you what happens fter that, He takes over and He makes the changes in you that are necessary to level the mountains and so on. He does the work! How do I know this? Because we simply can't do those things. We can't level anything, make anything straight... you catch my meaning? It HAS to be Him. Aaaaannnnnndddd.....
He Gets the Glory | In setting us free, His glory (majesty, splendor and honor) are revealed because we begin to look like Him and the world sees it! That's when you're ready to step out in freedom, boldness and trust in WHATEVER it is that He's asking you to do... Because you know He has your back and the more successful you are, the more He is glorified. It's a win/win for you, Him and everyone else around you! I love that about God... He doesn't know how to lose.