Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The luxury of silence

One of the comments from my "Saturday night services" post really surprised me. Mark said, "keep blogging Jennifer, we need your voice." The reason this comment stuck out to me was that this issue of using my voice, was exactly what I was wrestling with God about. Two of my mentors have also spoken specifically into my life in the last few weeks about this, affirming the need for me to use my voice.
At another point in my life, with that kind of encouragement, I wouldn't have hesitated to inflict my voice on others. At this point though, I am a bit more realistic about what I have to offer. Sometimes there is wisdom in what I have to say, and sometimes people do benefit. At other times, I make a fool of myself, and say exactly the wrong thing. Choosing to use my voice means simply to use it, releasing control of when or if it is valuable. When I hold tightly to control how I speak and present myself, what I say loses its value. It becomes a sermon, rather than a sharing of a broken life with which others can identify.
It is a little less than reassuring to move forward with this knowing that the calling to use my voice, like life in general, is messy. Sometimes I would rather stay silent. In silence, I can avoid the kind of self-disclosure that exposes my weaknesses. My calling is not to be wiser or smarter than anyone else; it is to live an authentic and transparent life. I'd much prefer the luxury of the facade. I'd love to speak only when words of profound wisdom well up inside and roll off my tongue (or fingers, as I type). Such luxury however, is not mine, and so here I am. Messy, complicated, ironic, hopeful, and occasionally wise.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,
I want to thank you for your courage to write with so much openess and honesty. I can identify a lot with what you write and cannot always articulate what I'm feeling. You have been an encouragement to me in your posts. It's reassuring knowing that others are wrestling with similar things. Thanks

Jennifer said...

Thanks Ruth, I appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

“Sometimes I would rather stay silent. In silence, I can avoid the kind of self-disclosure that exposes my weaknesses.”
Hi Jennifer,
This is my first time on your site. I thank you for your voice. It resonated with my own path towards self-discovery, acceptance, advocacy and faith. The sentence above states exactly how I feel. I stayed silent about some of my feelings for seven years, which unknowingly led to a path of self-destruction. I am currently in therapy and although I am paying (a lof of) money to talk, I really want to stay silent sometimes. The cloud of silence around my “secrets” has grown so thick that at times, that I can no longer identify my buried feelings. I am trying very hard to find my inner voice again. Today, in church, I prayed that God would give me the strength to peel my “onion” and lead me to healing/understanding. Thank you
A friend