“You’re so quiet. Why are you getting upset? You’re overreacting.”
There have been countless times in my life when I have heard these phrases spoken over me. I am a very sensitive and “big emotion” type of person where - when I try to speak up - tears usually come following right after. I was never good at sharing how I felt or was too timid to speak up.
For years I would go with-the-flow and go along with what people would say because of my meek and soft-spoken personality. And that didn’t stop when I became a Christian at 16 years old. I didn’t grow up in the church, but when I received Christ as my Savior, I wanted to devote my life to God by reading the Word, praying, and finding truth in Him.
Except, I became so dependent on people I didn’t see how it was affecting me. I just accepted that’s the type of person I was.
Quiet, emotional, super sensitive, behind the scenes and helping those who “had that voice.”
What I didn’t realize was how I allowed my worth and identity to be wrapped up in the opinions of people on how to use my own voice.
Some of us have the confidence to speak up and be ready for confrontations or not be hindered by opinions by people. Then, there are some of us who feel too timid to speak. Where we will try to speak up, but either we have been put down or our words come out misconstrued. For those who feel timid or worn out to use your voice, it can be exhausting. It almost seems like “what is the point?” I know the feeling far too well than I would like to admit.
I have felt that way many times. Times where I would shut down, keep working hard, and not say anything. It felt like I had become paralyzed and didn’t realize the victim mentality I had created for myself. I didn’t know it then, but the more I loved Jesus, the more I would see victory and moments of this boldness I didn’t even know I had. Yet I would fall back into who I thought I was because that’s all I knew how to be. I was wrestling with being bold in who I always believed who I was. Little did I know Jesus was doing a new work and transforming me to who He had always created me to be.
A year ago, I was part of a worship night where I had the opportunity to share a prayer or a verse. I questioned and doubted and wondered, “Lord, why me? There’s way better people who have your wisdom and knowledge of your truth and love. I’m not equipped or qualified. I’m not knowledgeable enough.”
Leading up to that night, I prayed and prayed, pleading with God to show me how to use my voice and what HE wanted me to say. I remember being in the room hours before the event and falling on my face weeping. I wept and cried out to God, asking Him to do a work through me that I could not do. Even if all I could do was share scripture, that it would please Him.
When we love Jesus, He is going to change our lives. He is going to change how we have seen ourselves and how we see His creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) And it was at this worship night I experienced a moment that God used to transform my life. Worship was playing, it was my cue to go up, and my friend (now boyfriend haa) said to me as I stood up there, “you’re a lioness.” Dude say what?! My mind raced as I was like “Why in the heck would you say that right now?” In the conversations leading up to that very moment, we had talked about the boldness he saw in me that I was always very confused by. And that is where Jesus was showing me something I was missing all along. I am a new creation in Him. And He has created me for such a time as this.
A lioness is characterized as a protector, provider, raw power of a woman, and nurturing.
When I read these characteristics (thanks google) I think of that moment a year ago and where I’m at today and doubt that that could be me.
Someone who could have a voice and authority, not because of her own strengths, but because of who Jesus is and the victory He has placed in her.
I am also reminded of the story of Esther. How she was encouraged to speak and that God had placed her for such a time as this.
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Your voice has a role in God’s Kingdom, but are you ready for the refinement that will come to follow? The unraveling of your old ways for Christ to replace with HIS? Refinement includes fire, but in that fire produces purification and someone brand new. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
He is going to use you, but He is going to ask you to step out in faith and trust Him in the process. You’re going to have to keep surrendering your old mindsets to step into what He is preparing for you. He doesn’t have to use you, but He has chosen you for such a time as this.
We have to believe and find our confidence in Christ because, once we have security in Him, we will become that voice of the lion or lioness. Bold & unshaken.
As I stepped up to that mic on that worship night a year ago, I know it was the Holy Spirit because that was a night I witnessed lives becoming free. It wasn’t the words I said or the songs we sang, but I believe everyone who was a part of that moment recognized a pivotal shift that God was starting something new.
He was doing new work in me. (Isaiah 43:18-19) And a year later, I’m still finding that voice. And as I write this God has had to do a lot of uprooting of me people-pleasing and learning to be confident in Him.
No matter what people have spoken over you or put you down when you tried to speak up, just know God is there to hear you. He is there to lead you and to give you a voice for His Kingdom and for His glory. .
~ Sarah Sendejas