It happened again. I wrote an article, and my editor came back, saying there was no need for me to begin by quoting someone else. “Use your own voice,” he said.
What, use that squeaky, trembling voice that responds when you ask for my opinion? Or the theatrical voice, the one that booms with sarcasm and reminds me of all my deficiencies? Perhaps I should pay attention to the clinical, detached one, suggesting these metaphors imply dissociative identity disorder. Or maybe I should listen to the one that screeches introspection is a waste of time.
Enough! My mind is home to a thousand critics, but where can I find a cheerleader? Who will believe in me? Who will encourage me to speak up? I’m not sure that I even want to listen to myself. And if I can’t stand to listen, who will?
The truth is, sometimes I make no sense at all. I remember a time when all I could do was repeat the same words over and over, “Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God.” This is not riveting material. This is hardly the stuff of eloquence, yet God heard me. I thought afterwards that I would never forget how his presence surrounded me, but the truth is I forget every day.
The psalmist says, “Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth [… and he] listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer, or withheld his love from me!” (Ps 66:16-20)
Someone wants to hear your voice. Someone wants to hear your thoughts. It does not matter that they are disorganized, incoherent, or unoriginal. You don’t have to be eloquent. God wants to listen. He is so interested that even when we do not know what to say, or what to pray, he “intercedes for us” and “searches our hearts” (Rom. 8:26-27).
With such an audience, why should we be afraid to speak? Share your heart with God.