I’m so excited by this weekly guest post slot here on my blog. I have met an incredibly diverse group of people through the internet – people who are all very different but are all part of this incredible family which has God as it’s head and father.
This weeks post is by Pastor Jason Stasyszen (Blog | Twitter) of BreakThrough Church in Alaska. Jason is an incredible guy who writes a blog which never ceases to teach, exhort and encourage me and it is our privilege that Jason has written a guest post for this blog today. So, over to Jason:
Finding Your Voice
As a person who sings (love to sing) and preaches (love to preach), it is hard for me to imagine not having a voice. Recently due to illness, I’ve had a sore throat and coughing that have left me with very little to work with, but still I knew my voice was coming back.
I read an article about Joey Finley, an eight year old (the age of my son), who had a virus called HPV that made him incapable of speaking and literally threatened his life. If you’ve seen those commercials about HPV, it’s the same virus that causes cervical cancer in women. For Joey, little wart-like growths formed in the throat and if untreated, would eventually cut off all air flow and he would die. Little Joey went through many surgeries (16 from the age of 4), and his doctor put it this way, “Try to imagine breathing through a coffee stirrer. That’s what those children breathe like when they first come to our attention.” (Read the whole article here)
Even after the growths were removed, he sounded hoarse and told his doctors he had “frogs” in his throat. The most fascinating thing to me is what happened next. He was assigned to a speech language pathologist to help him with his voice. At that time, he was understandably shy and hesitant to interact with kids because they had teased him before. Instead of dealing with this, he retreated.
What they found was that Joey was using other muscles in his throat in order to make his voice, but they taught him to imitate funny sounds, like motorboat and car noises, which enabled him to get his real voice back. It didn’t take long for him to start making normal sounds. “I heard a sweet little high-pitched voice, not that 80-year-old man voice in a 5-year-old body,” the pathologist said.
I was challenged again as I read this and thinking about how many people have been through trauma, hardship, and heartache and then fall into a “false voice” and slip into isolation because they don’t know how people will react or what will happen. They put up defenses and call it quits, but somewhere inside us is the true voice.
Here’s what struck me as I read this story:
- We sometimes develop other “muscles” instead of using our true voice and think it’s the only way because no one ever showed us differently. We each have destiny and purpose, things we were created to do as we respond to the love God has shown us. Our communication suffers when it consists mostly of regurgitated facts or religious clichés.
- Sometimes the false voice came from other people or our own ungodly expectations. We can try to be something we’re not because other people told us we were or weren’t something. The fact of the matter is, what did God say? We can have ungodly expectations for ourselves that keep the real voice from coming out. Whatever the source, we need to ask God to show us, acknowledge and realize where it came from, repent (if necessary), and walk with Him into a new place and position.
- We need that safe place to express ourselves, have fun, and grow in our true voice. We need to know that the other, false way of living is not the only way. The pressure of that which is choking the life out of us is one problem to overcome, and thankfully, Jesus has already overcome—sin, death, hell, and the grave. The next exploration is finding out who He made us to be and expressing that.
- This involves you, Jesus, and other people. The pathologist called Joey’s case a miracle, and I agree completely. Some miracles come all at once in a flash, and others take a lot work, effort, and the ability to trust other people.
I just want to encourage you that the false voice is not “just the way it is” or what you have to resign yourself to for the rest of your life. There is a true voice that God put inside you and me, and we were meant to express and use it for His glory. All the things Joey didn’t want to do before like singing and playing with friends, he now enjoys and doesn’t take his miracle for granted.
I feel like I have been through things that would try to produce a false voice, and seeing the other side and freedom—I can honestly say that being the real me is a whole lot better. I don’t have to be anyone else and if someone suggests I should, I just politely refuse. It’s taken a lot of work to get me to this point, and I don’t want to go back now!
What do you say? Do you feel you have been using a false voice and bowing to expectations other than God’s? Are you ready to embrace the miracle (hard work and all)?