I’ve always loved to sing. It’s more than just a hobby for me. It’s therapeutic. It’s creative. It’s meaningful. When words are paired with music, the truth of them comes alive for me.
I’ll never forget doing my first solo; I was six years of age, standing in front of a packed Sunday morning congregation. I still remember the lump in my throat and my knobbly knees knocking together, as my mum thrust me forward towards a podium that was twice the height of me. A crowd of two hundred people feels like the equivalent of a football stadium at that age. It takes courage to put such a little voice out there!
Another vivid memory comes from my twenties, when I sang a piece at a women’s conference during a Bible college placement in Ghana. The accompaniment was played on an ancient Casio keyboard and there were no microphones to be found.
I struggled my way through as sincerely as I could. Afterwards an old African woman hobbled up to me and complained that my voice was too ‘soft’ and ‘sweet.’ She suggested I get some of the African women to teach me how to sing.
I didn’t really know how to respond to that one! She wanted a bit more volume and oomph. She thought the passion wasn’t there because the performance wasn’t loud. She mistook softness for a lack of spirit.
In Northern Ireland, when you can hold a tune, people often say, ‘Och, so and so has a good wee voice.’ And in the same way, sometimes we think of our voices as just that- ‘Och, just a good wee voice.’
But boy is that an underestimation.
The beliefs and attitudes expressed when we open our mouths are more powerful than we will ever appreciate.
On the stage of life volume doesn’t necessarily equal power. Loudness isn’t not the equivalent of strength. The most important question is not, ‘Are people being impressed by what they hear?’ But rather, ‘Are they being touched, moved and impacted for the better by what they hear?’
So often we think, ‘I’m just ordinary. There’s not much mileage in the conversations I’ll have. I’ve got limited ability to influence others.’
But we all have a voice.
A unique voice that echoes around the chambers of our minds. A voice that ricochets around the corridors of our interactions with others. A message we can proclaim from the rooftops of our communities.
And we can always use it for greatness!
🌱When your mind is full of pessimistic assumptions, you can drown out negativity with the voice of hope.
🌱When things are uncomfortably quiet, between you and another person, you can use your voice to create new and meaningful connections.
🌱When you’re in a room full of people who are competing and jockeying for position, you can use your voice to inject cooperation and compromise into that environment.
🌱When you’re in an atmosphere of tension and offence, you can use your voice to infuse peace and harmony unto the air.
🌱When you see oppression and injustice, you can use your voice to challenge and bring change on behalf of the marginalised and downtrodden.
🌱When you see someone who is weary and burnt out, you can use your voice to affirm and encourage them to take another step.
🌱In situations where everyone feels confused and uncertain, you can use your voice to cut into the fog with clarity and composure.
🌱Where you see division and strife, you can use your voice to bring the balm of peace and healing.
Each one of us has a ‘wee’ voice that has the potential for ‘great’ impact.
How will you use yours today?