When you shoulder the megaphone and a million fears

speaking-e1377141782925Most of us as women understand, at least on some level, that we have an obligation to speak out and use our voices. To tell, to encourage, to instruct, to correct, to announce, to plead, to bless. This is not news to most of us, especially if we’ve been led in any way by women with a bit more life experience.

So what happens when we are the ones doing the leading, when our voice is the trumpet call?

I don’t know about you, but the thought of potentially misleading someone sends a chill up my spine and makes me want to hide under a rock. I would sooner be beaten than to think something I’ve said caused someone else to stumble.

If we aren’t careful, that fear can paralyze. And that paralysis can stuff us into a silence that renders us pretty ineffective as leaders.

I speak from experience here. Tonight I discovered that something I said in a public forum not too long ago caused some misunderstanding. And that isn’t the worst of it. The worst part is that I knew the minute I put that whiny message into words that it needed a good rewording.

But I didn’t heed that nudge very quickly. I blew it.

The damage wasn’t even that bad, in the grand scheme of things, and I do tend to be way too hard on myself, but the fact is the Holy Spirit nudged and I ignored.

The important take-away, for me, is that it wasn’t necessarily that I shouldn’t have spoken at all but that I should have been more aware of the impact of my words, how they might be taken, the conclusions that might be drawn—conclusions I never intended.

We must, must use our voices. But we must be very careful, especially in positions of leadership or influence, how we use them.

This is a lesson I won’t forget, and I am honored to share it with you.
1. Be careful what I say and how I say it.
2. Be aware of how my words might be received.
3. Don’t let a slip-up become a tree limb the Enemy uses to shut me up for good.

I’m sure I won’t be perfect in the use of my voice—my platform, if you will. But I am convicted to spend even more time in the Word to make sure my words line up with Scripture (Ephesians 4:29 comes quickly to mind) and in prayer to be more attuned to the Spirit.

I am also overcome with profound gratitude for the grace shown to me by those who brought this error to my attention. It is my prayer that I will always exhibit that kind of love and gentleness should I ever end up in their shoes, because, like it or not, such a position is not uncommon for those with any kind of influence.

May we always remain teachable, our voices humbled but filled with hope for the world.

10 thoughts on “When you shoulder the megaphone and a million fears

    • You are most welcome, dear friend. It is a blessing to me to know the message reached your heart. I wish you a wonderful, hope-filled day.

  1. Oh how I NEEDED this…at this EXACT moment! Something I commented on in FB was misconstrued and has become (I fear) a stumbling block to the person who posted. I am reduced to tears, because as you stated, “I would sooner be beaten than to think something I’ve said caused someone else to stumble”.
    And I can see exactly how the enemy is trying to divide and “shut me up”, causing fear to take hold. Thank you Lisa, for sharing this message. Our words can either bring discouragement or encouragement. But when we blow it, God is still on the throne and HE can redeem the situation.

    • It warms my heart right through that this message met you right where you are, dear Caryn. Isn’t our great God like that, pressing a message on a heart because not only does she need it, but so does a sister or two. Or ten. The Enemy is out to stifle women on fire for God, and presumably if he can nab the leaders he gets bonus points (or something like that). Of course he wants to paralyze the leaders, convince them they don’t have a message–or even if they do, they certainly don’t have what it takes to tell it. Makes me even more excited for the release of our beautiful Jo Ann’s When a Woman Finds Her Voice. Thank you so much for stopping to share your heart with me. It truly blesses me to share mine with you.

  2. Thank you for those words as indeed I spoke some words the other day, which was truth, but I might not have said it clear enough as I should have and could have been taken wrong. I thought about those words all the way home and realized I neded to be more careful and clearer with my words.

    • Life can be rather humbling, can it not, my friend? I love hearts like yours, though, so attuned to the Holy Spirit that you immediately feel it down deep, that pressing to adjust or soften or reword. What a testimony and an inspiration to us all. Bless you for your dedication to His purpose.

  3. I thank you. also for these beautiful words. I was just discussing this morning, Aug. 23, that I almost got over my fear of public speaking. I was hurt deeply in a church my older sister invited me to join several years ago. God had me using some gifts I didn’t use for years, but several people in leadership were suprising unkind, also my sister. I have been in a long processs of learning to forigive others, especially in the church. I left that church, but not m faith in God, It’s been rough for several years, with severak betrayals by those close to me, and it’s a part of the C-PTSD, and seek help. Finding my voice has been diffiult again and want to use my writing to help me heal.Also, now, I’m dealing with paraylizng fear, but have case manager . I struggle to trust these days. But I feel blessed that this site shares passion I had for years, writing, because I was not encouraged to express my feeings. God bless you for sharing what I need to hear while praying about God’s direction in my life.

    • I bless you for your courage to share your heart so openly here with us, dear Yolanda. It breaks my heart to think of how many people out there (like you, and like me) who have been “church abused” and left picking up the pieces of shattered confidence–both in ourselves and in the church as a whole. Being treated unkindly by church leaders can be difficult to leave behind, and healing hard to come by. I am inspired by your brave determination to continue your healing process and work toward stepping out again to let your voice be heard. I do hope you will pick up a copy of Jo Ann’s book as soon as it is available, as it will speak directly into what you are feeling right now.

      It is always my prayer that those who have perpetrated hurt on others would be nudged of the Spirit to repentance, and I pray that those who hurt you will be stirred to walk forward more wisely and in a healthier spiritual direction. I am lifting you up in prayer at this very moment, that God would embolden you and bring full healing and restoration, that you would go forth not just repaired but fully rejuvenated to carry on the purpose to which He has called you. May He bless your every step, your every word, your every thought to His glory.

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