Most 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.