When I was in middle school, I wrestled with the challenge of public speaking. (I know you’re thinking, really?) One of my greatest fears was speaking in front of people. Part of the reason I didn’t have the typical teenage dating life was not my lack of interest, but it was my deep fear of talking to young ladies. However, the fear led to becoming a dedicated writer. Go figure..
As I was saying, I had a terrible fear of verbal expressing myself. At times, I felt that nothing I said would have any weight to an environment or conversation. I did not always feel that my thoughts or opinions were welcomed. The moments that I would open my mouth, I found myself at the mercy of criticism, berating, and ridicule. So it is easy for me to see that my younger self had justified reasoning for silence.
These days, I consider the climate of our society and realize that we are a part of a culture that thrives on the timidity and quiet of others. I am not suggesting that people are not vocal in various areas of our global community. I am saying that many times we dismiss the power of our voices for the sake of getting by. We stay silent knowing that our entire existence can be affected in an instant. Fear overtakes our resolve ultimately cause us to become stagnant in our pursue of the greater good.
The moment that saved and preserved my voice is when I read about Isaiah’s encounter with God. At 14, I felt like I just existed, and my purpose was not much. It was in the reading of the text I discovered how God will make clear your purpose. Isaiah was a foul-mouthed individual with attachments to a king. He was in the midst of mourning the loss of his mentor/hero. Isaiah’s morning found him in the temple.
In the midst of that solemn moment, God revealed the glory. Isaiah encountered the presence of God in an usual and powerful manner. “Woe is me. I am undone…” This statement was the beginning of the recognition of broken and incomplete places. Isaiah acknowledged and confessed his shortcomings and exposed the environment that aided in shaping his existence. Being in the presence of God shed light on the dysfunctional places.
However, an angel took a coal off the altar and placed it on the unclean lips of Isaiah to signify the purging of taint and stain. Isaiah was coming out of this experience at a minimum as a new man. Isaiah was not going to be the same. Yes, he would be changed but not to become an observer.
God asked a question. “Who shall I send?” The nature of the question is one of contemplation for the young man in the room with God. Consider what just took place. The presence of God burned out Isaiah’s immediate broken condition. The coal burn off the residue of previous iniquity. The experience set Isaiah ablaze from the inside out.
When I consider every moment that I encountered God, I can not look back and not feel the fire burning deep within me. No alternative exists when it comes to sharing my experience with others. I feel obligated by my own standard to tell someone how powerful and life changing God is. Yet, moments in life come to suppress that desire.
Whenever the attempt at suppression enter your space, remember this thought, “I have fire in my mouth!” What are you talking about? Any time you can recall making it through tests, trials, or difficulties, God is placing fuel that can be ignited by the Holy Spirit to speak truth to power in the lives of others. You have a witness that will alter the atmosphere. So do not allow anything to keep you silent.
So what about mental health issues? Ask God to help you find deliverance and a therapist. So what about stagnation on the job? Use your network, pray for discernment, and/or tap into your entrepreneurial creativity to make moves. What about ministry? Watch, pray, study, and serve. In every circumstance, find a way to increase the flame. You have the fire. Blaze the path and walk it like you talk it!