I feel like I’m shrinking. Just sort of slowly, quietly disappearing behind a veil of silence.
Not me exactly, but my writing.
My insides are screaming. I open my mouth and nothing comes out. An invisible hand is constantly waiting, smothering the very air I exhale.
Some of it is simply the hand of time and the fact that there isn’t enough of it. Some of it is the fact that I have only two hands and too many things to hold inside them. Some of it is something else entirely.
I’ve never felt censored in my writing. Maybe that’s been stupid. Maybe I should censor myself more. Maybe being so open about my life isn’t always the best choice. But it’s the choice I feel not only lead toward, but pushed into by something much bigger than me.
I’ve never felt it was particularly brave to share my life. It just felt like it’s what I’m supposed to do. And so I did it. And it freed me. It has helped free others. It continues to be the thing I feel most called to in my life-outside of motherhood-and it continues to be something I feel God has empowered me to do.
And yet, here I sit.
Smothered beneath an invisible cloak of, “Don’t speak.”
Defense of the past? Fear of the future? Protection of the not so innocent? Comfort?
Nothing about this silence is comfortable for me. That’s how I know it isn’t the right thing.
It isn’t comfortable to stay quiet when God calls you to speak. It isn’t comfortable to hold still when He calls you to move.
We are given a voice for a reason. We all have a story. And we have the right to use our voice to tell our story. When we don’t, we not only silence ourselves; we also silence others who view our expression of truth as a catalyst toward their own.
Not everyone is called to write out their life for the world to see. Some are. Not everyone shares their story in a public forum. Some do.
All versions of speaking our truth are powerful. All are necessary.
Obviously there are consequences for every choice we make. Some good, some bad. Choosing to open myself and my life up to the public comes with a set of issues and consequences that I’ve been prepared and equipped to handle.
Two years ago God beckoned me out of silence. Out of bondage. He asked me to speak, and I did.
I’ve trusted Him with every word I’ve shared. So this sense of muteness as of late doesn’t sit well with me. Nonetheless, there are moments where I simply am unsure of how it all fits together.
This drive to speak and share coupled with a constant need to bridle. This sense of purpose in writing from a place of raw, exposed truth and vulnerability united with fear of a bigger system slapping black tape over my mouth.
I know I’m meant to be one of the ones that rip that tape off. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when it’s scary. Even when it places me in a position of vulnerability. And yet right now, I don’t know how it looks. I can’t figure out what’s an acceptable level of bravery and openness. I don’t feel safe in it right now. So that tells me it is necessary to step back from it. I do have to listen to my gut and even when I know I am meant to overcome this silencing hand, I do have to be wise about how.
There is a time to be reserved in certain areas. That time is now. But it is merely a sliver of a season.
In the meantime, God has given me multiple layers of my life, just as he has all of us. No one thing drives or controls everything. Being unable to share certain aspects of my experiences does not close every avenue.
The path is simply unfolding, and while some roads aren’t yet safe to travel openly, others are. So I choose to walk those roads. I have to walk those roads.
I have to be patient. I have to be prudent. And I have to trust that despite discomfort and uncertainty, I still know I am in the right place.
Our voice is our freedom. Our thoughts are our power. Our experiences are our life.
No one can take that from anyone.
This silence is deafening, and fear is deadening. So while I’m still unsure how certain parts of my life will unfold; both in reality and in words, God has nudged me, just as He did in the very beginning of this journey. The comfort zone is safe for a time, but staying there too long causes a painful atrophy within me that I am no longer willing to accept.
So I’m ripping the tape off. Carefully, so as not to tear my own skin; but I am ripping it off nonetheless.
Silence can be healing just as our words can be; but we should never be silenced by someone else shouting, “Don’t speak.”
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