Find Your Voice Again

Most people wish that God would speak to them at least once in their life. They hope and they pray that they’ll be directed to exactly WHAT they are supposed to do, WHEN they are supposed to do it. But what if God spoke, and you interpreted it wrong? What would that look like? What if God breathed life into you about something, and you walked away from that creation without even knowing it? How could you get back to being in the breath of God again? Because you can. You really can.

I’ll give you an example.

When we moved out to the suburbs years ago, we knew what church we had been sent to, but we didn’t like it. In an act of rebellion, I started looking for other churches. I found one that was INCREDIBLE. If I were a scout for looking for churches that would one day be the most influential in our nation, I would have put money on this one. They were a lone source of truly gracious hospitality in a very withdrawn, isolated place. They cared for the things that millennials cared for (namely the poor, authenticity, community, and direct trade coffee), giving them half a shot of maintaining their congregation’s numbers as they grew. They understood the value of the Holy Spirit’s place in prayer without becoming kooky. And most of all, they had one hot-shot of a pastor. The guy was 30 and was better than anybody else I had ever seen in the pulpit. And believe me, I’ve seen a lot.

On one of our first Sundays with that congregation, he shared how the church came to be. At the time, he was on staff at another church. He was sitting in a meeting with a lead pastor that he would have followed into the grave. When, all of a sudden, he heard God speak in a non-audible, but definitively God voice:

“I did not make you to follow another man. I meant for you to lead.” (Or something like that.)

That one line caused this young pastor to plant a church in an area that desperately needed it, despite the fact that there were mega churches and long established denominational churches close-by. The area needed a young pastor who would win back the hearts of rebellious twenty somethings who had been hurt by legalism, and those who had been shunned by stringent standards. And he was the guy to do it. He had quick wit, a couple of tattoos, and one hell of a gutsy wife to stand by him.

They set out, with two or three other couples, and the church just shined. Everybody knew that they had something special. Something that they just couldn’t put their finger on, but something nonetheless.

But then, this horrible thing happened. The young pastor became infatuated with two prominent pastors voices: one locally and one nationally. He started preaching like them, mimicking their jokes and even their ticks — and then started preaching their messages. Their congregations didn’t know that he was plagiarizing, but because we were still in the church of the man he idolized, we knew. We had heard that same sermon two months ago.

The young pastor became best friends with that older prominent pastor. He defended him. He followed him. He treated him like a father. And eventually, he started taking his church down the road of becoming like this mega-church instead of fostering the unique identity that Jesus wanted to give them.

I don’t know how many times I have wondered what that church would look like today if the young man would have made friends with the prominent pastor, but also would have insisted on following the vision that Jesus gave him for that young church. I wonder how many people could have seen something truly unique — a move of God. I even wonder how the prominent pastor’s church could have been motivated by this young church plant if he had held his ground.

This pastor’s story isn’t unique though. I see beautiful voices on social media channels that succumb to this error every day. They re-tweet other voices instead of fearlessly preaching what God gave them. Or  they create content that they think will get them published. Or just say something that “fits” but they’re not even sure if they really believe it.

Can I encourage you to walk away from that today?

Can I encourage you to go to prayer and ask the question:

What would I say if didn’t fear? What would I co-create with God if I really believed that He was behind me? What would I avoid if I really believe that I could be a unique creation of God, uniquely creating for His good?

I pray that you find your voice again. And that you stand in that voice with unwavering fear. That you create something useful and applicable and different. That you allow God to flow through you like you’ve never seen — and that you would be unapologetic when He does.

 

Love,

Pam

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2 thoughts on “Find Your Voice Again

  1. Dear Pam, although we’ve never met I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your willingness to speak your mind about your faith in God and what it means to you. I am a Christian and a God fearing woman also and it’s refreshing to read words relating to him in this world of social media and self-promotion.
    I’m a woman in my thirties, wife to a wonderful man and mother to two amazing kids. I related to this post because after almost 11yrs of marriage and 10 yrs as a business owner, my husband is going to sell his business and become a preacher. He started training and preparing a couple yrs ago and the time is here where he is interviewing for a position. It has been hard not to seek out what seems to be the best position to our eyes but instead to pray to God that he opens and closes doors as he sees fit and to give us wisdom in making our decisions. One thing I’m certain of is that my husband loves God and he lives the life that he teaches. His sermons are all his own and come from his heart. I am so proud of him.
    I wanted to thank you for your words as they serve as a reminder to find comfort in knowing that God will place us where he needs us and that all things work together for good for those that love him.
    I thought it important that you know your words made an impact on someone today 🙂

    • Melanie,
      Thank you so much for encouraging me. It really means so much. And I’m grateful to hear from a woman who lives by the spirit; you are full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self control. I’ll be praying for your whole family as you make this transition. We need church leaders like you. And whether of not you ever get up on that pulpit to preach yourself (which I hope you do because the church needs to hear lessons from the encouragers, too), I hope you know that YOUR voice matters, dear sister. It matters in the grocery store, it matters with your kids, it matters as you build this church with Jesus and your husband, and it will continue to matter. You have a unique gift. Please, for the sake of the gospel, don’t ever stop using it. It makes all the difference in the world.
      Peace to you and yours,
      Pam

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