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Power of voice

Not long ago I became very conscious of the fact I needed to express my voice unequivocally but I had to find it, understand it and own my voice first before I could express it unapologetically.


My physical voice sounds different from what it sounded like in my teenage years, when I was much younger before I became a mother. It is the same voice of course but there are many layers to it, tremors and chords have shifted and refined themselves over the years and so I know it is the same voice, yet it isn’t quite the same and I personally don't seek to get back the voice or tone I had when I was years younger….


The other day I was speaking, and I clearly heard my birth mother’s voice coming through the sound of my own voice almost like she was in the room with me, her presence so tangible I could almost hold her even though she left this earth over ten years ago now. I paused and wondered how strange that I could hear her voice coming from me and yet it was my voice. But isn’t that the essence of those who have had the privilege of nurturing us, that their voices are so loud, they leave an indelible mark that neither time nor distance nor death could ever eraser, the goal I hope not being to give us their voice but to encourage us to fight for and find ours by paving the way with theirs, so we aspire for better and greater.


I consider the story of Jacob as he approached his blind father on his death bed to “very simply “to steal the birth right of his brother Esau. For those of you who do not know this story I will recap the precise verse from the book of Genesis in the bible


“Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.”


Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau…..” Gen 27:21-23


When I came across this passage, it blew my mind because I realise yet again how powerful my voice is so powerful it is recognisable by a blind father. A person who has heard me speak severally and knows my voice and who had to be deceived with physical representation to be convinced you are someone else. Aren't you glad no one can confuse God about who you are or what you sound like.


I consider how my heavenly father’s love for me has blinded him to my sins, my wrongs, my weaknesses and he still hears and knows my voice when I call on Him. He still longs to hear it even when it’s cracked up and jacked up! The book of Songs of Solomon says this…


“......

in the hiding places on the mountainside,

.......

let me hear your voice;

for your voice is sweet….” Songs of Solomon 2:14


Your voice is sweet and don’t you ever forget that.


The Merriam webster dictionary meaning of hiding place is “a place where someone or something is hidden or can be hidden.” Akin to keeping something secret. The words hiding place and secret place are often used interchangeably.


The search for your voice can be a gruelling affair akin to digging for gold, mining for diamonds, digging a deep well for water. It requires persistent effort and lots of courage, sometimes it will be painful and sometimes very uncomfortable but there is sweetness in its release, release that soars so effortlessly when you have found what only you possess that no one else does. Your voice.


When I began my search for my voice I didn’t even realise that was what I was doing and so it was a kind of haphazard attempt.


Sometime ago I wrote down my personal creed and stuck it on my wall right bedside my bed. I love the words of my personal creed they make me feel so powerful so relevant so invincible and that is what the power of voice should do not just for you but for countless others.


Having stuck my creed on my wall I only ever visited it on occasion, and I didn’t take time to really delve into the theme that was coming from it – I have found my personal creed and core values walk hand in hand to clarify who I am and my life mission.


I love to encourage people. I love to look out for and find the best in people even at their worst. I am an advocate for equality and inclusion because I absolutely despise unfair treatment anywhere I see or perceive it. I seek reconciliation rather than keeping at war where possible by speaking the truth even when it hurts and identifying constructive solutions for all parties involved. I enjoy learning and growing personally.


All these things require courage and humility but I never really made the connection with my creed, not intentionally anyway. This means I didn't realised that those moments when I saw something that revved my passions but did nothing about it, the situation was calling on me to revert to my core value of courage and speak up even though it frightened me to do so, even when I could experience significant agony or difficulty following that moment of confrontation.


This means that those times when a particular circumstance was so confusing and my intellect was straining to extend itself and fearful pride was threatening to shut me down, my core value of humility was urging me to mellow down, dig deep and get understanding and not be in a hurry but to lean into the moment, lean into the people in that situation and learn something new that would ultimately transform someone else not just myself.


When I ignored those urges, I was refusing to dig deep and really uncover my own voice and sharpen my tone and refine my sound day by day so that it became instantly recognisable from miles away. That is the essence of our voice - that is becomes so strong, so indelible, people who have never seen you or met you recognise your words even when they are spoken by someone else. That’s powerful.


Voice is synonymous with power. God's voice is powerful and is overflowing with his love for us and so I cannot talk about voice without talking about passion.


We hear a lot about personality types and I am categorised, if one must, as an introvert, idealistic nature with attention to detail, a love for order and serenity to ponder and reflect, drawn to nature and beauty. What I have found is that I exist in a world that also has other personalities and dynamics and many times I am required to operate at optimum level within conditions that my natural disposition does not equip me for. Does this mean that I eject every time I find myself in these situations? Absolutely not! If that were the case we wouldn’t need each other but we do.


So while I have an ear to these personality traits I am also very conscious that the voice of my father is far more powerful than my inadequacies and shortcomings and can enable me to operate in situations my natural mind tells me are not necessarily conducive for my personality.


I am conscious that our voices may be different but are required to blend harmoniously to emit pleasant tunes.


We all have things we are fiercely passionate about, and they make us the unique individuals we are.


Passion is a big polisher of voice, but it takes the combination of various elements to stimulate these passions.


I thought I was living and then I gave life to a child – that has been knocking the wind out of me for years and I am sure it will keep doing that for years to come.


When I held my baby boy in my arms when he was born all I could say was thank you – thankful I had successfully carried him to term, thankful I had been able to endure the pain without passing out, thankful he was whole no finger missing, no toe out of place. Thankful to have my body back! However what was once lodged inside of me was now outside of me but the bond was still apparent and so just like when it was inside of me, the things that affected it outside of me still affected me even now and that bond would only get deeper having more and more access to my heart and stimulating my passions…


I grow up in a small and quiet town in the south of Nigeria. The name of the town is CALABAR. Calabar has been translated to an acronym that goes – Come And Live And Be At Rest simply because of the quiet and peaceful nature of its inhabitants. I attended a great primary school with really high standards for learning at the time. I grow up in a class of boys and girls who looked just like me and like me knew little of what existed beyond Calabar apart from perhaps what we saw on TV or read in books. My TV time at home exposed me to a lot of Nigerian culture as well as culture from the western world so I grew up sufficiently knowledgeable that there were people who didn’t look quite like me out in the world not just the odd few in my school or those i bumped into in a supermarket or any random outing. Was I curious? Yes, I was. Did I think myself any less or more superior ? Never.


I didn’t even understand the various connotations attached to colour until I moved to live in the UK, I didn’t understand or have real awareness of the social construct of racism, i was oblivious to it. In some ways i am thankful, my upbringing and exposure shielded me from that because it’s just such a poisonous thing. Eventually though that poison did catch up with me but it only served to stir up passions in me I didn't know existed.


I was asked once whether poison could kill you – I thought it was a ridiculous question to ask but now when I consider it, it was actually a valid question because not all poison is intended to kill, sometimes poison is used to expel. Like a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy, the "chemo" can be described as poison, too many doses though and it could become fatal. When it comes to themes such as racism I personally think all parties are responsible and we each most strive to fight the good fight and not roll over and play dead or feign ignorance of what is happening or has happened for that matter.


Sometimes we stand guard over our heart and choose not to feel things because we know they have the potential to hurt a lot. But what if that is exactly the feeling you need, to know how much you care about something and that indeed you are alive. Perhaps we need to know what it feels like to be in bondage to appreciate freedom, what it feels like to lose a dear one to really appreciate having them so that we go beyond simply feeling and begin acting. Since racism is a social construct it is therefore socially deconstructable but that deconstruction cannot happen with only one set of people that look and act the same, it most happen with all people for a common good – life.


One thing I am passionate about is for my son to live his best life in what is now a global village – with no shadows or doubts hanging over his head regarding who he is or what he is capable of as a person. That passion resurrects things in me I didn’t even know existed. That is what loving does to you…it is almost as if you exist outside of yourself with no limit to the lengths you can go. That's how far and deep your passions should take you.


Loving acts as a purifier of your voice – it removes fear and every adulteration that our spirit could hold or has gathered over the cause of living.


Leaning into this purification process allows us to sparkle a little more brightly.


Does it hurt? Of course it does – every diamond could tell us a thousand tales of woe if they could speak but all they do is sparkle because that is their voice.


Be blessed!


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