Freeing the voice within; freeing the spirit

What keeps us silent? What frees our voice? What frees our spirit?

Specific events have hindered and helped me to write. When a member of my writers’ group secured a writing position with a major ministry, I was discouraged enough at that point to focus on other paying employment and mothball efforts to write for publication. Something had to give. There were many bills to pay.

During the years when I was not pursuing publication, I found I still wrote – I had to write, I wanted to write and employers paid me to write. So I scribbled in my journal and at work I composed various business and technical reports and documents.

Over time, I also discovered that I enjoyed pushing aside my usual silence and speaking up to teach groups at church and work.

I didn’t realize it at the time but my paths led to greater freedom and voice when my heart yearned to be closer to God and I worked hard at whatever task was at hand. My work ethic is fueled by the verses in Colossians: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col. 3:23-24 NASB).

I found success and failure enough in business and personal areas to be freer to want to use my voice – written or spoken – in ways that serve God’s purposes whatever that might mean. The smoldering desires ignited into a greater freedom for me to write when my youngest daughter accepted a job out of college that paid her bills but didn’t necessarily fuel her dreams – at least not right away. I didn’t like thinking I had shown my children through my example to accept and keep a job that paid bills but did little to ignite fires in their hearts and spirits. I wanted to live by example by working from my heart more. My husband David agreed.

A confluence of events allows me to write more now. The time is right.

Freedom – real freedom – isn't a place or a financial position. Freedom is the desire to be useful – to be willing to let God take my work and voice where he will. Freedom is living more in harmony with God and with the desires I believe he has planted in my heart.


Heart Dreams: God's GPS

We need to be careful to listen to the desires that tug and kick and grow inside our hearts. For if the desires of our hearts are not illegal and do not violate God’s teachings, they may be the whisperings of God’s Spirit who knows us and loves us and has created us to work in ways and places that only we in our uniqueness can best serve.

There is joy in letting God lead us by heart desires that are cleansed and given to him. For a season, if we must walk in paths that seem to lead far from what we thought God wanted for us, God travels with us and he is not lost.

Some call the desires that speak in our hearts or flash pictures in our minds dreams. We need to be careful not to let our heart-dreams die when the way seems long and the path is hard.

The poet Langston Hughes wrote: “Hold fast to dreams, / For if dreams die, / Life is a broken-winged bird / that cannot fly.”

How true it is that something within us dies when we neglect to nourish our God-given dreams and desires in whatever slots of time and opportunity we have.

Although the biblical patriarch Joseph had dreams that were eventually realized, his journey was not quick, nor painless, and it certainly wasn’t laid out in a straight line. Joseph’s journey included a loving father-mentor, a dysfunctional family, several cruel betrayals, years of grunt work, management opportunities, imprisonment and suffering. During all this, Joseph grew in his faith and put into practice God’s way of forgiveness. All the while Joseph worked diligently at the tasks at hand. Eventually, Joseph’s path led him to a place where his God-inspired dreams and his daily opportunities converged more fully.

A whole heart brims with healing desires

If we don’t already experience it, I’m persuaded we can find greater freedom to be who we were created to be, like Joseph. We can work with a whole heart, a healed heart, as we find delight in God and in his ways. Then, also, our hearts will overflow because our Heavenly Father has promised "and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Ps. 37:4 NIV).

I don’t know about you, but leaning into God’s promises like this one frees my voice . . . and my spirit.
Photo Credits: www.pdphoto.com Copyright: Public Domain

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