Long before I was a counselor or teacher or wife or mother, I was a singer. There have been so many years and life experiences since then that it is almost hard to remember that period. What I do remember very clearly, though, is how much I enjoyed my voice lessons. Truth be told, I enjoyed the voice lessons more than I enjoyed performing for it was in the lesson that you really grew as a musician. You dove into the nuances and interpretations of the music, and sometimes just thinking of a phrase differently changed the way you sounded. Mistakes were expected. You grew and learned because of those missed notes and missteps, and the hardest lesson often ended up being the most helpful. In the voice lesson, you experimented with different techniques, making the slightest adjustments here and there. Those slight adjustments sometimes unlocked attributes of your voice that you didn’t even know were there. Very simply, you found your voice in the midst of the lesson. Gone are the days of vocal studios and voice coaches, and happily, my performances are now for an audience of one, my two-year-old son. Now my days are filled with counseling my clients, speaking, and family life, and my voice lessons occur in the big and small challenges of daily living. I think many of us search for our true voice because, unfortunately, we lost it or it got silenced years ago. Bad relationships, trying to fit in, attempting to be everything to everyone all the time, addiction, abuse, or maybe just the daily grind have the power to make people very quiet.
When we lose our voice, we lose our sense of self. It is easier to tell someone what she wants to hear than take the risk and share our opinion, story, or preference. We second-guess everything and sometimes just wish someone would tell us what to do. Perhaps we feel anxious and we don’t even know why. We wrestle with feeling not good enough, and we live in a pressure cooker of working for love and belonging.
But somehow in the midst of the day-to-day activities and peaks and valleys of our lives, we discover our voice. Perhaps it begins with baby steps- we learn our likes and dislikes. Maybe we take a giant leap and set boundaries in a relationship or start saying yes and no when we truly mean it rather than when we think it fits the situation. We discover who we are and step off the treadmill of self-doubt and criticism. Finding our voice means we believe we are enough and that our worth is not determined by the fullness of our calendars or the number of checks on our to do lists. When we find our voice, we feel settled, peaceful, and content.
Yes, at some point in time, we all lose our way. The path gets clouded with bad choices or life events that are out of our control, but on that path littered with disappointments, difficulties, and challenges, we find markings of grace and learn that no life experience is wasted. The experience becomes a lesson.
We find our voice in the midst of the lesson.
These are the lessons I have learned and am still learning. I hope this blog will be a place where you can share your story and continue to find your voice. These are our voice lessons… lessons in grace, freedom and becoming the real you.