Raise Your Voice!

This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt.  The prompt today is “sing.”
Also linking with Friday Five and God-Sized Dreams

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As the concert finished, I breathed a sigh of relief.  Despite my nerves it had gone well, and I had even enjoyed it.  Several people came to speak to me, thanking me and encouraging me, but I was unprepared for how many times I would hear one comment: “I didn’t know you could sing.”

I was surprised.  I smiled politely and thanked them, but the response I wanted to give kept going round in my mind: “Then you can’t have been listening.”

I was 15 years old and I felt I had been singing my whole life- singing along with music around the house or on car journeys, singing in church, eight years as a pantomime chorus girl- and yet this was my first time singing solo.  How was it that my voice had never been heard?

Probably because it was a quiet voice in a noisy world.  I had very little confidence, I would never have pushed myself forward.  There were others whose voices were louder, that people naturally tuned into and noticed.  It was easy for the quiet voice to be overlooked.

And yet one lady heard, and I’m grateful for the way she listened to me and gave me the chance to sing.  It made me feel valued and listened to in a way that I hadn’t felt before.  Maybe I did have something to offer after all.

As I look back and reflect on this, there are two lessons I take from it: firstly, to listen for the quiet voice.  The volume of a voice in no way correlates to its value yet often the loudest voice wins the day.  Some voices are naturally easier to hear than others but often quiet, observant people have some of the greatest insights if we will just give them a chance to speak and listen to what they have to say.

Secondly, as someone with a quiet voice, sometimes you have to force yourself to speak up.  Often people’s failure to listen is not intentional- they just operate in a different way.  I am naturally a listener and a slow processor.  I prefer to wait for a gap in the conversation, and then I may have something to say, but I’m learning that sometimes the gap doesn’t come.  If I am going to wait for quiet before I speak, in certain settings that moment will never come, so if I have something to say, I may have to push for my voice to be heard.

I’ll finish with this clip from Sister Act The Musical as I think it illustrates the point well.  I love how Delores listens to Sister Mary Robert and encourages her to sing out, but how Mary Robert also has to make the choice to raise her voice, to realise she has something to contribute and go for it.

And I love the looks on the other nuns’ faces, and the expressions which echo the words I heard as a teenager: “I didn’t know you could sing.”

   #FridayFive“God-Sized

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38 thoughts on “Raise Your Voice!

  1. Love this part: “It made me feel valued and listened to in a way that I hadn’t felt before. Maybe I did have something to offer after all.” Isn’t God so good to give us opportunities to realize the purposes He has for us? I think when we realize our value in Him and what He’s given us, it is so powerful! Thanks for sharing this today! FMF #8

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  2. I love seeing how many of my Five Minute Friday friends, have had musical backgrouds. It is fun to realize that we have this in common. I hope you have a lovely day!

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    1. I just want to watch the movie now. Haven’t seen it in ages! I’ll be coming to visit you and read your post shortly. Busy weekend so far but I’m catching up now!

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  3. “The volume of a voice in no way correlates to its value” I LOVE this! Especially since the Spirit often speaks in a still, small voice to our Spirit–the perfect gentleman…never imposing Himself on us, just quietly whispering and leading. And how immeasurably valuable is His voice over all the noise of the world?! Glad we connected on FMF this week.
    ❤️

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  4. hi lesley, enjoyed your post today. great observations about voice, whether it is a singing voice, or speaking one. it’s a challenge for us to be more observant of those around us who don’t push themselves forward.

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    1. Thanks, Martha. Yes, I think we all have to be aware. Those of us who are naturally louder need to make sure to listen and those of us who are naturally quieter need to push ourselves to speak up at times.

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  5. Why. Lesley, I didn’t know you could sing!

    I share your conversational style, and usually am content to simply listen. I’m not good at repartee; I do give orders quite well, though. And occasionally I can interject a bit of irony.

    Love the illustration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! I’ll let you make that comment since you haven’t met me and technically you have no idea whether or not I can sing! 🙂
      I would love to have a conversation with you. You have great insights and I like your humour!

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  6. I loved your insight on this. People with the smallest voice often have the biggest things to say. We need to be more aware of those people around us so that we can give them the chance to sing. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. I LOVE this so much, Lesley. What an encouraging post and great video clip! You’re coming over loud and clear, my friend. I’m so pleased your quieter voice was singled out and praised. It’s true that those with louder voices tend to drown out the rest of us, but we all have something to offer, a unique grace gift to bring to the table. I’ve more or less lost my previous singing voice, sad to say. Though I think God has more than compensated me with a new vehicle to share my words, a way to voice my thoughts and share my faith. Bless you for this reassuring word. xo ❤

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  8. A wonderful post and thank you for sharing your observations. I have similar experiences where I’m waiting for an opportunity to share what I want to say but do not find it unless I interrupt someone as they are speaking.
    I can understand that some people may not have picked up you can sing if they have only heard you sing along with others. It is when you sing solo that your ability can be clearly noticed and appreciated.
    We do need to learn to listen out for the still quiet voices around us – after all that is how God speaks to us.

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  9. Hi Lesley! Congratulations on raising your voice in a joyful noise!
    I just read recently that wise people listen more than they talk. I think your natural feeling of waiting for an opening is actually wisdom in action. And yes! Just because you didn’t sing loud, didn’t mean you couldn’t.
    This video is so cute, thank you for a fun listen this afternoon 🙂
    Ceil

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ceil. I’m glad you liked the video. I agree that a lot of the time there is wisdom in waiting and listening but I think there are also times when we have to speak up and make ourselves heard. Not always easy to know the difference!

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  10. I wonder how much beautiful music and wonderful insights we miss in our noisy time–because I think the quiet voices might actually have the most to say! Love your thoughts here. And love that photo you picked to illustrate this post!

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