When I lived in Texas, I had to report to jury duty once. It’s a civic responsibility about which many people grumble, and it takes up a lot of your time when you have to take an entire day out of your life to sit and hear about other people’s potential crimes. It feels like such a long and arduous process.
Like those grumblers, I can’t say that I was looking forward to being a possible juror. I had a lot going on at the time, and my mind was in a million other places. When I got to the courthouse, I entered the room with what seemed like thousands (it wasn’t) of other people and took a seat with a book. A little later in the morning, some video started playing letting us know why we were there. There was one line in that video—and pretty much the only thing from that entire day—that I remember.
“Your voice matters in the Texas justice system.”
I kept thinking it over and over in my head. My voice matters. I didn’t care so much about that Texas justice system part, but I really liked being told that my opinions and what I have to say are valued and appreciated.
And I want you to know that yours are, too.
As women, we don’t always get the platforms and respect that we deserve. This is often particularly true if you’re a young woman. People might even make you feel like you don’t have any right to speak up or the authority to preach or teach or be the voice of those who can’t speak for themselves. My dear, I’m going to tell you right now that this is completely false. Hear this, and know it to be true.
YOUR VOICE MATTERS—and in more places than the Texas justice system.
No matter what age you are, no matter what race you are, no matter what gender you are, no matter what your social status is, no matter what your educational background is, no matter what your relationship status is, no matter what—your voice matters. And it needs to be heard.
So often, we sit and let others do the talking for fear that what we say isn’t smart enough or maybe is too controversial. Or perhaps we think that others will judge us or don’t respect us enough to hear what we have to say. Unfortunately, many women face this in the workplace and are more silent than they should be in meetings that are dominated by men or other women by whom they’re intimidated. I hope that you will help to break this mold and mindset and be part of the change that allows women to be more comfortable speaking up and pursuing more leadership opportunities with the confidence that they have strong and valuable voices in all areas of life.
Sister, please speak up. Please be brave. Please let boldness flow out of you to the point where you can’t contain it. Please don’t ever let fear keep you from saying what you want and need to say.
If you’re passionate about sharing your heart through writing, go for it. If you want to study theology and work toward becoming a pastor or speaker, go for it. If you want to teach or mentor others, go for it. If you’ve been holding back the feelings in your heart but really want to declare them out loud to the guy you love, go for it. If you have something to say in your meeting at work, go for it (and don’t start off with “I’m sorry” or some other way of apologizing before expressing what’s on your mind). Whatever it is that you know you need to say in whatever the situation, go for it. Don’t let fear or intimidation hold you back.
You have a beautiful and powerful voice—so let it be heard.