For those of you who know me at all, what I’m about to say may be a bit of a surprise (or absolutely shocking to some…). My supervisor’s main concern with me leaving is losing my voice. I am someone she relies on to question why decisions are made and to speak up when something is not working or will not work for our needs as a department. ‘Voice’ is something that has come up for me a lot lately. Knowing I have a voice at work. Trying to translate that in my life outside of work. My body being a voice through dance. The voices of my past that tell me lies. The still, small voice that I’m learning to trust more and more.
I’ll be the first to admit that I do not talk nearly as much as the majority of people around me, but it often catches me off guard when people are surprised when I do talk. There are several reasons that I don’t talk as much as people think I should. One reason is, admittedly, that I am shy. I’m uncomfortable around people I don’t know, and that often stops me from saying much, especially initiating conversation. But there are bigger reasons than that. First, I don’t care to hear myself talk. So if I don’t have something to say, I don’t need to come up with something just for the sake of ‘talking’. That is something that has always been misinterpreted in my relationships – it has nothing to do with not wanting to talk to someone or being afraid to speak my mind. Those who really know me can tell you that I will speak my mind if I need to say something. But a big part of who I am is that I love to listen. If I don’t have anything to say, I am completely happy just listening to what other people have to say.
The biggest reason, though, that I don’t talk is usually related to opportunity. I’m an introvert – totally and completely. Talking drains my energy. Because of that, it is very unlikely that I will have the energy to fight to get a word in during a conversation. There are many times that I have things to say, but I don’t usually get the opportunity to say them. So when I get the opportunity, people are surprised that I can dominate a conversation or talk for an extended period of time.
Though my current job does not really suit my personality, I know that God has had me here for a reason. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the five years I have worked there, and the confidence I’ve been able to build has helped me to overcome some of my fears about sharing my thoughts and opinions. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really surprise me that it is my voice that will be missed at work. I have been given the opportunity to talk, and I have fully stepped into that as appropriate. There are still people at work who tell me I’m too quiet – people who are shocked that I can lead a meeting for an hour, being the one who is talking the majority of that time – and even more shocked that I enjoy it. But I don’t feel the need to join every conversation and give my opinion on everything that happens. I don’t have to know the answer to every question. I’ve just been grateful for the opportunity to share when I do have something to say. It has been a comfortable and safe environment for me to do that, and it will help me as I follow where God leads me next.
Because it is God’s voice that is important right now. That still, small voice. The whisper.
When I was trying to decide if I was going to quit my job, I kept sensing that I was missing something by staying where I was. There was something that couldn’t happen until I quit. Over the last few days, I’ve had an overwhelming feeling that I’ve started the wheels in motion for something big. I have no idea what or how much of it has to do with me directly, but something has started. I keep hearing the verse in Esther, “Maybe you are here for just a time as this.” Something is happening, and what I’m being told right now is to listen. Listen for the still, small voice. That voice will lead me, and I need to not only hear it, but to follow no matter what. My decision to quit doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. I don’t think that’s the only decision I’ll be asked to make that doesn’t fully make sense. My journey has begun, and the first few steps are just about listening and being ready to act on whatever I hear.