In my research into hypothyroidism, I came across the Hindu teachings about chakras. To be clear, I don’t ascribe to Hinduism but my interest was piqued by their belief that thryoid issues were due in part to not using your voice. Acquiescing to others when you know you shouldn’t; staying silent instead of speaking up; letting others make decisions for you that you should be making for yourself; in general, when you silence your voice, you stuff your feelings and thoughts and they believe this leads to sicknesses of the throat.
A dear pastor’s-wife friend of mine didn’t know what to make of my oft repeated, “I need to have a voice” when talking about my family of origin or church conflicts. I’ve frequently allowed myself to be silenced and I’ve chosen to be silenced for my own safety. I’ve stuffed and denied and shamed myself into a very quiet box.
This is likely why music became such a love of mine as a child. I could sing and express feelings in a safe way, alone and with others. I gained confidence as my musical abilities grew and provided me with opportunities for employment and experiences. My beloved piano teacher quickly grew to know which pieces I would blossom with phrasings and expressions. I’ve often been told by others that I have a special touch when playing the piano. They can’t really explain what it is – but I think it’s likely because even if my voice won’t hold through a song, due to hypothyroid hoarseness or overwhelming emotions, my fingers still sing.
This is also why I love to write poetry and prose. I can express myself through imagery, slightly detached from coming out and just saying things plainly… I like to wrap up in the words and feel what fits and what doesn’t. My voice comes out in similies and metaphors and descriptions as the words tumble out in tumultuousness on paper or screen with the soft accompaniment of pen scratches or gently tapped keys. I can scream silently from my fingers and no one sitting across the room is the wiser.
“Still waters run deep.” Isn’t that the saying? So much is hidden beneath the surface of the Quiet People. Placid. Silent. Complacent in achieving so much control of one’s tongue. The face, masked with Stepford Wife smiles, or completely expressionless, hides the deep feelings and thoughts.
I wonder about us INFJ’s… we will fight battles for things we believe strongly in. We will reluctantly go to war when pressed. We’d like to avoid the spotlight, but if that’s the best way to effect change – onward and upward! But do we go to battle for ourselves, or only for others? Do we struggle with boundaries – too many or too few? Do we let people in to our deep waters, fearing that they might drown in all of our thoughts and feelings? Over-thinking is our super power, if we have Highly Sensitive Person traits. And I don’t think that we should shame ourselves from processing what we need to process. As an INFJ, it helps me to fit pieces into patterns and puzzles by thinking thoroughly. Then, when I’ve made up my mind as to how something should be, I’m ready to do battle to make it so. That’s when I’ll let my voice out to assert myself.
I’ve been challenging myself in this area of using my voice. Since being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, even in the few months preceeding my diagnosis, when I was at my worst, I started to push back my boundaries into healthier places. I’m still adjusting those fence posts. I do use my voice at times, but admittedly, silence is my go-to.
For the past year, since my pastor-husband was ousted from our previous church, I have used my voice on social media, with a selected group of “friends” whom I trust. I posted to ask for prayer as I rode huge waves of anger and grief, grace and hope. It has been a wild year. In posting, I knew that I would have to make that already small circle, even smaller. There were people who didn’t understand that what I was posting was private to my selected audience. They thought that I was posting for the world to see. My brother complained to my mother that he would never get away with posting anything negative about his workplace. And he is right. There is some dirty laundry that should not see the light of day on social media. But I was trusting. I was hurting. I was needing validation and hope. And oh, I was so much in need of grace. During my mother’s letting me know about my brother, she also hinted at the disapproval of one of her sisters. This aunt has been such an important person in my life, I instantly felt the sting of rejection in my vulnerable heart. Both my aunt and brother were immediately relegated to outer circles of confidence. Since then, I have moved more and more people out and away from my innermost layers. I don’t trust anyone anymore than I absolutely have to. I am so layered up, I’m not even sure what is underneath. But this I do know, it is time for those layers to be peeled away. Not all at once, and not for all to see. I’m going to remove them very slowly. It’s part of my healing.
Using one’s voice is important. Speaking the truth of who you are and what God has called you to do, is important. And if you are speaking to those who love you, they will listen. They will want to support you in your endeavors. They won’t be afraid of your transformation through suffering. They may step back as you twirl about in a whirlwind of up and down emotions, but they will stay in the room.
I’ve been caught up by the ‘iron sharpening iron’ thoughts I’ve come across on social media this past year. Many times, I’ve seen memes and posts that talk about embracing those friends who correct you when you’re wrong. Why, oh why does this rub me wrongly? What is it about it that irritates me so?
If I trust enough to share my faults and failings, and to ask for your prayers and encouragement, the LAST THING I am open to is being corrected. So, as much as I want everyone to have their voice, I don’t want to hear every word. Does this make me hypocritical? Or just overly sensitive? Or immature?
What I have challenged my own children to do before they shoot their mouths off, is to stop and consider these three questions (and trust me, they have asked ME these same three questions after I’ve shot off my own mouth) 😉 :
Three questions to consider before “speaking your truth”:
- “Is it true?”
- “Is it helpful?”
- “Is it kind?”
In healing ourselves and supporting others in their healing, we need to speak our truth, but we need to temper our words with love.
May our words to others proclaim who God is and what He has done. May we give hope to those in need of it. May we not shirk back in fear or shame. May we not reject those God places in our path. But – may we be wise to know who to trust, who to speak to, who to phileo-love.
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
8 “For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:1 Hebrew; Septuagint the blind
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.