The Power of Your Voice

Exploring the Joint, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Exploring the Joint, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

I heard a talk the other day about the power of the voice.  Not as in, “you can communicate better if you use your voice correctly,” but more down the line of how powerful it is when you speak.  The words, themselves, can be even more powerful, but even an unintelligible syllable is more powerful than saying nothing.

Climbing up through Preston Park, Glacier National Park, Montana
Climbing up through Preston Park, Glacier National Park, Montana

When you’re terrified or overstimulated, many people lose their ability to speak.  That’s why we have maxims like, “she was struck dumb” or “you could have heard a pin drop.”  Our minds are so busy trying to figure out what to do (fight or flight mode) that our power of speech deserts us.

Views down on Hidden Lake, North Cascades National Park, Washington
Views down on Hidden Lake, North Cascades National Park, Washington

At the same time, some people are also in paralysis – we can’t talk and we can’t move.  “I was scared stiff!” or “You couldn’t have knocked me over with a feather” are two examples of maxims that get at this.  Some people will say, “When such and such happened, why didn’t you run away or at least scream?”  The answer is that the person couldn’t; they were in such terror that their body and speech stopped functioning.

Trying to navigate a log jam on Black Creek, Rochester, New York
Trying to navigate a log jam on Black Creek, Rochester, New York

Researchers also tell us that if we can just say a word – anything! – it has the power to wake up our brains.  Suddenly, we can talk, we can move, we can think more clearly and act on what stimuli are telling us.  Run!  Say you’re sorry.  Shout for help!  Wake up; it’s just a dream!

Camping along the Trail Canyon Road in Death Valley National Park, California
Camping along the Trail Canyon Road in Death Valley National Park, California

While the power of the voice is true in the physical body, it’s also true in the spiritual realm, as well.  When you’re overwhelmed by everything that’s going on around you or you’re terrified by what you see, you may feel paralyzed and unable to as much as utter a prayer.  But if you can speak – even if it’s just the name of Jesus – it will break both the immobility and give you back your voice.

Views from Goat Peak, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Montana
Views from Goat Peak, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Montana

Don’t let the fear take away your voice.  Your voice is stronger than fear.  Even if it’s just a whisper, it innately carries the power to overcome the darkness.  It’s said that your mind is more alert and you have finer motor controls when you’re talking than when you’re tense and silent.  Speaking the word of God banishes both fear and paralysis in our spiritual lives.

Buttermilk Falls, Adirondack Park, New York
Buttermilk Falls, Adirondack Park, New York

Here are a few verses about speaking and overcoming fear:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Proverbs 18:21

“When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city [Jericho].” Joshua 6:20

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24

“You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”” Lamentations 3:57

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4