Voice and Choice: When to speak, what to say

“Let us always guard our tongue; not that it should always be silent, but that it should speak at the proper time” – St. John Chrysostom

I was surfing the web the other day when I stumbled across this job posting that happened to have some great life (and interview!) advice:

Be sure you can tell your story. Be able to demonstrate your aptitude, both scholastically and practically (former jobs, for example), and be ready to articulate how your background will enhance your career at our company.

I have a voice and I have a choice.

Yet at times, I feel as though I have no voice. I am mute with fear. I choke on my words and stagger through an endless babble unable to articulate myself. I will easily deny what I believe, think, feel, want, and need, to avoid an uncomfortable argument.

So, I am working on taking a breath before I speak for I am responsible for what I say and how I say it.

I hold myself accountable and focus on what I am in control of: my voice and my choice. I ask for the wisdom to know when to speak and what to say, for there are times when silence screams and words are deaf. As Gerondissa Gabriela says, “What we say remains to eternity.” Then, there are times when the advice of Saint Kassiani (Kassia) is more appropriate: “ [I] Hate silence when it is time to speak!”

But when is it time to speak? And for what? How do I express my feelings, beliefs, and opinions – which may stand independent to the majority – without judging or alienating others? How do I articulate myself with grace and empathy? How do I accept everyone while remaining steadfast and honest with who I am?

Metropolitan Hilarion beautifully expresses how our most important instrument is our Christian Voice:

The most important instrument at the Church’s disposal is her own voice, which should resound and be heard by all those who are capable of hearkening to it. Of course, the Church’s voice often becomes a voice crying in the wilderness. Nevertheless we keep speaking and will continue bearing witness to the values, which, we believe, are of indisputable significance.

In doing so, we are not going to impose anything on anybody. We do not impose theological views or the religious worldview, but we speak of the values that relate to real human life and that the family needs to be fostered and a human life needs to be valued from its conception to natural death. These are simple things which the modern society finds difficult to perceive.

You have a voice and you have a choice.

Be sure you can tell your story.

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Jessica is an employment specialist for marginalized youth in Toronto, Canada. She enjoys teaching, traveling and observing - especially the relationship between mind and heart. Jessica also has a passion for outdoor walks, dancing, and all things offbeat and authentic. You can contact her at hello@sofiasynergy.com.

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Reina Wakeem Recent comment authors
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Reina Wakeem
Reina Wakeem

YES!! Thank you for giving modern Orthodox Christians a strong voice in our crazy world!