I had a pity party; an extended woe-is-me moment. It was a weekend affair, leaving me with the worst emotional hangover on the following Monday morning. Why was I so glum? Nothing original. Just Google “single working mother”. Then filter with “African American”.
I’m a God-Girl. I know how to encourage myself and have had plenty of opportunities to practice. I whispered to my heart “You’re the head, not the tail. You’re blessed in the city and blessed in the field. I have come that you might have life more abundantly. You are more than a conqueror…”
My heart was deaf.
Tired of my own company, I went to my Tae Kwon Do (TKD) class. Maybe kicking someone or something would make me feel better.
Not the kicking part, per se. But rather, the yelling made me feel better. Among many things, TKD trains you to focus on your target, study your opponent’s movements- not his size, and to yell with every punch and kick. Yelling, in particular, is a strategy employed for both sparring and breaking (wood). A powerful yell reflects self-confidence. Executed well, it can be a distraction to an opponent. Moreover, it increases the power and physical force of your kicks and punches.
When I first started TKD, I had a hard time with the yelling. I would say to myself, “It doesn’t take all that”. I could more easily apply the yelling technique when I had someone standing in front of me; a talking, breathing opponent with a back hook kick with my name on it. But yelling at a piece of wood?
It may look silly to some—yelling at a piece of wood before you break it. It certainly felt silly. But when I learned that I was losing points for my wimpy execution, the competitor in me could care less about what you thought. I wanted to win. Bruce Lee has entered the building.
As hoped, I left TKD feeling lighter and my cumulus cloud looking a little less gray. Reveling in the vocal release, I got a revelation.
I’ve been whispering through life!
Whispering in everything, with everyone. I’ve been whispering my opinions, whispering my values, whispering my hurt, whispering my right to be – uh– just fill in the blank. Whispering my way to the front of the line. Whispering to stay under the radar. Whispering my way onto my own calendar. Whispering my wants, my dreams. Whispering my disappointments to God. Whispering my disappointment with God. I whispered. I soft-talked my faith and beliefs. Spoke in undertone to make others feel comfortable. I hushed because I was tired of fighting. Used my ‘inside voice’ with the enemy of my soul; whispered the Word to my heart when I was already on the battlefield. My opponent wasn’t moved by my “I am more than a conqueror” speech, because he couldn’t hear me.
I think most people would understand if you had to get loud to defend yourself, a loved one or an issue that you feel passionate about. And yet, those same people may also think it looks silly to be yelling at a block of wood— at a problem, at their depression, at their bills, at their illness, at the thing that causes them to lose sleep, peace, and hope. So they make the subconscious decision to live a powerless life because of the wimpy execution of what they know to be true.
Hebrews 4:12 describes the Word as being sharper than a double-edged sword. But it’s not enough to just carry the sword. You have to swing it. You have to yell. You have to yell back at what’s yelling at you. That was my problem. Everything seemed to be screaming for my attention, screaming for a reaction, screaming at me, and I was whispering. I forgot to yell, and I was losing points on the mat.
Your opponent isn’t your teen, your ex, your boss, or even your mother-in-law. Well, not every time. Sometimes it’s a block of wood. And yes, to folks looking from the outside in, you look silly yelling at your wood. So what! Stop talking to your problems with your inside voice. If you believe that you are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), then you have to practice your war cry. Seriously, I mean yell. I’m not speaking metaphorically anymore. Stop muttering the word and declare it over your situation; make known formally and officially; state emphatically and authoritatively who your God is. With every swing of the sword – matched with a powerful yell, the enemy of your soul loses his footing. And you win.
I had a pity party. The invitation read Outside Voices Only, please.
YOUR TURN! How do you encourage yourself? Share with us in the comment section below.