For the next few days, I’ll be out of town at a conference for writers and bloggers. This means I will step into someone else’s skin and offer everyone I meet my best impression of an extrovert for four days straight. I can only pray that God, an enormous amount of caffeine, and the occasional five-minute break to hide in the bathroom will sustain me. There will be many women of many words there, from speakers to writers to bloggers to actual real-life extroverts not masquerading in a sparkly costume.
Where many words are present, I have to consciously remind myself to let my words come from a place of purpose, rather than fear. The extroverted words tumbling out of my mouth must speak life as much as the written ones do. Asking genuine questions and listening for the answer gives life. Showing an interest in someone else’s story gives life. Empathy, vulnerability, honesty–these all give life. Talking about myself just for the sake of trying to make my voice heard above the rumble and din does not. Rather than giving rise to generous conversation, it gives rise to competition. A focus on what amount of attention I can walk away with, rather than what attention I can give.
If I come away with anything, I hope it’s a better understanding of what it means to wield my words with power and wisdom, with gentleness, but also with strength. This is an art, I think. One that the quiet ones can learn from those whose voices have gone before us, solid, life-giving, purposeful, and when the occasion calls for it– spoken out loud.
This is the 22nd post in a series called 31 Days of Speaking Life. Want to know more about the 31 Days writing challenge? Hop on over here. Want to receive these posts via email straight into your inbox? Sign up below.