The idea of speaking up means “speaking freely, openly, and confidently” as you present your message (Acts 14:1-3 The Message). Your life is your message according to don Miguel Ruiz, don Jose Ruiz, and Janet Mills in The Fifth Agreement (2010). “Since birth you deliver a message to the world…the message is you…” That is not to say that you won’t have hard times, you will (Acts 14:21-22). So why speak up?
Make a Difference in Someone’s Life
I am working with a woman who wants to make a difference in young people’s lives. When I asked about who made the difference in her life it was a woman who shared her insights into human nature and then had the patience to sit with my client as she figured stuff out for herself. What made the difference is that my client wasn’t pestered to change; she was able to make the change for herself after hearing the message and seeing its validity play out in her life over the years.
Honor What You Need
It’s not just about speaking up for the benefit of others; you can speak up for your own benefit as well. There have been moments when I have gotten angry and resentful. As I’ve taken the time to learn more about myself and what I want, I realize that when I put the needs of others ahead of my own I can become angry. Recognizing this has helped me to keep the situation from blowing up out of proportion with the work I need to get done.
I can see others fall into this same trap by doing something for someone else and then getting mad for not being appreciated or rewarded for sacrificing their own needs. The truth is that if we are honest with ourselves when we make that decision, we would speak up and say that we need to take care of ourselves first. If we don’t, we’ll be mad at the other person for doing what we wished we did. There was a program I watched where the speaker made this connection to the oxygen mask announcement on airplanes. If you don’t put your oxygen mask on first, you’re not likely to be of much use to others.
Do it in Deed
Just as it is said that ‘actions speak louder than words,’ what you do can also be a way for you to speak up. Your actions will corroborate your message like God’s miracles and wonders as Barnabas and Paul were sharing the message. Your actions can also demonstrate if what you say is merely theory or if you walk your talk. In the Four Agreements, Miguel notes that “if others say one thing, but do another” you would be lying to yourself if you didn’t pay attention to their actions (p. 62)
What Door Does it Open?
If it is still going to be tough why would you speak up in action or in deed? For Barnabas and Paul it was an opportunity to “throw the door of faith wide open so people of all nations could come streaming in” (Acts 14:27-28). Think about all the ways you have serve our community. In looking back, what came of the times when you spoke up? What is your message today? What do you want your message to be?