Monday, August 10, 2015

What Does It Mean To Be Beautifully Outspoken?

Be "beautifully outspoken." 

That's what I want you to be. That's what I want to be. And I think that's what God has called all of us to be. 

But, now what exactly does that mean?

Well, it all goes back to a day in 2012. I was at a Bible study with my young adults group from church on a Friday night, and we were getting ready to call it a night. We stood in a circle, going around the room and saying any prayer requests or needs we might have. My great uncle (my mom's uncle) had just passed away earlier in the week, and we were going to his funeral the next day. I wasn't extremely close with him, because they lived about two hours away from us, and we rarely saw them, except for special occasions, but he was one of the greatest men I'd ever had the pleasure of coming in contact with and he was family. Funerals are not a fun or easy thing by any means, and I asked for prayer for the rest of the family. As our leader, Chris, was lifting my prayer request up, he mentioned the phrase beautifully outspoken and a verse in 1 Peter. The prayer concluded a few minutes later, and I walked over to the table of snacks to talk with my friend, Febe. She brought up the prayer and agreed that I was beautifully outspoken. Hmm...beautifully outspoken. That phrase kept running through my mind and wouldn't go away. I had forgotten the verse reference and messaged Chris to find out what it was. He told me, and I looked it up immediately. 

"Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are and always with the utmost courtesy."
*1 Peter 3:14*

Wow, I thought. What a powerful statement. That has been with me since that night, and I decided that I was going to make that my life's mission statement.

To me, beautifully outspoken is about being who God called you to be and speaking up even when it's difficult. It's about those convictions and callings that He places on each of our hearts; not just letting them pass by, but doing and saying something about it. It means going against the grain and not just agreeing with everyone else. It's about speaking up for the way you live your life, but also respecting those who don't share your views, opinions and beliefs. It's about grace. To yourself and to others, because grace is what God constantly shows us every single day.

Over the past few years, this is something that I've been working on. Not only in my life, but as well as incorporating it into the kind of work that I want to do and the kind of legacy I want to leave behind. I've started countless blogs by the same title, "Beautifully Outspoken," only to lose inspiration or that spiritual drive to keep me going. My hope and prayer is that someday I will be able to turn this into a non-profit organization that will help young girls/20-somethings with their calling and finding their voice. It's hard to be a girl this day in age; knowing when to speak up and when to let things go. There are so many things that I didn't even deal with growing up (which was just a few years back), like technology and cyberbullying. I would want this to be a space where girls can feel safe and confident in who they are and the people they are surrounded by. I would want it to be a space where they can get their creative juices flowing, inspire one another, dream together, collaborate with one another and so on. I'm generally a quiet person, so sometimes speaking up or being bold enough to say something can be a bit challenging, or at least it was in the past. But, I've come a long way from where I used to be. I realize it's a journey that never quits and it's time to start sharing what I've learned along the way with others when tough situations come up.

So, welcome to my little corner of the world. Come along for the ride - stay awhile, won't you?

Shelby :) 

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