Sea of Voices
As a 42-year-old Discipleship and Executive Pastor who was a Student Ministry Pastor for 18 years, being comfortable in my own skin is still an ongoing journey and continual work in progress. I am the proud son of an African American father and a mother of Spanish and German descent. But, being proud of my heritage has not always been the reality. I had far from a difficult childhood, but I was plagued by inner turmoil about being too “white” for my black friends and too “black” for my white friends. I have always been accused of talking “white” (even with well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ) and while I think I know what that means, I still wonder what would possess one human being to say that to another human being. The reality of the situation is that I have always been surrounded by a multitude of voices, my own included. Every human being is daily and moment by moment surrounded by a multitude of voices, voices that encourage, voices that demand, voices that challenge, voices that inspire, voices that wound, voices that convict, voices that transform, voices that mar, voices that heal, and voices that define and shape lives.
“I have learned how to be much more comfortable in my own skin being extremely proud of both heritages and so many people that make me who I am.”
What are we to do with all these voices? They all shouldn’t be given equal weight and value, should they? They all shouldn’t be discarded as invalid and insignificant, should they? The month of February is Black History Month and while I am grateful for increased awareness that highlights the lives, testimonies, and contributions of so many African Americans, I also wrestle with Black History Month. I wrestle because in many ways, it brings me back to childhood memories that I would rather forget, too “white” for my black friends and too “black” for my white friends. However, I have learned how to be much more comfortable in my own skin being extremely proud of both heritages and so many people that make me who I am.
“I have a voice in the sea of voices. And, most importantly, His voice, the voice of my Creator, defines who I am to Him and in Him.”
In the midst of the sea of voices that I hear daily as a half black and half white male, I hear the voice of the One who matters most speaking over and into me as His beloved. In the midst of a frequently chaotic, polarized, and crazy society, I hear the voice of the One who created me stating, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15). In the midst of longing for so much more for the world that I inhabit, I am reminded that I am not a victim. I am not defeated. I am not powerless. I am not a statistic. I am empowered as a husband, father, son, friend, brother, and as a multiracial man to be an instrument of heaven crashing into earth. I have a voice in the sea of voices. And, most importantly, His voice, the voice of my Creator, defines who I am to Him and in Him.
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