Your Speech is Safe with Me


Walk through the door, brave soul, and risk words.

Your speech is safe with me.


Whether your fear comes through in shaking or in tears or in belligerent bluster, I will hold my eyes steady on you.

I will draw you forth.

I will invite you to try. To stutter. To stumble.

All that is in my power I will ply to make of this room a safe place to house your voice.


I will not use your words against you.

No, I will catch them and hold them open in my hands.

I will be for you a mirror.

I will show you the words that sparkle with the brilliance of the song God planted in your heart.

I will show you the words unworthy of the person you hope to be.

I will grant you the freedom to look unashamed at your own reflection.


The first steps to fluency are not even.

Nor are they often pretty.

But they are brave. And they are good.

This is what we will hold to, you and I.

(And I will hold to it when you cannot.)


And this is why.

This truth:

You have a voice.

What you have locked within your heart is important enough to speak.

Even the tangled soul, imperfectly expressed in words, is beautiful.

And grows yet more beautiful when met with grace and truth.


Walk through the door, brave soul, and risk words.

Your speech is safe with me.


I began writing this piece to reflect my heart toward my public speaking students. But quickly, it grew into something bigger. I want this to be my stance in more and more interactions of my life: in my marriage, in my parenting, in my teaching. I want to carry this into the small groups I facilitate, and equally into the conversations I have with friends. 

Who in your life needs to hear this heartbeat pulsing through your interactions with them? Where would this stance be helpful to you?

John the Baptist works Step One

In Twelve Step recovery programs (one of which I attend every Friday night), the starting point on the road to greater health is Step One, which goes something like this:

We admitted we were powerless over our dependencies, that our lives had become unmanageable.

In the Bible, before Jesus begins his public teaching, John the Baptist shows up, preaching and baptizing people. He’s beginning to point people toward Jesus. And look what they do, these people taking their first steps toward Jesus:

“People from across the countryside of Judea and from the city of Jerusalem came to [John the Baptist] and confessed that they were deeply flawed and needed help, so he cleansed them with the waters of the Jordan.”  –Mark 1:5 (The Voice)

Maybe, just maybe, if I want to move toward health, if I want to be clean, maybe the starting point looks something like this:

I am powerless over my dependencies.

I am deeply flawed.

I need help.


What do you think? Is the starting point for wholeness really this–an admission of brokenness? And if so…why?