Finding Your Voice
On July 14, 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival. It was like many other Dylan performances before it except for one thing: Dylan was backed by an electric rock band. Prior to this event, Dylan had always played acoustic. He was promptly booed and the 60’s were changed forever.
Looking back, this may seem like a quaint story that draws a few chuckles from us. However, Dylan fans and folk music fans were truly upset by the events. It was just one of the many changes that Dylan would make over the years, metamorphosing from folk to rock to country, back to rock to gospel and who knows what in between.
Looking back we know, but through each change we might have wondered if Dylan knew what he was doing. We might question whether he knew what his voice was. He seemed to be constantly changing his style and sound. Now, we look back at a body of work that can best be described simply as Dylan.
He knew what his voice was. It was there no matter what the style of music he played.
This is where we find ourselves in our life. We must find our voice, our message, no matter what we do in life. We might be a blogger, a speaker or preacher. We need to find our voice and message through it all.
We need to know who our message is for. Who are we writing to and for? Who is our audience, our customer?
There is a problem or situation our audience is facing. They need someone to help them. Whether they are reading your blog or listening to your music, they are facing an issue.
That’s where we come in. It’s where Dylan came in with his music. They need a guide, someone to show them the way.
The audience needs a plan. They need to be shown a direction, where or how to find love or what steps to take on the journey. The singer, the writer, or the speaker gives them a plan.
What happens then? The audience has to be called to action. They must make a choice of whether or not to follow the plan or not. Whichever they choose, something happens.
There are results. The results are either success or failure. Rarely is there anything in-between.
Now, here’s the thing. If you write, if you sing, if you speak, the temptation is to model yourself after someone else. Rare is it for someone to be original from the get go. A folk singer may learn to do Dylan note for note. This is all well and good, but that does not make them Dylan.
I have tried to imitate my fair share of people. I tried to learn to play mandolin and sought famous players to imitate. I tried my best to find famous bloggers to pattern myself after. I have tried to preach like, well, all my favorite preachers.
I just have to be me. I have to be who I am.
So do you. You might be facing the temptation to pattern your life after someone else. I just have one more piece of advice to give.
If you’re going to imitate anyone, imitate Jesus. Look at what He is like in the Bible. He will be the best guide you will ever have. He can give you plan for your life. He will call you to action. The result will be success or failure. And finding your true voice.
I encourage to seek after Him.