by Allyson Smytek with Amber Weigand-Buckley
“When will you let God use your pain?”
That question brought speaker, author, and life coach Linda Goldfarb to a turning point. Whether on stage or working at her day job, Linda has always used her voice to entertain people. Little did she know that God would take her voice on a journey to truly impact lives for eternity.
“Before then, I used my humor as a way to mask my own unresolved hurt. The reality of how my pain was affecting me did not surface until later in life,” Linda said.
Behind the Laughter
The award-winning author and podcast host grew up in a military home. From a young age, Linda was constantly moving. By the time she found new friends, her father would be relocated to another state or country.
“Dad’s short-term relocations didn’t allow me the opportunity to become truly established. I was critical of myself and full of self-doubt. But I could do voices. And I could make people laugh.”
Linda lived to entertain others—dabbling in theater and comedy was a natural outflow of what she did best. But deep inside, she struggled. “I didn’t realize how much I actually disdained myself. I wanted people to laugh with me before they had a chance to laugh at me. I had turned my ability to make people laugh into a defense mechanism.”
The Cover-Up of Control
At the age of 18, Linda married her first husband. And at twenty, she had her first child and her second at 24. She recalled those ten years as “a difficult season.” The upside—it gave her the opportunity to look at life in a different way.
“Others saw me as funny, but inside, I had something of substance to share. My humor had a bad habit of covering up my spirituality,” said Linda.
“We all can be guilty of constantly downplaying our gift. For me, it was saying, ‘No, God really didn’t mean to use my voice for His purpose.’”
Shortly after her divorce, this single mother of two children found herself drawn back to church. This is where she got the idea to use humor to serve God and stepped into comedy. Comedy was the start of her journey to find her voice.
“I was funny so I could control people laughing with me, not at me.”
The Big Question
When author Georgia Schaffer presented Linda with the challenge of allowing God to use her pain instead of covering it up, she was slightly offended.
“Honestly, I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear my story. People like to laugh and be entertained. Besides, my life wasn’t interesting enough to share.”
Later that year, before taking the stage at a Christian women’s event, God challenged her with the same call, “Let Me use your pain.” Linda moved forward with the challenge, figuring she’d never see the audience again. She described that moment of vulnerability, “I felt the rock exterior I had grown accustomed to crack open, revealing God’s geode inside.”
God took the humor Linda used for protection and reframed it around her vocal talent to build her influence outside church walls. With no college degree or the education people might think necessary, God unexpectedly brought all the pieces she needed together.
An Unexpected Turn
Working on a production for her church, Linda approached the general manager of a local radio station to narrate the story alongside her. While talking, Linda joked with him about having a radio show of her own.
A couple of weeks later, her second husband, Sam, arranged a lunch meeting with the local radio station manager. “During this meeting, I was sitting at the table with three people, being talked about in the third person. It was kind of hilarious, like I wasn’t even in the room.” They all had ideas, but Linda knew the show, a talk show about real life, must be funded by God. “If Sam and I put funds into the project, it would be our program, not God’s. And we had no time to work on anything that wasn’t God’s best.”
Linda recalls how God provided all the sponsors needed to fund the show. She was given the song, It’s Not Just Talkin’ the Talk by Christian Country singer, Clifton Jansky as the theme song for her show, “Not Just Talkin’ the Talk,” which grew globally and remained on the air for ten years.
By helping others share their stories, Linda realized she shouldn’t separate her real-life stories from God’s everyday work in her. Continuing to set aside time every morning with God, He took her deeper and showed her what He was accomplishing through her.
As Linda relied on God, He guided her to authentically share her voice from the core of who He designed her to be. Through this, she experienced His provision as she watched her platform grow.
Growing Your God-Given Voice
Linda’s voice has been heard across the world. She has toured China and continues to travel the US sharing a variety of voices along the way through Storybook Theatre of Texas. She uses her voice to bring life to authors’ stories via audiobooks. While hosting the award-winning podcast “Your Best Writing Life,” she has welcomed God’s open door to use her as a vocal conduit, coming alongside writing industry experts who share their teachings with writers of all levels.
Linda shares that your voice can be expressed through more than just speaking, it can be heard through writing, teaching, and art, among other things.
“The most important consideration is following and obeying God first and foremost. Doing what God tells us to do can help us grow the voice He’s giving us beyond our expectations.”
Linda is quick to remind us that “Basing our calling and our [‘voice’] purely on self-discovery can lead us into a loop of uncertainty. When you base your voice on who God said you are, you will grow more confident in your calling. You will learn to love your voice because God entrusted it to you and only you.”
God is the restorer of the parts of us we want no one else to see, and He takes great joy in using that to speak and shine through us.