what is it you just have to do? what is it your life depends on? open up yourself and do it. don’t worry about who’s watching or if no one’s watching or listening. whether you’re in your car or bathroom or in front of 10,000, do it right. let it come out of you honestly.
let’s make it personal:
i sing. i can choose to just sing, to get up on stage and do a few numbers and sit down. i can make a happy sound, use my chords well. i can make you proud to know me.
will you know that what i’m singing is really from me? will you see that as i sing about joy, i’m reliving the most joyful time i’ve known? as i sing about peace, will my peace reach out to you and cause you to rest? as i sing about pain, will you see my wounds opened once more, on display, not for glory but to simply let you know that yes, i’ve been there, it’s real, it’s honest, it’s human, it’s wretched, it’s ugly…? when i sing about Jesus will you understand that whether or not i hit all the notes i practiced, He is real? and real to me? and here for you? loving you? and when i just want to calmly sing about love, will you hear it in me? will you know that it’s more than words for me? will you understand it’s depth?
or will it all be a bunch of noise meant for my self glorification and your temporary entertainment fix?
this was all the gist of the voice lesson i just had. we didn’t sing. we didn’t do breathing exercises or see how my tone is doing. stephen talked to me. he asked me why i sing. i got happy. i told him b/c i have to! i felt my excitement. he did too. and from there he talked to me for about 45 minutes about the fact that i must claim this. i must sing as if my life depends on it. i must make sure that come what may, the message of my song comes through like it’s the last thing i or anyone will ever hear. like it’s vital, air. i wish i could quote it all word for word. but trust me, i got the message. his passion ensured that i’d get it. he spoke to what i needed to hear. he told me a truth i needed someone in the field to tell me.
fear? if you claim it, there’s no room for fear? you eat fear for breakfast! those are some of his words i clearly remember. if you’re singing old mcdonald had a farm, i should smell the tractor fumes. he said that too. i get it. i really do.
i’ve sung from my heart before. and when those times are over, all i want to do is go out into a wide open space, far away from anyone else and talk to God, ask Him why i’m worthy of any good thing, ask Him why i’m allowed to be blessed by what i’ve just shared with others. i’ve never understood how after a pastor’s preached his/her heart out, he/she goes to the foyer and shakes hands. i’d hop in my car and get as far away from people as i can.
i’m afraid of being overconfident. i’m afraid that compliments will get in the way. i want so much to be humble that i end up being proud of my humility. and then i subconsciously convince myself that to do any more with this gift would be too much. no, God can’t possibly want me to take His gift any further. no. that would be crazy. i’m not supposed to be famous so i’ll just not do much of anything. i won’t use my voice much. no. i’ll be very choosy. i’ll sing only when all the stars are aligned.
i’m also afraid of the unknown. you may wonder why i’m afraid of this unknown when i have so many other unknowns that i’m not afraid of, like my writing. it doesn’t scare me to know that i don’t know when or if my book will ever be published. and you know why? because writing really isn’t my number 1. it’s number 2. so if i fail, it won’t end my world. and if it takes me 10 years to make it well as a writer, i won’t feel stupid. i’ll just sit back and say, well, these things just take time.
but if i decide to sing as if my life depends on it, then i can’t be a closet singer. i can’t just lead out in song service. i can’t just sing at special functions. i have to sing for my life. i have to take the messages God gives me through music and share them with as many people as i can. people wonder how in the world i can write all this personal stuff and let any and everybody read it. how do you do it? your brave? no, i just like talking about me b/c after spending so much time in my thoughts, i think i have good things to say that you would like to hear and hopefully learn from. it’s not scary to know that complete strangers are reading this and they, along with friends and family may make all sorts of judgments about me based on all of this. it’s not scary to know that you’re getting to know me this way.
but it’s scary to think that when i decide to sing as if my life depens on it, i may not always have a singing engagement. it may not always pay the bills. and it’s scary to think that i may mess up. that i may be in the public eye and then do a stupid human thing like sin, do something that separates me from God and maybe encourages someone else to separate themself from God.
it’s scary to know that while on one hand i can be God’s vessel, on the other hand, i can be His enemy. and i know the power of music. i’m afraid of that power.
music is my first love. when i was a little girl, my first solo was a lullaby. i sat in a white dress my mother had made, holding my beautiful black doll, rocking her gently as i sung, say goodnight, little on, save some fun for tomorrow, with a bye by to your light, for you light is sleepy too, all your toys are in bed, they are resting and sleeping, snuggle tight, say goodnight, for it’s time you were sleeping too. i remember singing it through twice. it was a high point in my life. it proved to me that i could do it, that i could step away from the choir or ensemble and do it on my own.
since that moment, i’ve grown a lot. i’ve learned that doing it on my own isn’t always a good thing. but if i must step away from the group and walk alone, then…i’ll do it. because my life depends on it.
i could compare it to my sight. it’s unknown scares me to tears sometimes but that doesn’t stop me from taking in my surroundings. it doesn’t stop me from going for walks or driving or mowing the lawn. i don’t stop reading or put sanding and staining my table top just because i don’t know. i don’t know if i’ll always see but i can’t allow that to stop my life.
singing, letting others know about Jesus through music, is just about air to me. i can’t allow what i don’t know to ruin what i do…i’ve got to do this.