Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's not what you do...

Singing isn't my life, but it has come very close sometimes.

The first time I can remember singing, I was all of four years old, and performing something simple in a church Christmas pageant. I liked it so much that I wanted to stay on stage longer, and my older brother had to come fetch me. I sang every chance I got, after that.

My first time in front of a church congregation, I was all of seven. I sang "How Great Thou Art" at the Seventh Day Adventist church that ran the school I was attending, and loved every minute of it. By the time I hit my teens, I was singing in a school choir and a member of my church's adult choir. I sang for school programs and some community events, and every chance I got at church, including plenty of solos. I was good, and I knew it, so I took every opportunity I could get to perform. Anywhere, any time, anyhow.

This had some good effects. I got plenty of attention for my abilities, and my voice continued to improve. I got plenty of chances to meet people and learn how to be comfortable in front of crowds.

But, this also had some bad effects as well. Since this was the only thing that I did that got me positive attention, when things went wrong I was devastated. I can remember being horribly depressed for days after forgetting the lyrics during a solo at a Christmas eve service. I felt that if I couldn't do this one thing right, that maybe there was nothing I could really do well at all. I put every last bit of my self-esteem on the line, every time I went forward to perform, and if I failed, I felt as if I was a failure. That if what I did wasn't good enough, that I wasn't good enough.

This false perception has taken years to change. I had to learn that I had more than one gift to use. I had to find out that if something went wrong, it didn't make me a failure. And most of all, that my gifts and talents were not what made me of worth to God. I am of worth to Him because He chose me, not because I have something He needs. That I can please Him by being myself, not by trying to be better than everyone else around me. Not an easy thing to learn, but something I'm still working on finding out.

I still spend a lot of time singing. I am behind a microphone almost every Sunday. And, honestly, I'm pretty good at it. Not the best in the world, not the worst, but pretty good at using the gift of music that has been my most visible talent all these years. Yet, finally, I know that God loves me no matter how my next performance turns out. I am loved, as is.

It's not what you do, it's what you are. God's child, as is.

Your (singing) sis,


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