One of my greatest dreams is to make music, but I never thought that I would actually do it; I assumed that I would become an interior designer or something, because who actually gets to do what they dream, right? Yet last year I had such a strange moment where I just KNEW– I knew Jesus was asking me to make music! (You can read more of the story here; there are so many significant moments of my life recorded on this blog, I just realized!) It terrified me. I should have been ecstatic, but I wasn’t! I kept asking, “Are you sure? Did you really say that? Do you mean it?” And He kept saying, “Yes.” It took a while, but I did grow excited. I realized that He was asking me to do what I’d always secretly wanted to do, that He was showing me so much love by making my passion my actual calling, and that because He was asking me to do it I COULD do it! I treasured that exciting truth, but I made it about the future; I just kind of kept it under wraps in my heart for a while.
But He kept whispering, “You can do this NOW.”
Months later, when my youth group announced that the worship team was looking for new members, I knew that the idea hadn’t come from them. The Lord was telling me, “Do it, do it! This is for you!” They passed around the clipboards– and I let them pass me by. I was just too afraid. No one had ever heard me sing, not even my family, because I wouldn’t let them. I kept my passion hidden. But I couldn’t forget how clear He had been. The next day, I e-mailed the coordinator (who is also my friend Marina!) and said I wanted to sign up; she said she would put me on the list, and she did.
My first time singing background for my youth group was on September 27, 2012. I’ll let my journal entry from that night tell the story:
Today was big. Why? It was my first time on worship team! I was nervous when I walked in for practice. My heart stopped when I got on the stage. I didn’t want to pick up the microphone. When I did anyway and we started a song– HOME. That’s the best word I can find. I was so comfortable on stage, and that floored me! Even when we played for the crowd, I wasn’t nervous. I don’t know how I sounded or even if anyone could hear me, but it was just FUN. I’m hoping every time I step onto a stage for the rest of my life will be that homey, and even more full of Him.
I’ve been on worship team a couple more times since then, and they’ve all held something unique, some lesson or realization or experience that I constantly remember.
Meanwhile, I’d also received the gut knowledge that Jesus was wishing for a particular college for me. This, as well, was something I’d always pictured for myself but thought I couldn’t pursue; He began to continually show me that He believes in my dreams! Around October of that same year I began my application for the college; I sent it in and was accepted! However, this college’s music program can only be entered by audition. I prepared and practiced, but in that process I became even more self-conscious than I was naturally. When the phone call came and I learned that I had been rejected because my voice was “underveloped”, I began to hate the sound of myself singing. I tried and tried, every day, but I just couldn’t sound like myself, let alone enjoy my own voice. I was so confused. Why would Jesus ask me to pursue music AND this college if I couldn’t make music my major? Honestly, I still don’t know the answer to that question. But I’ve learned that God is faithful and wise. He wasn’t surprised by this.
The day of that painful phone call, I was on my computer listening to Josh Garrels. When I hung up with tears in my eyes, I heard this song and watched this video, and a strange peace found a corner admist my crushed spirit: His voice isn’t perfect, but is that honestly what hits you about it? What about the heart he obviously has for what he’s singing, the message he’s sharing, the moments when he looks like he’s going to burst into tears?! THAT is what matters; that’s what makes him moving and memorable. Not his voice, his heart! That was such an encouragement, as were the Psalms Jesus sent to me daily, the kind e-mails from so many people from my life, and a session with my prayer partner, Holly.
It wasn’t instant, there wasn’t a specific moment that I became healed of my insecurity, but it happened; I am once again a joyful singer, and I’m even less ashamed of it. Maybe all this was His way of making sure I had confidence in HIM instead of myself, that I would have the right mindset. No, I don’t really think my voice is amazing or anything special, but I know that I’m learning. I love music and worship enough to sing with what I have. Like Holly said to me, if God wanted to hear a different voice come out of me, that would be the voice I had. He LOVES my voice, almost every day He tells me, “Sing for me, I treasure it!” I’ll get better, but I don’t ever need to be perfect. I don’t want to be! I want to be real. I have a real girl’s voice. And I like it.
I was on worship team again last week, the first time since my resolve returned, and I loved how effortless it was to have fun and sound like myself. I don’t know what life at college is going to look like in a few months, it’s all so scary and confusing, but I know I’ll be okay. This is my passion and my calling, and if Jesus believes in me, I’m ready for anything.