I am a part-time vocalist and worship leader at my home church. And by part-time I mean very part-time. I sing as a substitute about once a month. I absolutely love serving in this role, but I’m never completely comfortable because – let’s face it – my voice is only average. I’m a committed member of the praise team, but you’ll never hear me singing on the radio, or on an open-mic night in a cute coffee shop, or pretty much anywhere other than a church service.
This past week, we sang a new-for-us song called “No Longer Slaves”. This particular song means a great deal to me because earlier this year the Lord used the lyrics to point me to a place of old pain I was carrying in my heart. He showed me how freedom from it was possible. Since then, the song has been both powerful and personal to me. When it comes on the radio or on my iPod, I almost always stop because the memory of how the Lord spoke to me through the music quickly moves me to tears. It’s also quite vocally challenging, which leads me to the lesson I learned (or re-learned) on Sunday morning about how God can use our lives to be a reflection of His love.
At our weekly rehearsal, we began to work on the song. As it came together, I struggled to sing it through my tears. Once again, the feelings of the Lord’s encouragement and promise to me resurfaced. He had used the song to strengthen me in a battle and to invite me to deepen my trust in Him. That intimate encounter with Jesus has been a game-changer for me. Because of that, I wanted to do a good job with the song on Sunday morning so that the congregation could also feel the power in it. I feared my lack of vocal excellence would be a distraction. The harmony I was trying to master at the end of the song was high and I lacked confidence that I could perform it well. The others on the team were encouraging. I left rehearsal knowing that we could sing the song without that high harmony, but if anyone was going to sing that part, it was up to me.
Where else is it up to me? Where is it up to you? Where are the places that our presence, our gifts, our talents are needed because no one else can contribute what we can? How has God gifted you – just you – to speak a word, serve a role, or share an experience? We tell ourselves that “someone else will do it” but what if they don’t? Or what if they can’t?
Lots of people could have sung that song better than I did. Lots. But in that church service – on that day – it was mine to do. Just mine. And so I sang it. Through my nerves and my tears I sang it the very best that I could. It wasn’t perfect, but my heart was full because I had confidence that I had played my part.
It has taken me a long time to recognize the significance my life has. Truthfully, I have only begun to scratch the surface of understanding about this idea – that my life has the potential to be significant for God. As I ponder this, I have to let you know that I am overwhelmed by what I am learning about how much God wants to use us to love other people. Us. The world doesn’t need to understand our theology. We may not even understand our theology. The people in our world need to see and hear Jesus through our lives. Through our words and actions, God can be seen in ways that others do understand. He will do the work to make Himself visible. All He asks is that we show up, give our imperfect best, and do our part.
I hope you will listen to and be moved by the YouTube video of the song. Maybe the Lord will use it to speak to you as well. By the way, that’s not me singing. 😉 Peace!