Last weekend at my church’s Praise Team Retreat, I got to perform a little song I wrote. It was the first time I’ve ever performed an original song for a group (only been song-writing about 6 months). I figured the open mic time was a good opportunity to share, but I had no idea how powerful it would be. I had no idea how powerful it would be for me.
When I got up there and started playing, I got so choked up I could barely croak out the first half of the song. I had totally not seen that coming. But as I started singing the simple lyrics,
You taught me to fear you, you taught me to love you
When I stand in your presence, I tremble
For you are good, good to me
the truth of the words hit me afresh. As I sang these lyrics for my fellow praise team members, I was carried back to the night I first met God, the night He came to me as a 10-year-old girl and promised to take care of me. I was brought back to that time of vulnerability and inexperience, when I didn’t have anything to offer God, and He came and showed me the way.
You taught me to hear you, you taught me to know your voice
You taught me to see you, even on the darkest night
You taught me to know you, You taught me to trust you
I come to your presence and give you everything
For you are good, so good to me
I didn’t mind that tears were streaming down my face as I returned to my seat, I knew it was a safe place to let my emotions show like that and I could tell that people were touched, but part of me was like, “Of course God would have me cry in front of everyone once again. I always think He wants to use my musical giftings, but instead He always uses my emotions.”
God immediately said, “Them seeing you get touched like that by me is so much better and more powerful than them hearing you sing ‘well,’” and I knew He was right. I knew that it was an honor to be used by Him in that way and that I just was letting my pride detract from the moment. As a music major, I’m used to touching people through the excellence of my music, not through breaking down into tears.
But later, during worship time, He took it even further. He said, “Your whole life, music has been about performing, about doing it well.” I thought back on all the piano recitals I’ve played, all the choirs and solos I’ve auditioned for, all the teachers and adjudicators I have had to prove myself to. “But it’s not about that anymore; it’s never going to be about that again. Now your music is just going to be about showing people my heart.” That’s when I broke down sobbing.
The thing is that I never wanted music to be about performing. I always want it to be about sharing. Sharing my heart, sharing something beautiful and profound. But so often I was distracted by thoughts of showing off my talent, by wondering what others were thinking about me.
In that moment, God set me free from all of that. He broke my pride, took away this gift I had always looked to for identity and worth, and gave it back to me as something completely different, something exceedingly more beautiful.
I cried out to God, “Anoint me! Anoint me to bring healing to people through my music. I want to touch the children who have been hurt and wounded, who have the same vulnerable heart inside them that I do. I want to touch adults, too, to touch that child that lives inside every grown up. I want to uncover that vulnerable part of them that feels helpless, that feels like they don’t have anything to bring to you. I want to show them that you love them.”
After I had cried out everything inside me, I leaned back to recover (worship still continuing) and started to laugh. I heard God say, “When you were a meek little girl, they had no idea how POWERFUL you were going to become,” and deep peals of laughter from my gut shook me.
A friend recently shared a couple visions with me that she had about me. I won’t go into all the details, but basically they had to do with me becoming powerful and my music doing powerful things. They also involved me shaking with sobs and laughter.
Those visions are already starting to come to pass. And not just because I have been shaking, sobbing, and laughing a whole lot lately.
Last night at the prayer tabernacle, the team leader said that I went to a whole new level of boldness in my singing. I was surprised that the change was so apparent. But even as I smiled at my team clapping and cheering for me, I realized that their affirmation didn’t mean nearly as much as it would have before. In a good way. I enjoyed being affirmed, but I didn’t do it for them. I did it for Him.
I know this is only the beginning. God is going to keep taking me to higher and higher levels. On Saturday, one of the worship leaders prayed over me, “You aren’t even going to recognize yourself a year from now because you are going to be filled with so much BOLDNESS!” I believe it.
God is giving me much bigger, greater dreams for my music than I ever imagined. I see my music going forth with power to bring healing, break bondages, and set people free. I see myself unafraid to show my emotions (whether tears or laughter) even when performing in front of thousands. I see Him smiling down on me as I do all this. I see Him smiling at me right now~