I rushed into the kitchen to share the great news with my family.
“You guys! I made it! I got a spot in the musical!” My young teenage heart was pumping with pride and excitement.
My two older sisters looked at each other and then back at me. “Mr. Matthews thinks you can sing and dance?”
They burst into laughter, and I almost couldn’t blame them. I was notorious for lacking rhythm and coordination. I tripped on my own feet just walking across the room. Finding a key to sing in and sticking with it wasn’t exactly my strong suit. But I had always dreamed of performing in a big production and our high school had an exceptional theater department. I didn’t let my lack of natural talent deter me. Thankfully, The Music Man required a large chorus, and I had enough spunk to sneak in.
In my twenties, I once knew a guy liked me because when we were camp counselors, he would get up early to sit next to me at morning chapel and tell me what a beautiful singer I was. Only true love or temporary infatuation could make that statement. By unbiased standards, I have a terrible singing voice. Truly. I’m not being modest. No doubt I would be fodder for the blooper reel on American Idol.
While you won’t find me crooning on any stage (or loud enough for anyone who’s not a relative to hear me), I haven’t let my ineptitude hold me back from singing every day.
Each night I stand, sit, or kneel beside each one of my three sons’ beds and sing them a song. My eight-year-old loves Angels We Have Heard on High (even when it’s not Christmas-time) and my other two like Forever Reign. Yep, even my twelve-year-old with hands and feet bigger than his mama’s, who is edging closer to manhood every day, even he still requests my nightly song.
Clearly, it’s not my vocal talent that my children appreciate but rather the time of connection it creates. I scratch their backs and run my fingers through their hair. I whisper prayers of thanksgiving for what has been and hope for what is to come.
This simple routine has become a rhythm of love for this rhythmically-challenged mom.
And it makes me wonder, what is lost when we hide our expressions of love, art, and creativity because they don’t measure up to the world’s standards? What unexpected blessing are we forfeiting because we’re afraid to offer our less-than-stellar efforts?
Maybe you love painting or hand-lettering but your creations don’t compare to those that get thousands of likes on Instagram squares. So you think, Why bother? Maybe you feel drawn to dance but you believe you’re too old or awkward and others would just laugh. Maybe there is a poet inside you but somewhere in the past you were told words weren’t your forte. What if you decided to ignore the voice that said you’re not good enough and instead chose to explore something new — not for the sake of an applaudable performance but simply for pleasure and enjoyment?
When it comes to God, He doesn’t judge your offerings by the world’s talent criteria. He’ll never boo you off stage or unfollow you for not meeting some invisible standard.
He looks at your heart. He listens with the ears of someone who loves you. He receives your contribution as someone who delights in you.
I love the old King James Version of Psalm 100, which begins, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” Melody, no. Harmony, no. Symphony, no. Noise, yes! I can bring my joy and my noise to God, and He welcomes them with open arms.
The Bible is full of imagery not only of people worshipping God through singing and dancing but of God Himself singing over His people. Zephaniah 3:17 says,
For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Imagine it. You’re tucked in bed, blankets and pillows fluffed exactly how you like them. Right before you drift off to sleep, Jesus leans over you. He kisses your cheek and sings a song of joy over you. He reminds you how proud He is of you, how the way you showed up in your strength and in your weakness made all the difference. He traces the curve of your cheek and tells you how beautiful you are. In that moment, you know again that you are loved.
You are so loved, friend.
Let that love bubble up and overflow today in whatever expression brings you joy. Don’t worry about what others will think of it. God is already cheering you on.
Does it take courage for you to do something you’re not good at? Leave a comment sharing what you love to do. Let’s cheer each other on!
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