Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bringing More Than a Song (Part 1)

When I was little, like younger than five, and realized I loved to sing, I would sing Kumbaya all throughout the house, especially in the bath tub when I could be by myself and sing as loudly or as terribly as I wanted. Then this whole memory of singing kind of disappears, almost like it didn't exist. The next time I remember singing is when my parents bought me vocal lessons as a Christmas present when I was eleven. I think about this often, as to how they knew, or how they remembered when I didn't, that singing was my passion. 
The idea of singing in church always appealed to me, even when church did not. I liked the way people got so into it, and the power behind the words. So after I came to know Jesus, the idea of singing in church became more of a desire, and the possibility of it being my calling became such an exciting expectation for my life. I wanted to be on that stage, and that was my problem: I wanted to be on a stage.

My best friend is one of my favorite musicians in the entire world. It's a big world, but she still is. I remove any biases I might have, because she is genuinely talented and gifted beyond any words I could speak or type. When I met her, and found out we shared this love for creating and writing songs, I felt so blessed. And then we were given this opportunity to lead worship and be on a stage... then one day, we weren't. As she continued to progress, I had to take a step down to really reflect on what I was making worship. I was making it something that I shined through, and not my Savior. I was singing words that I had memorized and not words that had any power behind them at all, because every word, memorized or not, was empty. 

I became so jealous of my best friend because she was getting all of this attention for being so brilliant and anointed. I would have people tell me to step up, and that I didn't have to be in the background. My sister would encourage me and say, "You both love this. Why do you have to be jealous when you can do it too." She was right. I used to ask God, angrily, why He gave me a best friend with the same desires I had, because it only meant we'd walk in each others shadows. I think He finally gave me an answer with a text message my best friend sent me a couple of weeks ago. "... we should be complimenting each other and bring out the best in each other, not one overshadow[ing] the other. And I feel like we've always been in that position." We were, because we both made it that way. At least I know I did.

About eight months ago, we started this transition for the worship team at church, and awesomely enough both of us got to share in this change and be a part of this team. She started leading out more and I asked God from the beginning to just let me be there, whether my voice was even being heard by the congregation. And I don't say that to make myself sound better than I am, because I had to ask God that every Sunday and every practice when I felt I wasn't being taken seriously. But when you ask, and diligently pursue a Christ-like mindset, it's going to happen. I still couldn't shake this longing for leading a song, though, and then I realized there is nothing wrong with wanting to lead out; to assist in opening a door for someone. That is what I wanted, but I wanted it to be on God's time; I wanted to make sure God was in it. Then when it finally happened, I felt like I was flooded with all of these compliments that I loved, but I knew they could be my breaking point, because, after all, I am human. 

I want to obsess over how a song will sound. I want for people to love it. I want all the songs to be in a key that won't make me feel light headed. But most of all, I want all my wants to become faded as His become my real goal. The past month, I've really observed practices and services. How silly worship teams must look to some people who have never heard or known the love of Jesus. It probably looks like a little concert that almost seems uncomfortable, because you might have people crying or kneeling at the alter. You have people raising their hands, jumping, dancing, singing along, all while closing their eyes. And all the songs seem to have the name of Jesus in them. Oh, I can only imagine. Another thought, though, is how ridiculous it must be for people who have heard and know the love of Christ to just make worship about them, or make it only a surface proclamation. My wheels are continuously turning. What we make worship is scary sometimes, because we completely miss the point. Worship is to praise and thank God for who He is and what He has done. The focus is not what we can do, or who we are, because we are nothing without Him. The point of worship is to take a step further with God and realize that we belong in His presence.

"Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding." Matthew 6:1 (Message)

I'd rather have my voice crack an entire song than never acknowledge God's presence. I don't ever want a song to sound good if He is not pleased. I sing for Him. This world is not my stage, it's a place where my maker can allow me to use this gift in any which way He wants me to. I will be humbled every time I sing, because I know without Him, I'd have no reason to.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Words To Start Off

I have to capture some part of this momentous day: the FIRST day of the year 2012. I don't think I expected for something (the world) to explode as the clock struck midnight, but I don't think I've ever been as sentimental for a new year as I was then; something was different. As I reflected 2011 just like everyone else was doing, I came to the conclusion that I have never been more thankful for a year. It was the biggest, most powerful, stretching year of my life so far. Not that I have a lot of experience under my belt in my twenty short years, but I do believe I'm old enough to conclude that I needed 2011 to make me who I'm supposed to be. And that may be an obvious statement, but I digress.

Last year on this day, I sat at home and watched movies and ate take out with my very best friend. I told her that 2011 was the year I was going on a missions trip, and I did. It was the year I realized why Gianna was my best friend and why she always will be. It was the year my parents accepted that I am not living this life for them or for myself. It was the year I fell in love with Jesus Christ. Really, head-over-heels-all-I-want-is-Him-love. I had so many accomplishments and struggles in the past year that as the ball dropped on the television set, and my friends were sipping their cider and pulling the string out of the bottle poppers, I tried to gather all of my thoughts. I was so incredibly happy to lay down all struggles and burdens, but just because the year ended, doesn't mean all of those obstacles could be put to rest. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for the "New Years" spirit of starting over, but I don't want my slate to be wiped clean. Not just yet anyway. I want whatever I learned or took from 2011 to make 2012 that much greater. 

Now, as I began to try and carry out this thought of not putting everything entirely to rest, I had to focus on the word "surrender". And to put it simply, I surrender every piece of junk I shouldn't hold onto from the previous year, but I will cling to everything God has given/thrown/challenged me with so that I never forget what He has done to make me who He needs me to be. 

As I cleaned the kitchen tonight, I started to sing and eventually become engulfed in the spirit of God. And I know it's not just me, but in those moments, where the Holy Spirit is that evident, I have to take a step back and seek God through any upcoming days, weeks, months, etc. So, here I am back to talking about it being the first day of a new year. I asked God to, of course, take a hold of this year for every aspect of this life, and I asked Him what I needed to do. I will wait for the clarity of whatever answer I may get, but for now I'm okay with a glimpse.

This year, I will not overuse the term "resolutions", because instead, I will focus on everything I am excited for.

  • I'm excited for every adventure God will place me in.
  • I'm looking forward to the major transitions happening at Bethel Modesto, and also that I get to be there for it all. 
  • I'm excited for the music that will be written by all the musically talented people I know. This is the year for passionate, wonderful, amazing music. 
  • I'm excited to see my best friend move forward, but also actually see her again in person. (Until then, Skype will have to do... :)
  • I'm excited to get closer with my family, and let them know just how entirely blessed I am to have all of them.
  • I'm excited to live in simplicity and humility. 
  • I'm excited because I get to take a picture that captures a moment of my life every day for the next year! 
  • I'm looking forward to writing anything and everything.
  • I'm way excited to start books to finish them.
"All to You, I surrender; everything, every part of me. All to You, I surrender; all of my dreams, all of me. No turning back, I've made up my mind; I'm giving all of my life this time. Your love makes it worth it all." -Kim Walker

And this is my exit; I'll leave it at those lyrics that have started my New Years off to a thought-provoking, lovely start. I'm also excited to every day start a new, joyous morning with my Lord by giving Him my day from the start, but in the same breath, I will praise and thank Him for everything He has brought me through.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This is My Tunnel

What is this blog? Is this my electronic journal? I have hopes of it being my tunnel. Yes, tunnel. I often imagine tunnels leading to make-believe lands, or at least forgotten ones. Anyway, they always lead somewhere, and I want my entries or posts or whatever they're really called to lead somewhere for someone. I tried to rehearse what I was going to write, but truth be told, I end up sounding like I'm trying too hard. So furthering my explanation of "tunnel" is that I need to be led somewhere. Badly.

So, here is my start in blog world.I hope my existence here isn't short-lived, and I also hope this tunnel contains more than surface subjects. I'll try my hardest to keep ya'll interested while I do the same for myself.

I've decided to include a (short) list of goals for myself as sort of my introduction. Since this is my blog, it should grow with me, should it not? It also might just keep me on track... :)

I need to learn to love a whole lot more. I am way too quick to get irritated. I want to love the way God loves me; I want to be real.

I would like to reiterate the term "living hope" in my day to day life, because, after all, hope is coming for me and for all of us.

Finally, take more pictures like this in my life. Ones where I don't have the slightest care of how I look, I only care about the moment. Deep, I know, but I want to make more memories about laughter than outfits and make-up... despite my love for both.

Like I said, a short list to get me going. I'm not sure how often   I'll post, but expect something different every time.