I have nothing against myself. And I don't think I'm being harsh.
I can't sing worth a flip.
Years back someone came up to me and told me that I sing alright, but that I just don't have a very pleasant voice. Later on, out of curiosity I recorded myself just to hear what others hear (since the voice in MY head is not the voice you get to hear). Sure enough, my voice sounds like a third graders voice. Not in the sense that it sounded young and innocent and sweet, but in the sense that it sounded as though it had not yet formed into a real voice yet and was still a work in progress.
I have nothing against myself though. I play the piano, no matter how well I play I know that I've been called into it and give it my focus. Singing, especially once I discovered the woman was right, just hasn't been high on my list of things to do (publicly at least, privately is an entirely different matter).
I sing for myself, and I sing for God because nothing can hurt Him. :)
My neighbors dogs start barking and howling at three things: the train, the ambulance, and my singing. I'm not kidding either. I'm loud and heartfelt and it goes through my walls, my windows, and into my yard where the dogs begin howling. At some point I wondered briefly if it was Gods way of reminding me that even rocks could cry out and praise Him. But, I digress.
For the last three services at my church, I've ended up being asked to sing for my poor (though thankfully somewhat hearing impaired) congregation. I had a choice to make during each and every service. No one ever stomped up to me and said SING NOW. I was asked. Most importantly, I was asked by a leader (I'll get to that part later) and so I could choose to either say "yes" or allow my own opinions of my singing -ok we can call it pride - to get in the way and say "no".
I said yes. I might not have said yes a year ago, but a couple of months back I had a conversation with a woman that truly impacted me. She is the woman I don't want to be like. Oh she has good qualities I wouldn't mind having (the word genteel fits her quite nicely) but I learned something from her weaknesses.
This woman told me several times how much she would love to teach, but she was afraid she would be too nervous to actually teach. The few times she opened her mouth during Sunday morning classes, she always had something stimulating to say. She made me think about scriptures in ways I didn't initially think of a scripture. She told me she felt teaching was something God had called her to do.
Shortly after she had mentioned to me privately about how much she would enjoy teaching, our pastor happened to ask her publicly if she might like to teach the next Wednesday night.
So the woman quit the church.
When I went to talk to her later all she could say was that there was work to be done at our church (we were needing Sunday School teachers, and children church workers at the time) and she just was too scared to step into any of the roles. And she was being asked.
Even now, months later I wonder about her. I know enough about hiding away because of fear, and stepping away from what God wants of you because of self-doubt. I know enough to know that it isn't a pleasant life.
From that point, rank and order in my mind was formed. God has placed those above me, specific people to be above me. Leaders lead because they're in front of you. They know what's ahead. Math teachers tell their students to buy protractors and compasses and bring them to school. Not because they know how to use them, but because they don't know how to use them. You're going to learn something. You might not be comfortable using your compass. Maybe you don't have a clue even what it's good for. Maybe you're baffled at the idea that multiplication and division has turned into triangles, circles and letters.
It doesn't matter.
You buy the compass anyway because the teacher said to.
I'm not saying to give leaders ultimate authority over you. That could lead you into trouble since every leader/preacher/teacher isn't necessarily always doing the right thing. But that's a different subject. What I'm talking about is submission. Trusting that your leader isn't just asking you to do things willy nilly, but by direction from God. And sometimes it doesn't matter if you're afraid; if you don't think you can teach very well, sing on key, play the right notes, or say the right things.
What does matter is that God needs to be in charge.
And that means, to a great extent (but of course there are obvious exceptions) your church leaders, teachers, directors, and pastors are all operating under a direction of God and maneuvering the people of the church around like chess pieces. Unfortunately this is one arena where if you ask a chess piece to move, he may very well say no.
I've said it a couple of times already this week to others, but I'll tell it to you too. It's an old saying that you may have heard before. "God won't lead you TO something, that He won't lead you THROUGH." If God lays on your heart a passion and a desire to teach like He did with my friend.... sure you may be nervous but God will lead you through. It may very well be that the first words out of your mouth (spoken in self-giving obedience) will calm your nerves and the anointing will begin to just flow.
Trust me, if God can use MY singing... He can use just about anything.
Though I have to confess something... I love to sing. I just thought a merciful God would never make anyone listen to it. :)
Let GO and let GOD.