Sunday, September 2, 2012

Be Careful What You Pray For

Today I messed up.

It was nothing too earth-shattering.  I was in the middle of a solo in front of the church, and during the last verse of the song, my voice suddenly cracked.

It's a moment I dread as a singer.  There's nothing more frustrating than having your "instrument" give out on you right in the middle of your performance. :}  But what can you do?  I gave a little smile, patted my throat humorously, and continued singing...and thankfully got through the rest of the song without any further incidents.

It's funny.  In my younger years, a scenario like that would have been completely humiliating.  Today, I just had to chuckle inwardly.  You see, before I went up to sing, I prayed, as I usually do (it's a great way to calm those nerves!).  In my prayer today, though, I asked the Lord to make the performance about Him, and not about me.

I think the Lord has a sense of humor...and perhaps He wanted to see if I meant what I had prayed.  And I must confess, after what happened, I really had to examine my heart.  Had I really meant it?

Think about it...was one little mistake enough to negate the message of the song?  No.  In fact, I had more people than usual thank me for the music this morning.  Apparently the only person affected by it was me.  And that's just pride, plain and simple.

I find that it's easy to get puffed up when I sing well.  I say it's all about the Lord, and I do honestly desire to serve Him with my music.  But deep down, I love getting the complements and affirmation that come from a job well-done.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it shouldn't be my focus.

A morning like this one brings me back to what it's really all about, and that's my Savior.  When people from the congregation came up and thanked me today, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the message of the song was what had blessed them, not my "magnificent" singing. ;)

The other thing that helped was that the words of the hymn I chose were so challenging and uplifting. I couldn't be upset when singing those words.  I'd like to share them with you now:

"Something For Thee"
written by Sylvanus D. Phelps
verses 1, 3, and 4

1. Savior, Thy dying love
Thou gavest me,
Nor should I aught withhold,
Dear Lord, from Thee:

In love my soul would bow
My heart fulfill its vow,
Some off'ring bring Thee now,
Something for Thee.

3. Give me a faithful heart,
Likeness to Thee,
That each departing day
Henceforth may see

Some work of love begun,
Some deed of kindness done,
Some wand'rer sought and won,
Something for Thee.

4. All that I am and have,
Thy gifts so free-
In joy, in grief, thru life,
Dear Lord, for Thee!

And when Thy face I see,
My ransomed soul shall be,
Thru all eternity,
Something for thee.

I also sang the first verse of "My Jesus, I Love Thee".  Not only was it in the same key and tempo, but the message went right along with what "Something for Thee" was saying.

"My Jesus, I Love Thee"
written by William R. Featherston
verse 1

My Jesus, I love Thee,
I know Thou art mine-
For Thee all the follies
of sin I resign,

My gracious Redeemer,
My Savior art Thou:
If ever I loved Thee,
My Jesus, 'tis now.

This is why I sing.  Not for man's praise (although that's pretty nice, too), ;) not to feel good about myself, but to glorify the One who has given me everything.  Because of all He has done, my response should be to offer my time, my talents, and my life to Him.  My desire should be to bring glory to His name.  And if having my voice crack in the middle of a performance is the best way to do that, then who am I to argue? ;)


Lauren said...

I loved this post! I have to remind myself that the reason I make music is for God's glory so often. Also, I love the hymn My Jesus I Love Thee:) It is my grandmother's favorite hymn, so I am planning to write a piano arrangement of it one of these days and dedicate it to her:)

Kellie said...

'My Jesus, I love Thee' is such a favorite of mine! I've never heard of 'Something For Thee' before now, but I'm so glad you shared it!

And your message was just what I needed today. Whenever I play piano or accordion in front of an audience, I have a similar prayer, which not only helps stage fright as nothing else could, but often opens the door for would-be humiliations to become humorous... :smile:

Thanks again for sharing. I'm sure your music today was beautiful, and I wish I could have heard it!

Kristina said...

Wonderful message, thank you for the reminder!

Anonymous said...

I am glad that God was able to speak through you and to you with this. It is a wondrous thing when God does something as simple as that to remind us about our focus in life.

I have to email you a story of what God did for me yesterday, it is long to put on here.


Jen said...

Thank you for sharing a little bit of your faith with the world in your blog. It's something I've been thinking about how to do recently. The hymns are beautiful, and I'm sure your singing was, too!

beastsbelle said...

Thank you so much for the lovely comments, everyone. I'm glad my little teachable moment from God was able to bless all of you as well. :}

Lauren, a piano arrangement of "My Jesus, I Love Thee" would be beautiful! I would LOVE to have the ability to do a piano arrangement. I hope you go for it! :)

Kellie, it was great to hear from you. I don't often comment on your blog, but I'm a regular lurker and always enjoy your wonderful photography and the tidbits that you share from your life. :) I'm glad this post was able to encourage you. :)

You're welcome, Kristina! :)

TracAn, I'll have to head over and check my email right now. I can't wait to hear what God's been doing in your life. :)

Hi Jen, thanks for the comment. :) I struggled for a while with ways to share my faith on this blog, since it was primarily about dolls. What I've found is that interspersing posts about my beliefs and opinions every once in a while on the blog without beating people over the head with it has been the most effective. ;) Since this is a doll blog, I want dolls and reviews to be its main focus. I don't want to frustrate people with constant "off-topic" posts when they come here for information. ;) But I also want the freedom to share things the Lord has been teaching me with my readers. So far, I think I've been able to keep a good balance. Hope this helps you as you consider finding ways to do the same on your blog. :)

Soda Cracker said...

I just found your blog today while looking at the doll stuff. I appreciate so much your section on spirituality, and your opening comment is gentle and kind - not combative. I read the story of your solo and 'humility' lesson with such a sense of familiarity. I used to sing and had done for all of my life. It was such a part of who I am, and was truly a major part of my relationship with my Lord. My praise, my sorrows, my struggles all were voiced within me through music, both audible and silent. But 3 yrs ago at age 52 I lost my ability to sing. I don't know the reason, the Dr.s haven't found anything. I went through such a period of grieving, as if I had lost a huge part of my personality. But the Lord has been helping me to heal and cope, and I know that one day I will be able to commune with Him in song. It has really brought home to me the sense that I tried to always sing for His glory, so I can trust Him even in its loss. May the Lord bless you in the ministry of your life. It is good to hear His voice through your words.

beastsbelle said...

Sondra, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. One of the joys I've had while writing this blog is sharing some of my own experiences in my spiritual life. I've tried very hard to keep it light and encouraging, as this is primarily a blog about dolls and not a spiritual platform. I'm glad that goal was translated correctly in this post. :)

My heart goes out to you in your own vocal situation. Like you, my music is a huge part of who I am. I've often thought of how terrible it would be to lose the ability to sing. I can only imagine what you are going through. However, I'm so encouraged and challenged by your attitude and your trust in our good God. :) If He ever chooses to allow me to go through something similar, I hope and pray that I will be able to face it with as much grace and dignity as you have.

The Lord bless you and keep you. :)