How interesting it is to sing out loud in front of my family when I used to avoid it.
My family actually doesn’t mind me singing or playing my instruments. They actually usually enjoy it when I do.
I, however, used to be much more shy about singing in front of my family even more than in front of strangers. I remember when I was about 13, I’d been attempting to sing almost every part to a Pentatonix cover alone in my room (because that is totally possible). My younger brother walked in, laughing a little and asking what I was doing (the music was only in my earbuds, so hearing a few muffled “oh oh ohs” and “woOOAoohhhs” from your sister’s room would sound funny). While he meant no mockery and only some curiosity, I explained but didn’t continue singing the rest of the afternoon, after he shut the door. I remember rarely singing unless home alone or at choir. As my music taste shifted later in high school (to some stuff that probably wasn’t best to listen to either), I somewhat stopped sharing my music taste with my family too.
I like sad and emotional songs, and I then feared some would find them too depressing or tell me not to listen to this or that. I often tried to justify the song when I did share a song I liked. I appreciated a band or singer’s artistry, but sometimes I ignored how much music shaped my attitude, priorities, and hopes.
I was fine singing in front of strangers or large audiences for choir concerts that my parents were tucked somewhere into, because I felt less vulnerable. If it was a mass group, I didn’t feel personally attached to the audience as much. No need to interact necessarily longer than an hour or two after a choir concert.
Funny how much has changed. I used to wait until I was home alone to play piano and sing as loud as I wanted with the doors open. I realize it wasn’t until I cleaned through my music taste a year or two back (after simultaneously confessing some sins that’d I’d not discussed before) that I began to open up about what I listened to and shifted in taste to music better for me. We started playing the Christian radio station in the car, (even though poppy Christian isn’t usually my taste); I got comfortable singing along in front of my family, in a way I hadn’t before outside of church worship and choir.
I felt comfortable enough to start sharing where I’d come from, and my family and friends have been gracious to me in that. Ironically, I now worry I overshare because I’ve hidden my ugly things in the past and don’t want to do it again. I want to make sure everything is out just in case I’ve held something back I shouldn’t. I want a clear conscience.
Likewise, I want to play my music more and more aloud. I don’t mind singing in front of friends, family, and…myself. I’m okay with my voice, and lately becoming less conscious of it, because I’m not imagining what this or that person would think of it. I’m singing in grace. I’m singing aloud because I need no shame. I know my voice isn’t fantastic, but it isn’t terrible, and even if it is, I love learning to sing songs and utilizing my vocal ability better. It’s an instrument as much as my guitar or piano or even my ukulele.
My voice, my sharing, is not useless, but there is a proper way to use it.
a mini Jess Ray cover I shared the other day
If I’m to share some things, I pray often for the right context. I wouldn’t sing my favorite dancing song aloud in the middle of a funeral, nor would I blast rap music on a speaker in the library. I would need the correct context for sharing the music I love, and I need to consider what is most edifying.
If I’m to share, I need to do it in grace. I need to recognize I haven’t found all the answers, and the point of sharing is to show that God is where those answers lie. I may enjoy singing and learning a song more when I am not expecting to sound exactly like the artist.
If I’m to share, I need to share with tact. When learning music theory–especially new harmonies–I need to understand how each part of the music fits together. I need to consider who I’m talking to, how they will process my words, and if called to speak into the context, speak wisely, with a wisdom I couldn’t make for myself. God provides the right words in the right time.
I’ve found myself desiring to make my voice or music taste perfect or its holiest. I find my worth sometimes in how much better or godly I can make myself. This isn’t good because I give myself the authority to make myself perfect.
I imagined those around me observing and listening. I hesitated singing in front of some because I see them as an audience. In reality, my fellow believers are part of the same choir. We do not sing for each other’s criticism but to praise God. What matters is what I’m saying and singing before God. Some situations call for addressing needed change in me and my fellow believers’ voices. But when I do address things or take others’ admonishments, I need to do it in love, not pride. I had to clean out my music because I knew it wasn’t worshipful. I have to check my tongue because I want to be worshipful.
We sing Him a love song when we worship. Likewise, our words, whether we talk to one another, share the deep places of our heart, or give any admonishment, are to be presented in grace and with tact.
We honor Him, we are aided in doing that very thing, and our repented failings are crafted into new things in His hands.
I don’t have to hide my noise anymore.
I don’t have to fear my noise anymore.
I don’t have to expect my noise to soften or shine in my own ability anymore.
I don’t have to make my voice lovable for humans alone anymore.
In fact, at times, because of what I am made into by a God that loves me, what I say will be initially offensive or awkward. But it is not in my hands to adjust and fix always. I’m simply called to extend love and peace I’ve been given. I’m made lovable by God for Him.
I am made lovable undeservedly.
- Psalm 42:7-8 (It expresses God singing to us too. In the middle of dark places He meets us and acknowledges our hurt. In the happy places, we’re reminded of His authority and commanding kind of love.)
- Zephaniah 3:9, 15-17 (Aside from these verses that came to mind, I realize the whole chapter really talks about redemption of our speech and behavior and God’s character of adoring, yet disciplining healthily. How fitting! Ha!)
- This video of a Palestinian ballerina dancing to a street violinist’s music (I adore how she enters very hesitantly into the dance, being encouraged by the cameraman. It’s not singing, but there’s a similar coaxing to worship in our lives I think we need. Not to mention, it’s beautiful.)
- Community: you and I neeeeds it. Call a sister or brother in Jesus and ask to meet for coffee, one that’s been on your mind or heart lately (unless you’re already planning to meet someone!) Pray for that meeting. Then go into it and watch for God speaking in the conversation. Worship in that conversation.
- Morgan Harper Nichols’ art and poetry (A friend and I discovered her poetry and did some digging to find out who this lady was. She lets you send in your story and if you are selected one day, she tries to create poetry and art that would encourage you in response. She then shares it [keeping you anonymous] on her social media so that her words of strength and grace can be passed on to others.)
- ♪ “Song For You” by Jenny and Tyler
This post kind of felt eh. But usually my words do. So I want to send this out before I go on to another busy week, and entrust the speech to the Lord. Some may see it. None may see it. I don’t know. I don’t want to be asking myself that every two weeks. I want to enjoy crafting my words with God.
Haff sum werds and a bit of my heart today, frens,