this may come as a shock to some people, but i use to be a singer.
as a kid, i loved music. i would sing “love will keep us together” by captain and tennille everywhere i went, much to the annoyance of those around me.
when it came time for musicals at church, i was anxious to audition. while i’ve always been an introvert, there’s something that excited me about being on the stage acting and singing. there was an affirmation that i received that i just didn’t get anywhere else.
everywhere else, i blended in. but for those few times i was on stage singing, or acting, i felt like somebody.
now i understand that as a follower of Christ, that is not the purest of motives. i should want to glorify God. i should want to lead others to Christ. but as a kid, i just wanted to be somebody.
and so when i got on stage and sang a song, and then people came up and told me it affected them in a positive way, that meant something to me.
and as an adult, i looked back on all of that and thought how misplaced my heart was. how impure my motives were. how selfish i was.
but i’m not so sure it was all bad.
in fact, those moments gave me a place, a community, where people believed in me. not just for who i was, but who i could become.
i’m sure if i listened to my voice today, i would be the first person to hit the buzzer and boot me off the stage.
but i was surrounded by a small community of people who wanted to give me the opportunity to be a part of the church, not just sit on the pew and wait until the day when i would be someone. they realized i was someone then.
it really kind of blows my mind. in our polished, critical culture nowadays, we would never let anyone but the best of the best on stage. in fact, we laugh at people on YouTube who perform poorly on a church stage.
i even remember one incident that still blows my mind. we used to arrive to church early so that my dad could serve as the church treasurer, and i would play around on the piano, trying to figure out the notes on the song. one sunday night, the pastor’s wife, hannah, who was the regular piano player, insisted that i play the piano for the evening service. i had no clue what i was doing. i knew how to read music, but that was about it. i didn’t understand anything about chords. i was horrible. but i never remember anyone telling me i was horrible, and i was completely fine with not being asked to do it again.
now that doesn’t mean every kid should be given a microphone. in fact, sometimes worship happens when you’re praying passionately to God for the singer to get to the end. but singing was how i was wired, that was where i searched to fit into the church body.
i was fortunate to be in a community that saw things in me than i didn’t see. the church wasn’t perfect. at times it was wonderful, other times messy. and there was a season when i knew it was time for me to leave. but i’m incredibly grateful to those who endured the missed notes and petrified stage presence so that i could stumble around and realize that maybe God could use someone like me.
and that He still is.
thank you, Austin Avenue and Crossroads Church of God.
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