Perfectionism . . .
nearly snuffed the life from me.
This time it will not.
I had sought God’s heart, and He undoubtedly had given me a mission.
The mission was to do my part – to bring comfort to Thelda’s loved ones, and to glorify God.
My part . . . my very best even if imperfect
I had no idea, really, why Brian asked me to sing for our dear friend’s memorial service. It was so out of the ordinary for anyone to ask me to sing a solo that I thought they were having a hard time finding someone musical . . . maybe they were scraping the bottom of the barrel.
I was puzzled.
Thelda, and Brian, certainly heard me sing in a mix of voices among the church pews. But they never heard me sing a solo. I sang those long ago, when I took voice lessons, and then only a few times.
However, because of my love and respect for Thelda, and her family, and my desire to honor God, I agreed to sing.
This was new for me.
Like a tongue sticks to an icicle, I stuck my God given gifts and talents inside my pocket where they lay frozen and useless. Useless as pocket lint.
Frozen with pride: a desire to protect my dignity.
Pride that my offerings weren’t as beautiful, significant, or worthwhile as someone else‘s.Pride that I would look foolish or stupid. It was all about me with a capital M. For years I didn’t realize how self absorbed I was by hiding my gifts.
Until one day God subtly spoke to my heart to empty my talents from my pockets and “Fan into flame the gift” He has given.
The hour arrived. Brian eagerly greeted my husband and me at the church doors. Glancing toward the front of the sanctuary, I asked him where I should stand to sing. “Well,” he said, “You’ll need to go up the left side steps because the cello is blocking the right side.” A cello? Quickly realizing, not only was I NOT the only musical person they could find, but they found LOTS of musical people. He informed me there would also be three or four Korean girls singing, and another soloist. I began feeling a bit queezy about my part in Thelda’s service . . . how would I measure up?
These thoughts lasted only a nanosecond. I was spiritually prepared.
As my husband and I were comfortably settled in the pew we watched the two well-built black ladies enter the front side doors. Thinking one of them was the other soloist, my well-meaning husband warned me in an unwelcomed whisper, “You’re no competition for either of ’em. Your body just isn’t built to produce the kind of volume they can produce.”
Primed and ready for the hour at hand nothing was going to interfere with my focus. My husband’s words – simply rrrrrrrrolled off my back.
It turns out these two ladies, like the many others gathered that day, were merely singing from the pews. But, a tall slender beautiful black lady, who came to the front from the far-back corner of the church, was the one who sang. Not from the podium as I was about to do. No. She elegantly stepped forward and stood level on the floor between the left and right sides of the pews. As she passionately sang a capella, There is a Balm in Gilead, her melodious voice cradled the hushed gathering of loved ones.
Her music was exquisite. Her heart was tender.
And my heart?
How was my heart?
No comparisons . . . no competitions
No toxic thoughts were oozing in . . .
I was free.
Free and focused on God’s call for me.
When my turn came to sing, I stepped up confidently and joyfully giving what God called me to give.
Was my singing perfect?
Even though I had diligently practiced and thoroughly memorized the entire song, as I was singing the middle verse, I forgot and mixed-up a lot of words. I didn’t hesitate singing, however, I just kept on going, and making up the words as I went. Like any imperfect, but willing, soloist.
After the service ended, one gentleman confided in my husband it was the first time that song actually made sense to him.
A middle-aged lady extended me a heartfelt greeting at the doorway and chimed, “Your singing was such a gift to our family. Thank you.”
And with tears in his eyes, Thelda’s son, Ken, after catching up to us thanked us for coming and said, “Mom planned her entire service. And she said, ‘If Rob and Joy are around I want Joy to sing.‘ ”
No comparisons . . . no competitions.
I was motivated to share my gift for two reasons.
To bring comfort to Thelda’s loved ones.
And to bring glory God.