Fear Factor

I love to sing.  For as long as I could remember, I’ve sung.  I was raised in church, so I sang at youth meetings all the time.  I did the cliché thing in my room and sang in the hairspray bottle, in front of my mirror, while wearing a skirt on my head (because I had a short bob, I needed long hair to flip around and tuck behind my ears).  (Sidenote: These skirts ranged from a maroon one to a blue rainbow-colored one.  I have black hair, by the by.  That’s not awkward).

Although I sang growing up in church, it wasn’t until the late 90s, when I sang for my first city-wide talent show, that I started to realize that I might be kind of good.  You know, up until then, you can sound like cats dying and your parents will tell you you’re good.  But now, the public was about to hear me…and until they hear you and respond, then it’s not official, right?  I continued to sing on worship teams and as I got older I was given great opportunities to lead worship for youth rallies held once a month in the city.   That’s when I realized that my heart was drawn to leading worship.  I didn’t want to be a solo artist and sell mainstream music.  I just wanted to lead worship.   I sang at weddings, but nothing brought more joy than worship.

In 2004, I had an even more amazing opportunity to lead worship in Mexico on a mission trip. We thought we could sing English songs and throw in some Spanish ones here and there just for kicks.  When we arrived,we realized that it wouldn’t work.  So for 7 days we sang the same 4-5 English-to-Spanish songs over and over again. It was the most amazing, thrilling time of my life.  I still remember the adrenaline I felt on stage and seeing those people worship and coming to the realization that I could do this for the REST of my life.

We came back and I fell into a horrible funk.  My sister and I left our parent’s church to attend an independent church that was still growing.  I couldn’t find my place there and after 3 years, we left.  We went to a more established church that was on its way to becoming a mega church.   I remember our first day there, hearing the worship leader sing, and think there is NO way I would try out.  She was amazing.  I was NOT that good.   It didn’t help that the last time I had sung was 2004 — 5 years.  I felt rusty and lost most of my confidence, if not all.   After attending the church for 1 year, I finally mustered up the courage to try out.   I sang 2 songs in front of 3 people, one being the aforementioned worship leader.   I made the team.

For almost 2 years I had the privilege of being under the tutelage of a great worship team.  I finally learned how to listen for and sing harmony, something I never thought I would do.  But I was getting more frustrated because that’s all I was doing.   On top of my frustration with not being able to have an outlet to lead on my own, my life at work was crumbling, too.   So I took a hiatus from the worship team to focus on work.   After I resigned my position at work, I entertained the idea of going back on the team.   I’m not scared to admit that I may have made a bad choice, but I decided to make the hiatus permanent.  I didn’t feel that I fit the image or the sound they needed or wanted for the team and wasn’t going in the same direction as they were.  That’s okay, too.

So here I am.  I haven’t sang in almost 8 years.  I watch others willingly and confidently post videos of themselves singing and I wonder how or where they get that confidence from?  Aren’t they worried about what people will comment?  Aren’t they worried that no one will like their songs?   But, somehow, they aren’t.  And it irritated me!  Wow, they’re a little OVER-confident and they’re just trying to Justin Bieber their way around.   How shameless.

The truth of the matter is they are doing what I WISH I had the balls to do.  I wish I had the balls to share myself singing.  I wish I wasn’t so self-critical of myself.  That every time that I record myself and hear it back, I automatically think, “I’m so nasal. I sound horrible.  Why do I sound like I have a stuffy nose?!?  No one is going to listen to this. WTF am I thinking?!” and quickly delete it.

I’m tired of living in fear.  Fear of what I think and fear of what others think.  If I’m not good, then I’ll forever be sitting in my kitchen recording myself singing and posting it for some poor schmuck to be nice and say “Aww, that was good!” or never to hear any comments at all.  I’ll take constructive criticism.  I’ll ignore the rude ones.

If I am good, then I’ll sit in my kitchen recording myself singing and posting it for some schmuck to be nice and say “Aww, that was good!” or never to hear any comments at all……..until God says otherwise.

So……here it goes.

I recorded this song an hour ago. It was the song I tried out for the worship team with.  It’s a song I heard from Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation 1 Nation Crew album called “In His Grace”.

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