As far back as I can remember, I have sung. It was just a part of me that could not be suppressed. I loved to sing and I loved making my mom and dad smile when I did sing. Many memories come to mind at the church ball field where my brothers played little league. Dad would plop me up on a picnic table so I could sing to anyone who cared to listen. You would laugh to imagine a six-year-old with pigtails belting out Joy to the World. And I don’t mean the Christmas carol “Joy to the world, the Lord has come…” I’m referring to Three Dog Night, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog…” Joy to the World. I realize that this means nothing to any of you born after 1970, but trust me, it’s worth a google. As fearless and uninhibited as I was all those years ago, singing in front of people does not come as easily as you may think. You see, I have a history of worshipping the idol of fear and worry.
PARALYZED BY FEAR
As early as the age of 14, I had sung in church. It still continued to be a part of me that just flowed, and I felt early on that this was God’s purpose for my life. However, at the age of 19, and some years of leading worship in the church where I belonged and felt safe, one Sunday morning, I experienced a horrifying, heart-racing, mind-numbing panic attack for the first time in my life. I literally thought I was dying. What in the world was happening to me? I was leading a song at the time, and I couldn’t get off the platform fast enough. I was frightened beyond anything I’d ever experienced before. After that initial attack, they came more frequently and at the most inopportune times. There were two scenarios in which I experienced them the most: while driving and while singing. So, I did the only thing I could think of to stop that intense feeling of fear: I stopped driving and I stopped singing. I can imagine the evil one relishing in this small victory. Trust me, I prayed like never before, asking God to heal my mind, to give me peace, to make me courageous. However, even as I near the age of 52, this fear is something that can still encompass me. I’ve had various seasons when even meds were introduced to help manage this debilitating disorder. So, if this is you, do not feel ashamed or less than, but thank God for the resources He provides to help us when needed. He is faithful and good!
YOU MAKE ME BRAVE
How ironic that I would be asked to lead a song titled, You Make Me Brave. As soon as I saw this on the Order of Service cue sheet, my initial response was: “I can’t do this song! How can I lead a song about bravery when I am the biggest chicken I know?” I certainly did not want to come across as a hypocrite! I started praying, and I started sharing with loved ones about this ongoing struggle. What was spoken over my spirit by a handful of precious people were statements like: “in our weakness, He is strong” and “you are brave because you fight the fear everyday and that is a God thing.” Instead of focusing on ME and my inadequacies, I was reminded to focus on GOD! He is Incomparable, All-powerful, All Sufficient! His word says this:
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. - 2nd Corinthians 12:9
To be perfectly honest, I don’t have the spiritual maturity of Paul to proclaim, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses…” Now if it said, “I will whine, complain, hide in a corner away from the world because of my weakness...” that would be more like it. But I will indeed say that I want Christ’s power to rest on me! And I will proclaim triumphantly that He is faithful! I will boast gladly in Christ who gave me the courage and strength needed. If it were up to me alone, I could never sing that song. So, He carried me through!
LET HIM SHINE
If we are obedient in the midst of all of our shortcomings and fears, we have an opportunity to see firsthand how faithful God is in all His glory. We just need to let Him shine!
Similar to that six-year-old in pigtails, I love to sing and I love to make my Heavenly Daddy smile. So, as long as I have breath in my lungs, I will give all that I am, everything He has ultimately bestowed upon me, to worship and praise Him! Because of what He did on that cross, we can be bold and we can be brave!