It is early, and I have been up for a while already, laying in bed with thoughts of writing streaming thru my head. What would I write about this morning if I was to write? It’s amazing that while I know I have written some over the past years, when you finally are able to throw off the shackles of oppression and connect yourself back to your Creator – how the floodgates of heaven can open up on your creative side.
I was led to this thought in a very indirect way this week. At a service on Sunday, a young lady and I were talking in which she asked me if I was an athlete. I don’t remember what sparked this change in direction in our conversation…but I was completely caught off guard. Not because it wasn’t an appropriate question – but because I hadn’t really thought if I was an athlete or not…is that what I would consider myself? I mean I did swim competitively in high school, I’ve coached and completed a few sprint triathlons and 5k runs, I coach indoor cycling and love working out – but am I an athlete? I still have a hard time answering this question and am not sure why. Perhaps because I think of athletes like Michael Jordan, Barry Bonds, Tom Brady…people that play a sport for a living. Perhaps because an athlete to me has a certain connotation about the person it represents – a certain mental attitude that can rise above the pain and obstacles of training the human body. Or perhaps because, as I am sure many of us do, I have a hard time seeing in myself what others might see so easily.
Even now as I think about this question, I think no. I mean I can coach you to be an athlete, I can push you past that point of which you think you can go – and then push you more. But can I do this for myself? Not so likely…I need some one else to do that, be that coach for me. While I have much fortitude of mind, much “sticktuitiveness” (like that word?) ingrained in my spirit…I still need someone outside of myself to come along and coach me to be that athlete they can see in me, to inspire me to be more than I think possible of myself.
Furthermore, while I have always seen myself as having an excessive amount of creativitiness (fyi – I like to create words) and imagination – I have never seen myself as an artist. Not just a painting type of artist, but one of those people gifted to create beauty out of my life to help inspire other people. Yet, as I have come out of the oppression I have lived under and found myself again…I feel this stirring in my soul, deep in my spirit to be artistic in ways I never knew I had. I.E. – I went out in June and bought a whole bunch of acrylic paint and started painting, teaching myself out of a book how to get the most out of my color and shadows, etc. I have literally been amazed at what has come out of my hand…thinking it is almost an out-of-body experience because I have never been able to draw or paint in my life before. (I have also bought a book on how to draw and am finding with some basics, I can kind of make things look slightly better than a childish drawing that I always saw come out of my hand before.)
What is more is I have this utterly odd desire to go pick up a guitar. What? I have never played anything more than chopsticks and Joy to the World on a piano before this – and never thought that I could do more than this. But now, now I feel that with God anything is possible.
Even more than this, even more exciting than this is I am finding my singing voice again. (Stick with me here, I am close to making my driving home point!) For years, I was putting doubts in my head that I really wasn’t good at this art. I was frustrated and sad because I have always loved to sing. I was in choir for most of my young life…in the ensemble groups off and on in addition. And lastly, singing was my one connection that I felt I had to my late mother. She had a voice of an angel when she sang – so pure and true and one that I always prayed and aspired to have. To be able to stand up and lead others to worship the one and true mighty God, to be able to bring tears to the eyes of those listening. This was my mother, and while I knew my voice wasn’t as beautiful as hers in any stretch of imagination – when I sang I always felt a little closer to her.
However, with these comments lodged in my brain, I became even more self-conscious of my voice than I was before. At church is when I would sing most often, and if I sang off-tune for even a second I would catch it. I tried so hard not to care because I was singing to the Lord, but inside I was dying. Had I just lied to myself all these years thinking something was true that wasn’t. Was I really like those people on American Idol that just think they are all that to have the judges rip into them?
Well, a few months ago I decided to put these doubts to the test and ask some trusted friends who I knew would tell me the truth. And did you know what they said? Yes! They said yes that I could sing and immediately asked if I was joining the choir!!! Not only did they think I could carry a tune, but I was good enough to be part of a choir?
Since then, as I mentioned I have felt my voice coming back – hitting more notes than not, finding it easier to find the right tune or just sing my own harmony that is in my range. I feel myself singing louder and unabashedly for the pure thrill and enjoyment of it – for my King – and I feel myself reforming my sweet connection with the mother that I am part of, even this small part of her.
Here is my point: sometimes we need those people outside of ourselves to speak into our lives, to share with us what they see in us. To tell us that we are creative, an athlete, a beautiful soul inside and out, a great sister in Christ, a great friend to those in need, a great mother/father/wife/husband, a great daughter/son of the Almighty living God…and we shouldn’t shun them or their words as being too generous or untrue. But receive their words as the blessing and love that they are. For while God can show us time and again our talents – our ability to be self-deceptive and hard on ourselves is enormous. And therefore He uses you, me – to help each other see what we are too blind to see in ourselves.
So here are to my sisters and brothers in Christ – and even those yet to be in Christ – who see things in me that I don’t see! That share with me that I am an athlete, an artist – and even a beautiful person in Christ. I thank you so much for sparking my spirit and stirring my soul with your kind words. I have never been good at receiving love from anyone since my mother passed, but I have committed to God that I will try my best to let the body of Christ fill me up with His love. I just want to say a great big Thank YOU!
“Savior, he can move the mountains! He is mighty to save, mighty to save. Forever, author of salvation. He rose and conquered the grave, conquered the grave!”
Thank you Jesus!