There's a First Time For Everything
As much as I enjoy stability and routine, and really thrive on being able to expect certain things in my day, there are times I actually love change and welcome anything that stirs up what can sometimes feel mundane and tedious. I had the privilege of traveling with a ministry for 4 years recently, and one of the things I loved about traveling so much was the constant change of scenery, people and location. It was very energizing for me to experience different places, meet new people and learn new things. I firmly believe doing new things helps us grow as individuals and we learn a lot about ourselves. I know, for many people, change doesn’t always come easily. We get so set in our routines and sometimes it’s really hard to teach ourselves to do something new, or to change the way we’ve always done it. We can tend to really settle in to our comfort zone, and a lot of times it just seems more suitable to stay where it’s comfortable, and avoid stepping out into the “great unknown”. First times can be hard, they can be scary, and they can be exciting and inspiring, but we never know which way it will go until we actually give ourselves an opportunity to have a “first time”.
This week brought a first for me that I wanted to write about because 1) it was a sizable accomplishment to me, and 2) I’m hoping by my sharing it, you may be encouraged to do something you’ve been wanting to do but for whatever reason you haven’t yet.
Most of you who know me personally or have followed my blog for any amount of time know that I lead worship. I sing. I’ve been singing since I was young, really young. I was 7 years old when I had my first solo in “big church” (adult service) when I sang a special for Mother’s Day. And I haven’t stopped since. I sang throughout kid’s church and started leading worship when I was 13 in my youth group. I love to sing. It has always come naturally for me, and I’ve always had an ear for harmonies so singing parts was never an issue for me. Soprano, alto, tenor, I was able to do all of them, so I would just flip back and forth to whatever part I was needed on. I don’t say that to boast, I say that to emphasize that singing is my comfort zone. I’m confident in it, I know what I’m capable of when it comes to it. My focus has always been on my voice. I do vocal exercises every day. I drink lots and lots and lots of water every day. I watch my caffeine intake, as I know it can cause dehydration. (not good for your vocals!) I work on my breathing techniques and expanding my range. Singing and worship have always gone hand in hand for me. I’ve never been interested in using my voice for anything else besides worship and leading others into His presence. So I’ve poured myself into learning how I can be all that God has called me to and how to steward the gifts He’s placed in me. So, singing and worship-that has been my focus.
Recently, the Lord has really been stirring in me to “not leave anything behind”. To not let anything lie dormant, but to bring everything, ALL OF IT, to the table and to allow Him to use everything He’s placed in me. Just because I’ve seen myself as a “singer/worship leader” all these years, doesn’t mean there’s not more. So I’ve been asking the Lord to show me the things that I’ve allowed to lie dormant; the things that I’ve not picked up and run with.
I’ve always had a desire to play the piano and even took lessons for a few months when I was 12. However, I didn’t continue because, remember, singing was easy for me and was what I loved so that was my focus. Over the years I would “play around” on the piano, but would never stick with it because I felt it wasn’t coming easily enough so I would just stick with singing and leading worship. It’s easier for me to play by ear and just pick out the chords than to sit and learn to read music so I was usually discouraged and just gave up. I always felt that my piano skills just weren’t good enough, so I never even gave myself a shot at it. But when the Lord says it’s time to expand your gifts and make use of all the things He has given you, you say “okay, it’s time.”
My “first” this week happened when I led worship for the weekly healing school service at my church, FROM THE KEYBOARD. It was just two songs, and my good friend played the acoustic guitar along with me, so I wasn’t all alone, but I did it. It wasn’t fancy, and it was a small group in attendance, but I did it. And I’m sure no one in that room at that moment even realized what a MAJOR deal that was for me, but I knew that not only had something new happened in the natural that day, but also something new had happened spiritually for me. I crossed a line. I stepped over into new territory. I told fear and insecurity that it no longer had a say in what I did or didn’t do. I obeyed the voice of the Lord that was urging me on, saying me I have what it takes to do what He’s asking of me.
I really think that it’s in those moments of small steps of obedience that we gain the most ground on our journey. The moments that most people don’t even know about, but they mark us forever. Is there something that the Lord has been telling you to do, or something that you have wanted to do, but you just haven’t taken the step yet? I think today is a great day for a “first”. You have what it takes, so go ahead. There’s a first time for everything!