Off-Key

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Letting go of control and perfectionism can happen in seemingly small ways that can provide an immense amount of freedom and healing. Letting go has come through healing and acceptance of what was and what is. Being able to connect to my past pain, heal, release it and see how I, in my pain hurt others, heal and release that too. I was recently able to experience one of these letting go victories that brought everything together. In the victory I was able to feel immense joy and pain and hand both to God to allow Him to intercede and use it.

Romans 8:26-28 NIV [26] In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. [27] And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. [28] And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I loved to sing when I was younger, I still do. I can hold a tune and maybe harmonize a little but this is not my gift. I used to sing in my church choir but I stopped because I couldn’t focus on worship when I sang on stage. I was too preoccupied with what people thought and how I sounded. I was overcome with anxiety to ‘get it right’. I could tell when I was off-key. I was insecure, comparing myself to unrealistic standards of professionals and often overwhelmed by not being able to control how I sounded, so I stepped away from it all together.

Recently, I got up on stage one early Sunday morning in front of an entire congregation. I thought my heart would beat out of my chest. My body shook. I took a deep breath, took my queue, opened my mouth, closed my eyes, and I pushed the notes out of my soul,

“You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail, And there I find You in the mystery, In oceans deep, My faith will stand.” –Oceans, Hill Song

I sang the prayer of my heart, the prayer I had pray-cried to God for over a year. I stood there, exposed. I no longer cared who was there. I didn’t care about hitting the notes. I just stood and worshiped before others, and they worshiped with me. I let them see me, my heart, and hear my prayer.

I didn’t hit all the right notes. I honestly do not know what I sounded like, but I know God interceded and moved beyond me. In that moment I was free. Like the lyrics say, I did step out, where I thought I was sure to fail, He met me where I was and took me the rest of the way. In this small moment I choose faith instead of fear.

He also used it in a different way. I remembered how much pain I once caused someone who sang vulnerably before me. Instead of gratitude I shared criticism. The same criticism I had for myself, the same criticism I received from my mother when I sang as a child, the source of my shame and pain. I now knew the true extent of the pain I must have caused. As I had reconnected with and mourned my own pain I mourned the pain of the other person. I had apologized long ago, but before this point I didn’t know the extent of pain I truly caused. I couldn’t have known because I had not been vulnerable in the same way before, until that moment on stage. Now I knew what it meant to expose my heart like some had before me.

Zephaniah 3:17 AMP [17] The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior Who saves! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest in silent satisfaction and in His love He will be silent and make no mention of past sins, or even recall them; He will exult over you with singing.

The power of God is the power to not only heal me but those I hurt. My mother’s criticism made me calloused. My heartbreak made me tender again. God used it all. This is the power of the cross. The resurrection of the life we are meant to live when we truly allow him to heal us from past and present pain, when I allow Him to cover me with grace for the pain I caused and use me to now bless and heal others. I continually die to who I was and he resurrects me a new creation. He uses something that is not a strength, like my singing, to His glory. He uses small everyday victories to reveal the work He has done in me, to die to control and perfectionism and to surrender to Him a little more each day.

Hebrews 6:17-18 NIV [17] Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. [18] God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. [19] We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, [20] where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

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