Write a song…Pastor K.
Three simple words have kept me up at night. “Write a song…” These words, spoken in my general direction, by my Pastor and friend, have had a profound affect on my month. In truth, the words were not preceded with “Amanda, would you…”, but the way he looked at me when he said it stirred something in my heart.
My friendly pastor is quite a character. He’s not what you picture when you think of clergy. With a wiry, speckled beard down his chest that he once let a teen dye bright red, and suspenders that would make your grandpa proud, he doesn’t quite fit the status quo. I’m convinced he wouldn’t have it any other way. He can be rough around the edges, but the man loves Jesus with all he has. That, in and of itself, is an inspiration.
Ever since I started singing with our little praise team, I’ve been a bundle of nerves. I legitimately doubt my own talent and refuse to believe otherwise (hello, self-loathing, please go away). I analytically know I have value in God’s eyes, but I regularly question why I am where I am and every opportunity surprises me.
About a year ago, I picked up playing the piano, and after several months, I was gifted with a beautiful and cherished guitar to call my own. Ever the overachiever, I’m driven to master these instruments… However, I don’t actually believe mastery is a viable outcome. I have too much respect for music and musicians to believe full mastery is possible. For an artist, better is great, lovely is desired, but is anything ever really completed?
So I practice and I allow myself to be consumed. My playing, when I’m alone, challenges what I believe about music and about myself. I can get lost in the sound and the process. I once played a simple 5 chord progression for my husband, and asked “Did you hear it?” He looked at me with squinty eyes, and a tilt of his head and said slowly, “Yes?” What he didn’t say, but what I clearly saw on his face: Well, of course I did; you just played it. But I wasn’t talking about the 5 chords. I wasn’t talking about the actual sounds of those notes. There was something unsaid behind it all. There were other notes. There was a melody. I couldn’t hear the words yet, but I could feel what they were saying.
I struggle with insecurity. It’s simply a truth, and I know I’m not alone. I have read the Bible stories, I’ve listened to sermons, and I’ve prayed. But Jesus has yet to free me from this, and pastors and friends have yet to alleviate my concerns. So I press on and believe that while I may suffer silently, I do not have to give in to the emotions. They’re present, but they do not define me. I have value. I matter.
When we had our meeting that day, my mind wandered, like it usually does, and I listened passively to Pastor’s encouragement for our praise team. What caught my attention was when he began to assign us a task. Yay! I love a good quest. Give me an assignment and the steps to complete it, and I’m like a show-dog, eager to please. He asked us to write a song for our church, a theme song of sorts. He didn’t specify a style or any particular guidelines. Guidelines aren’t really his modus operandi. Pastor K. does not limit our expressing ourselves. God designed our personalities, and we can use our talents to advance His Kingdom. In a way, I’m grateful for the autonomy, but I have that fear that says I’ll never be able to measure up to his or His standards.
Thankfully, God brings to my mind that I am not the performer. I’m not the things that I do or can’t do. I am His work. He is my inspirer and inspiration. He is my motivator. His love for me is my sanctuary. He defines me and my value. He declared that I was worth dying for.
In the quiet place, when the notes ring out, I can hear the song begin to form. I can hear what hasn’t been played yet. I don’t know the words, but I know they’re there.
They want to be sung.