Joy is a mystery to me – somewhere way back in my childhood I think I associated joy and pleasure with sin. Too bad it’s not easily undone…  I’ve shared some of the lies that steal my joy, but I still struggle. Probably will until heaven.

But every once in awhile, my soul soars - I taste seconds of freedom and I whoop and holler and clap and sing at the top of  my lungs. Ah, joy – sweet, sweet honey to my soul! 

I’ve been avoiding singing in church, despite how much I enjoy it. Part of the reason was that I believed God was directing me elsewhere, but as that reason ended I was once again drawn to sing on stage. I prayed, but had no clear sense of an answer. Months pass – a year. Still no answer, but I notice some new abilities. I can play piano, I’m enjoying learning guitar, and I often imagine choreographing songs on stage…
(by the way, I've wanted to be two things since I was a child: teach (I have children, so 'check', and sing. Hmm..)

Here’s my pickle. The few times I did get up on stage, I allowed the compliments to go to my head. Inflated ego is quickly followed by spiritual devastation. Now I question – is singing where I’m supposed to go? Am I following temptation (selfish desire)? … it’s so much easier just to avoid the whole thing. Not better necessarily, but easier.

Am I going where I’m tempted, or tempted where I’m going?

When I think about giving it my all on stage, singing praises to God like I do in my home or in my car, there are 2 things that hold me back:

  1. I’ll enjoy it. … .maybe too much. You know how a sheltered, suppressed child can grow into a wild child when they enter the real world? Yeah … I’m afraid that might happen with joy once I allow myself to experience it. It might make me crazy…  (Which by the way, will frighten everyone I’m sure. I already frighten people when I allow that energy to accidentally creep out of its cage..)
  2. What on earth will people think?! People on stage are under tremendous scrutiny, and receive disheartening, discouraging feedback about other people who ‘do it better’ or how their notes are flat. If I put myself out there, I subject myself to judgment.  … I know, I know, it’s not about me.  … but I’m still scared.

A friend encouraged me to remember to do it for God. I asked "How I can know if my motive is right? The heart is, above all things, deceitful after all…" She encouraged me to ask God to purify my heart. Of course! Ask God! I knew that one! Thank you, my friend. I’ll do that.

Lord, I don’t know what your plan is with me. I’m afraid and overjoyed that it might include singing on stage. I’m terrified – I’m petty and prideful, but you know all things. Lord, you know my heart. I pray that if this is in your plan that you would purify my heart and motives, helping me to do this with courage for your glory. I also pray that you would help me know that this is your plan. If it is not, please take this distracting desire away. If it is, please fan it – light it up – let it shine for you. Thank you Jesus, for giving me a part in your glory either way.



MTJ said...

Hi Kim,

I recently (as you know) aksed myself about this as well. I found joy in doing something for which I sought no personal gain. Realizing how easily my ego tilts, I began having doubts about my motives. I had to know if I was doing the right things for wrong reason.

The Holy Spirit helped me recognize that what I began doing was initiated without a desire to gain anything in return. In my case, I was doing things which I'd previously never considered submitting myself to do. I had no strength of my own to do them but I discovered the joy of the Lord strengthening me to complete these things and they weren't the cumbersome, bothersome chores I previously viewed them as.

Your friend gave you sound, wise advice, "Ask God". Whatever the Lord guides you to do, commit your ways to Him in that area; you'll still experience the joy of the Lord.

Blessings and peace.


From The Heart Online said...

totally - I want to know too: "am I doing the right thing for the wrong motive". ... my turn to walk that road :)

Thanks so much for your encouragement, MTJ. I'm blessed and encouraged by your comments and posts. God is glorified through this walk you share!

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Don't be too hard on yourself! If your intention is in the right place, everything else will follow suit. There is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself!

From The Heart Online said...

Hi Valerie! Thanks :D I'm learning... slower than I prefer of course, but Praise God - I'm learning! Yaaaay!!!!

Faith Imagined said...

We all struggle with those exact same questions but with different circumstances. I think we all will struggle with our pride until we finally reach heaven.

I would love to hear you sing someday!

Anonymous said...

I think serving the Lord should be a joyful experience... and the gift and desire to sing comes from Him. (I am a dancer; I have always been obsessed with dancing... and I am now running a non profit project for people with disabilities to learn dance and perform. Who knew my favorite "hobby" as a child would come to this?) In everything I do, whether teaching a (secular) class I try to take a moment to reflect that it is for the "greater glory of God."

From The Heart Online said...

Thanks Alisa. I think you're quite right!

Thanks, Anonymous. I agree - it's a gift from God, to be used for His glory. The guilt and fear that surround using those gifts is not from God. Move forward and He'll equip me for the next step, right?

Mari said...

I love the prayer at the end. It is so rewarding to ask God, and as long as we always remember that for him is all the glory I believe our decisions will be made wisely.

Thank you for such wonderful post.


Anonymous said...

hey i have to admit i admire your truth and honesty,i struggle with this same issue.i have learned however that God has built in desire in us in order that we would enjoy serving him,the psalmist in 145:16-17 says you open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.i beleive if we step out in faith doing the things we love doing he will refine our hearts and through us glorify himself.Thomas C Oden put it this way "a slab of cement never has to be worried about weeds, but it will never be a garden".Though things make us uncomfortable i know if we keep our center of attention on him he will lift us up. I know because i have seen and felt him do it. God bless and may his grace take you higher and further than anything you could hope or imagine.