I grew up singing. My mom says, I was singing before I could speak in full sentences. I also love to sing for church. I have sung in a Karoake bar once, but it never felt right. Somehow, if I am not singing to glorify God, singing just doesn't seem like home. I wouldn't have it any other way either.
As a teen growing up, I enjoyed singing in choir, solos, and then I got to college and tried a semester as a music major. Several things happened that changed my course in life. First, it was the catty attitude I noticed and the spirit of competition. It wasn't a kind spirit, it was mean and vicious and that alone was enough to deter me from pursuing music. I sing because I love it, it's a part of who I am, not because I want to be better than everyone else. Second, my TMJ came back with a vengance. When my TMJ flares up, my jaws clench, I am in agony and become light and sound sensitive, which stinks big time, because it means I can't even stand to listen to music, I just want quiet, darkness and I don't want to move. By the time I finished one semester as a music major I didn't sing for a year after leaving college. It took that long before I was ready to consider singing again.
Then I got older, I got married, I had Elizabeth and I found that while singing in choir was still fun, that it was more important that I take care of Elizabeth. In that time, I also began to learn something about the importance of talent, versus the importance of having a heart for worship. In our choir, several years ago was a man who was flat, he sang loudly and proudly but he was flat. Many choir members took turns sitting in front of him (me included), and tried our best to not let him take us down with him. But as I sat in the congregation I realized something, all the talent in the world does not make up for anything if you are just singing to sing. This man who by our standards was subpar, sang with great gusto and a great love of God. His only goal was to sing and make a joyful noise to the Lord, and surely that was more important than making a pretty noise.
It reminded me of the woman who was poor who came and brought her last coins to pay her tithe. In all likelihood, this woman would go home and have nothing to eat and possibly even die, but for her it was more important to serve God and give him what was rightfully his. Just as in the parable of the servants given talents by their master it is more important to use the talents God gives us, it is more important that when you come to God and sing, it is with a heart of worship than a heart that wants to impress others.
Please help us as we come before you to bring a heart of worship. Help us remember you'd rather we come with the heart of a child than a voice of talent and that you will love that more than a beautiful, but soulless sound any day of the week.