To The Girl Who Can Sing But May Never Be A Singer:
I remember I didn’t get four words into my solo choir performance before my weak, shaking vocal chords decided they just couldn’t handle the pressure and my feet quickly followed suit. I ran out of that room so fast you would have thought the building was on fire. I was pale, stricken with fear, and swore I would never sing again.
That was the 7th grade and now I make music and perform on stage as a career. Oh, how my life has shifted. One thing I’ve noticed… It doesn’t matter how a particular story starts, with confidence and direction, or fear and confusion, once someone realizes their love of singing it quickly becomes an unshakeable passion.
How many girls have you run into who say they want to be a singer when they grow up? Or, how many are already adults putting countless hours and dollars into turning their dreams to reality? So many. Let me start by saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing that dream! Hello! Look at my life… I’ve been at this since I was 16 and now I’m 24. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
I’m writing this to bring comfort to the hopeful singer. To bring some sort of peace to the passionate vocalist pouring everything into the hopes of music becoming a long-term occupation someday. I’m here to encourage those whose efforts seem pointless. You may think you are missing a breakthrough and no one seems to recognize your talent. I’m here to remind you that you are not worthless. You are not a waste of talent. Your passion is not a mistake.
There are MILLIONS of talented girls in this world. Have you searched #Singer on Instagram lately? God has passed out beautiful voices abundantly knowing there is no way every girl will have the same opportunity to “make it.” Did he make a mistake? Some of you will go on to sell out stadiums and some will not. What I’m about to tell you will make the sting of being in the latter group start to disappear. God did not give you (or me) gifts to edify the world at large but to edify his bride. More specifically, your (or my) local expression of his bride, the local church.
God’s first priority is his Beloved, the Church at large, those that have been saved. He guards them against falsities, sanctifies them in the truth, teaches them, and adopts others into this family using the local body of believers as the main avenue.
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:7
In the context of this section of Scripture and the entire book, written to a local body in the city of Corinth, we know that Paul is talking about the gifts being used in the local church. If you never step on a stage outside of your home church, if you never sell CD’s to the masses, if you never accumulate more than 100 Instagram followers, you are still greatly useful for the Kingdom of God. Your leading of the congregation through music or singing to the littles during Sunday school is greatly serving the Lord. Creating little chants for your children to memorize scripture and soothing a hurting heart with the Truth of God’s promises through song is greatly serving the Lord. If every girl that had talent left to rock stages then who would be around to serve home churches with their voices?
Don’t get me wrong, it is not a sin to desire a platform outside of your local church (or I wouldn’t be doing what I do), but even if you are the next *insert your favorite well-known Christian artist here* the local church would still need to be the main priority to use your gifts. Side Note: Your service in the local body doesn't even have to be singing but anyway you can serve and invest locally (I rarely do music but mainly work with the youth).
We will never get away from the importance of serving and being served by a local group of believers. This is the design God has made to be most effective in the believer's lives. How can an artist make disciples if she is performing in your city and will not to return for the foreseeable future? The local church’s job is to invest deeply into the lives of its members. Someone who is here one day and gone the next will never be able to benefit fully from what God has commanded the Church to be.
I had to come to grips with this truth in the last year and a half of my life. I had performed my same songs for 2.5 years and the bookings were slowing down. People were wanting new music and I had none coming. I was now home every weekend. I wasn’t in and out of the studio much due to legal circumstances. My music career seemed to be flushed down the toilet and there went my hope and passion with it. I never stopped wanting to serve people with my gifts, I was just yet to realize that I still could and how it would honor the Lord tremendously to do so.
As I was starting to learn about the role of Spiritual Gifts in the Church I started to regain joy and desire. Now, knowing God’s intention for the local body I am still pursuing a career in music (I actually just released a new song, you can hear it here) but I would never go back to desiring a huge platform without the desire for serving the people God has put right down the street from me too.
So, to the girl who can sing but may never be a singer: Find joy in serving the local body. Find depth of relationship and growth in seeing those around you grow and allowing them to speak into your life. Become a member of a healthy local body and watch the satisfaction of seeing God’s bride flourish and overshadow your disappointment of never “making it.” God knew what he was doing when he gave you a gift that may never be seen outside of your city. He is good and you are useful.
Remember, your gifts are “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:12) before they are ever to make you famous or give you a thriving career. If that comes, it’s just a bonus.
"Lord, help me to understand the depth of fulfillment and joy that comes from being obedient and investing in and being invested in your bride, locally. Give me contentment with the season you have me in and a gratefulness for all I can do for you now. Show me how and who I can serve. Please send others to encourage me in this season of waiting. Amen."