I have been a singer since I was a little girl. I would sing anywhere, in church pews, in the car, in my bedroom, or on a stage. From voice lessons to vocal performances, to leading worship in our church band for the past 5 years, singing has always been a cornerstone of my personality. So it wasn’t so far-fetched that 1 year ago I started taking piano lessons, fulfilling a childhood dream.
BUT. I never thought that decision would lead me to face a new, HUGE giant – playing keyboards in a band, on stage in front of 100+ teenagers on a weekend Church retreat. Again, put a microphone in my hand to sing or speak in front of any size crowd, I’m good to go. I've done that hundreds of times. But singing and playing the keyboard… at the same time… with barely a year of lessons under my belt? Terrifying!
And the fears I was facing, though not new to me, came back with a vengeance:
Fear of looking foolish.
Fear of sounding horrible.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of letting down my band mates, the teens, myself.
Fear of failure.
Whoa. Heavy stuff. All resurfacing because 88 black and ivory keys glared back at me. So, with hands shaking, voice cracking and confidence teetering, I took the stage and played and sung my heart out.
Now, to say I had successful sets each time I was up there is ridiculous. I hit a lot, and I mean A LOT of wrong notes! I lost my place multiple times, dropped out completely a few times, and was so hyper-focused on the music; I didn’t stop to listen to the music. And something was lost in the translation. I neglected the beauty of the melody and comfort of the words, all because of my fear.
So what did I learn from this experience?
It Takes Faith
Facing fear head on is never, ever, ever easy, especially when so many of my fears have been harbored since childhood. But fear is only fueled by fear. The more I focused on it; the more I lost my purpose and passion of why I was doing this in the first place. I needed to feed my fear with faith and let God take it on. I was going to make mistakes no doubt, and in my own head, sound horrible. But the weekend and the music, was not about me, and the moment I let that ego go, it was a game-changer.
It Takes Love
I’ve been fortunate enough to surround myself with friends who are like family and teenagers that all lovingly call me “Mom”. Apparently I have somewhere around 436 kids. :) But every time I hit a wrong note, or forgot the lyrics, they either didn't notice or didn’t care. My band mates were the same. Constantly encouraging and lifting me up. The flood of love that poured over me all weekend was unbelievable and I realize now I wasn't letting anyone down. They were not only in my corner cheering me on, but right by my side, helping me fight that giant.
It Takes Courage
It took more than a few deep breaths and some pep talks to get me through the weekend. It took an inner resolve, a bit of stubbornness, perhaps just one bathroom breakdown, and a whole lot of courage. I knew there was absolutely no talent comparison between myself and our usual keyboard player - who is amazing! But, I stepped up in a way I never would have thought possible a year ago. I didn't fail because of some wrong chords or missed notes. Rather, because I had the courage to say yes and step outside my comfort zone, I would say that was a resounding success!
I slayed an awfully large giant last weekend. But I know it was not, nor will be the only giant I have left to face. In fact, I’ve been asked again to help lead worship on both vocals and keyboards on our upcoming retreat in 2 weeks. Are the fears still there? Of course. But with a lot of faith, love and courage, and a loaded slingshot, I’m ready to face this giant again.
What giants are you facing in your life? What fears are holding you back?