I’ll never forget the night; it was a simple one, but it’s chiseled into my memory to last. It was summertime and my friends and I were all hanging out. My boss was giving some of us tattoos (how many people get to say that?), others were playing video games, and some were talking when my friend started playing a song I knew on the guitar. At that moment I really wanted to sing–like, really loud and from the heart; and I didn’t care if people were going to hear me.
I have always loved music. I listen to it everyday; I dance, sing, jump, and cry to music–you name it. Regardless, I never played an instrument or sang in front of anyone my whole life out of fear of what people would have to say about my voice, or the lie that I wasn't good enough so I should keep quiet; it was something I kept personal between the Lord and I. Music makes me feel like I can let go of everything–as if I am in this private place where I can move as much as I want and make my voice as loud or quiet as I want it to be; I have control over every part of me, but at the same time I have no control because wherever the music takes me I follow it. I connect with music because I can connect my music to anything–if I want to connect on a deeper level with creation I can sing about the waves, the birds, or the air on a crisp morning; if I want to connect with my feelings, I can sing with joy behind my voice or pain behind it. It’s my song, my melody, my chords; my music and I are one in the same.
The lies of not being good enough stopped me from singing in front of others; but that night, it didn’t stop me. It was strange because, like I said, I had never sang before or had the desire to even; but in that moment I heard so clearly the Holy Spirit tell me, “These people are your friends–family–let it out, use the voice I gave you, be free from the lies.” So that night I sang for the first time in front of people and I guess the hidden talent was out. The thing was, no one in that room knew how impactful that moment was and how special it was for God–the Creator of my voice–and I. From that moment on I had new freedom with my voice and a new passion to create music. My friend lent me his guitar, started teaching me chords and strum patterns, and from then on I started writing my own music and playing.
Writing music is one of my favorite things to do now. Listening to music is fun, but there's something even more rad about writing my own music; something special and intimate about using the voice I’ve been given rather than replicating another’s voice. I write about my personal experiences and connect with my feelings, and then I get to share with others. I get to choose the sound, and when I write, it's a unique time with the Lord. When I share my songs with people, I am genuinely stoked; not because, “I wrote these incredible lyrics with a funky beat,” but because there’s no explanation as to why the words are beautiful or meaningful other than the fact the Lord gave them to me and allowed me to be the one to share. I have no experience with instruments or music theory, so when I come up with a song, that itself brings me to awe because it’s a melody from the Lord which gives me the joy to keep writing; it's from Him and for Him.
I have yet to write anything but worship because when I sit to write and sing, the only thing that fills my mind is what the Lord has done for me–my redemption story, His Creation, my life experiences, my struggles with faith, my friendship with the Holy Spirit: that is what inspires my music. When I write a song I don’t want it to have a typical worship song sound, but for the lyrics of God’s truth to be what draws people in. Writing music and performing is just a way that I grow an even deeper relationship with God and a really cool way I get to share who Jesus is with others. The big picture is to keep writing when the Lord tells me to write, sing when He says sing, and do it with joy in my soul and for only his attention and glory. Ultimately, I want to get better at playing the guitar and hopefully lead worship in some aspect of my life; but for now I will love playing and writing, whether it’s in the privacy of my room, around a campfire, an open mic night–wherever God tells me to use my voice.