Heart racing, knees shaking, hands sweating…well my hands are always a little moist, or so my sister tells me. I digress, there I am heart all a flutter, waiting anxiously.
“Are you ready? Yeah, okay you’re part of group one”
What? Okay, best to get this over with.
“Alright everyone, we’ll just be singing this verse of the song together, then we’ll go around to everyone of you to hear you sing a verse, then we’ll repeat with us singing the melody line and you the harmony? Ready”
Well ready as I will ever be. I mean I shouldn’t be nervous, I’ve sang in many choirs, this one is no different. No I am not the strongest singer and I typically cave under pressure, that audition for the performing arts school was a good example, but this should be different I am worshiping, so I shouldn’t stress.
See, I’m sounding okay right now when we’re all singing together. I am singer the lower part and probably could sing higher but this is more comfortable. Alright, now onto individual. Wow, she’s good. Okay, she cracked a little but she came back. I can do this. Oh she’s a little flat, but she’s doing alright. I can do this.
“Your turn, and by the way extra ten points for the mustache.”
“Thanks” I never really know how to respond to this.
Deep breath. And ….crap, why? I know the melody, I can hear it. Why can’t I make my voice sing it? I sound like a scared mouse. Great. I am messing this up.
Ok, perhaps I can…where is the harmony? What is going on? This is humiliating. I am a terrible singer. Hurry get out of here while you can.
“Thanks. Wow I am so amazed at all of you, so brave”
Oh God, that’s what you say to people who can’t sing and try anyway. This is awful. Why did I do this?
I quickly walk out of the venue church was in today into the bright lights of Times Square. Wasn’t it just two nights ago when God had me stand here and promise me I would one day see my face on these billboards? How could I possibly do this? There is no way. I need someone to teach me how to be fearless. I need more lessons in singing craft, but more than anything I need to learn how to believe in myself, or rather believe in the me God created.
I find it so incredibly frustrating. I know I can sing, well at least I think I know, I mean I can carry a tune. In fact I think it sounds fine when I’m in the shower, or in the basement at work, or when I used to have a car. I could match pitch, I could sing harmony, I’ve even had a few people who have heard me sing tell me I can sing. Perhaps that is the problem. I need adulation, I want people to tell me how well I sing for me to feel good enough to sing.
The other night at work, I was just playfully singing, having fun singing a Beatles song I think. One of my coworkers casually asked if I ever thought about singing professionally.
Wow! That was a confidence boost.
Where was that today when I auditioned for the Worship Choir? The place where I should be fearless, singing songs of praise to God?
I’m pretty sure all of this is connected with that deep seeded need for approval I have had all my life. I want to be everything, I want to be talented, but more than anything I want people to believe I am talented. I think I am talented. I know I have certain strengths and gifts, but once I have to put it on display it washes away. It’s more than stage fright, because I’ve learned to channel that and in fact I am more comfortable singing or speaking in front of hundreds of faces than three.
There’s an intimacy, a real knowledge of who I am that cannot be faked. With a crowd you can be an illusionist, making people believe what you want them to see. In a small group, you are more bare and vulnerable. You can see their faces and know if you have been accepted or rejected.
There it is, I botched a choir tryout, and probably a performing arts school audition. How is it that someone so terrified and frightened of not being approved to reach the city, to reach the others trying to perform.
Perhaps it is that I know the struggle so I can speak to people with first hand knowledge. But it has to be more than that. I am here for the city, not just those terrified that they won’t be adored by audiences.
Perhaps it is simply I am weak and the only way I will be able to fulfill my calling is on the strength of God. Him made strong in my weakness. That people would know Him, not me.
When is the next opportunity to try?