Jesus restores analyst’s joy of singing
F is an investment analyst whose first love is singing. Through mixed messages from her parents growing up, she subconsciously learnt to perform to gain approval from others and to fear singing in public at the same time. God revealed the root of these fears and showed her that He loves her singing; that she is a song that He is composing for His glory. Praise God!
I knew that my parents loved me, but did they approve or even delight in me?
Having grown up in a Christian family that worships God, efficiency, performance, and results, I was constantly striving and looking for approval from authorities. Approval and love are different. I knew that God loved me, I knew that my parents loved me, but did they approve or even delight in me?
For much of my life, I have felt very un-understood by my mum. I used to say, “If mum were my age, we’d never be friends.” Mum always said I was pretty but also that I was fat. Or not pretty enough. Or short. She sent me to beauty salons to fix my fatness and to doctors to get rid of my birthmark. There were lots of mixed messages.
I’ve always been a bit mad at her for favouring my brother.
She never came to my events at school; whether I was winning awards, giving performances, or throwing fundraisers and events. She never came. But she went to my brother’s events – when he didn’t even throw them or was doing anything special. That stung. And I was very hurt when she was disappointed that I didn’t get certain school positions.
I have always been my dad’s favourite. I have lots of happy childhood memories of him; swimming in the pool, going on outings, and getting presents from his travels. I used to always sit on my dad’s lap after dinner parties, no matter who the guests were. He made me feel very special, loved, and beautiful.
But somewhere along the way, I know I disappointed my dad as well. It hasn’t quite been the same since.
When I was around 17-18, we started arguing about universities, course selections, applications, and singing. I started sensing that my mum and dad saw my singing as very easily corruptible. When I wanted to sing at a restaurant as work experience or consider becoming a singer, they likened my daydream of becoming a singer to prostitution.
Every time I had singing performances, my dad was very concerned about my ego. So I went through a period of being terrified of singing at church. I grew up terrified of glorifying myself with this gift, reluctant to serve in front of people, grouchy when I was invited to perform. My parents had always warned me not to enjoy the applause or praise, but to sing for God.
I was horrified by the idea that I could rob God of His glory. Or be a whore.
I recently signed up for renewal prayer desiring to be closer to God. I wanted more of Him. As I prepared for the prayer session, God revealed to me that He wanted to go deeper into my heart. He wanted all of me and asked if I would let Him. At the prayer session, God’s Spirit revealed to me that I had always been pondering, but had never really dared to ask, “Does God really delight in me? Why? How?”
The Holy Spirit helped me recall a memory from when I was about 2 years old. My parents and I were holidaying in France, and they had left me at the hotel crèche whilst they explored the city. As time passed over the years, my parents would fondly comment on how independent and strong I was.
At the prayer session, I saw the memory of them leaving me with French strangers over and over again. It took more prayers to unearth the real emotions behind the scene; I was not fine, or indifferent about being left, or capable of being alone, or excited to make friends. Instead, emotions of fear, sadness, and anger began to wash over me, and finally, defiance and determination. I was determined not to cry and to be a good girl and behave.
This eventually translated into a habit of outperforming my parents’ expectations to receive their praise.
The prayer counsellors led me to submit this memory to God, and ask for His forgiveness for vowing to myself that I would be independent – that I would always outperform and always handle anything that’s thrown at me. Also during the prayer, it was revealed that my desire to perform and deliver efficiency was a generational curse passed down through the women from my mother’s family line and that it has caused stress and heart disorders in many of my family members.
Since these revelations, confessions, and cancellations of inner vows, I have become more aware of my tendency to seek the approval of authority figures. When I sense myself desiring praise, or disappointed by a lack thereof, or frantic about a situation out of my control, I am prompted to pray and assess if I have misplaced my heart and hope and confess I am seeking man’s approval over God’s. The act of praying, assessing, confessing and rededicating my heart to God has led to so much freedom and peace and rest, mentally and emotionally.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I also began experiencing God’s delight intensely, regularly and often.
God has been showing me how much greater delighting in Him and resting in His delight is. When my heart is praising and acknowledging Him as my Lord, I feel His embrace of delight and love too.
Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
During renewal prayer, it was a surprise when I sobbed and confessed that I loved singing. Singing was my favourite activity. This was not news, so what was God trying to reveal? That He loved my singing too!
God wanted me to sing freely and joyfully for Him. That it was a gift from Him.
God told me that He loves my offering, that my heart should always be singing to Him and that He sings over me too. It was revealed to my prayer counsellors that I am a song, and that God is the composer. That there may be lows and highs, but He is composing and orchestrating; He is my Maker and I am wonderfully and fearfully made.
The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation. The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. I will not die, but live, And tell of the works of the LORD. (Psalm 118: 14-17)
Since then, singing and leading worship have felt so different. I have even been told I sound different.
I feel a deep power beyond my own, and a desire to worship, sing praises and just make a joyful noise! My audience is God. And He is worthy, and due all my attention and praise. And I long to share the gift of worship, abandoned praise to God with all.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come in His presence with singing! Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him, and bless His name! For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100
God gifted me with a new image recently, that He sees me as a baby, His baby, whom He delights in.
I am lying on my back, with my arms and legs raised high, reaching to be held by God, reaching to touch Him and have more of Him, whilst God looks down on me adoringly. This is my child’s pose with God. He just loves me, delights in me, as a Father does a child. This image reminds me often, to stop striving, and know that I am loved. Praise God, Alleluia.
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