Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ordinary Voice.

Sometimes, as a musician, it's hard to have an ordinary voice.  

I usually sing on the correct pitch, I can find a suitable harmony, and I can blend with others.  I know how to listen to others and I know which keys are good for me.  I can sightread music pretty easily.  I can transpose in my head.  And without printed music I can usually pick up a melody and harmony after a few listens.

But, alas, I have an ordinary voice. 

It's nothing super-spectacular.  It's not one that's going to be on the radio anytime soon.  I'm not going to get paid to sing.  People are not going to download an album of me singing.  And the truth is, I actually prefer not to be the lead singer--after years of playing the harmony parts on my french horn, I am quite comfortable singing the alto or tenor parts.

But the performer in me often feels the pressure to be better--if not the best.  The performer in me feels the pressure of perfection.  The performer in me feels the judgements of others.  And, sadly, the performer in me often passes judgement on others as well.  The performer in me listens to the voices in my head that remind me that I'm no one special.

And, sometimes we all want to be the extra-special person in the room.  

We want someone to notice that we look nice.  We want someone to notice that we got all of the laundry folded and PUT AWAY in organized drawers.  We want someone to notice that the grass looks nice or that the car is clean.  We want someone to recognize our efforts on the job--and we wouldn't mind a little pat on the back, too.  We want people to rave over the dinner we prepared.  We want people to need us for our specific skills.  We want to be right.  We want someone to make a fuss over us.  We want to be told that we are special.  We want to know that we matter.

But let me encourage and remind you that your very, very ordinary life is making a difference.  

That mom in yoga pants and toddlers and residual baby weight is probably not feeling very good about herself--but she's enriching the lives of her children.  The preachers and professors who work tirelessly on weekly sermons and lectures may not be recognized nationally for their words, but they are making a difference in the lives of their listeners.  Those teachers and volunteers who aren't getting the pay they deserve or the encouragement they need are changing the lives of the youth they instruct.  The blogger who would love to have millions of readers is still impacting his local area with his ideas.  The men and women in our armed forces are guarding our freedom when they report for front gate duty.  The majority of us going about our daily lives are always impacting and making a difference, even if it's not in ways that make headlines.

It occurred to me recently that my ordinary voice is a tool I use to serve my extraordinary Lord.  People may not be blown away when I sing at church, but hopefully they will sing along with me as we worship Him together.  My voice is not meant for people to sit back and be in awe of me--it should be used to blend in and not distract them so that they can remain in awe of Him.

This small attitude adjustment has hung with me this week.  It has filled me with great joy and a sense of responsibility.  What if we all took our very plain and ordinary lives and lived them with great purpose--regardless of recognition?  What if we treated our seemingly small responsibilities and community as well as we would expect those with great platforms to treat us?  What if we leveled the playing field and remembered that all are equal in His eyes and that we are the lucky ones that have been entrusted with the ordinary?

I like to believe that He appreciates our ordinary lives.  After all, this is the very God who came to the earth in a lowly, dirty manger rather than arriving on a white horse or in a palace.  This is the very God who learned a simple trade and told stories and hung out with fishermen and tax collectors.

And this is the very same God who set the world into motion and planned the design of my life.  


Therefore, who am I to be ungrateful of His great blessings He has poured into my ordinary life?  

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