Many years ago someone told me that I wasn’t a musician. This message has been echoed by others throughout my years of figuring out what it means to be an adult. There were times when a musician friend would say out of the blue, completely unsolicited that I just wasn’t meant to be musician, but I was a good singer and should just focus on that. Sometimes some random person would tell me something similar and they would usually follow up with “… and if you could just sing a little quieter you would really be something.”
The truth is I am not an amazing singer nor am I an amazing musician. I can sing well, but I am not a special talent. Even after years of practice I am a poor musician, mediocre at best. I know that I am not a master nor will I ever be. In my twenties and most of my thirties I pushed for greatness. Perfection even. I was obsessed. I wanted to be the best! I wanted to be one of those people that could play everything in a band and know all the musical things. I wanted to be amazing and I wasn’t. So I did the logical thing. I studied and practiced and perfected my craft… except none of that actually happened. I actually gave up. I quit playing. I quit singing… well I sang less. I decided that if I couldn’t be the best then I didn’t see the point. I will never be great or even good so I will just stop.
I am not amazing. No matter how hard I work at it I will never be beyond that reality. Even if I was tremendously more skilled than I am there would still be someone out there more skilled and talented than me.
For many years I played for the Lord in secret most of the time. I would sing songs to the Lord with my guitar, or keyboard and at first it was just my voice, all alone. I didn’t care how well I played or sang. It didn’t matter how perfect it was or wasn’t it was just about being with Him. It was about pouring out my affection for My Maker, the Lover of my soul, my Master, my King. I couldn’t wait to be alone with God. It was everything. He was everything and all that mattered was bringing Him my best no matter what it looked like.
As time went on other people’s opinions began go influence me much more than they should have because I had no idea what boundaries were. Because of this I would let the words of those who hadn’t earned the right to speak into my life in the doorway of my heart.
I have always been insecure about my abilities as a musician. I am self taught and that has left me feeling like I don’t know what I am doing most of the time. Also I actually don’t so there is that. Furthermore I don’t practice enough which doesn’t help.
Then it happens. A skilled musician who was a friend told me that my guitar playing was not his favorite. He said my style was hard for a band to follow and that he would rather me just play keys and sing. So I put my guitar in the case and left it there for years. YEARS. Four of them.
Even after getting it out I would only play it once in while. My friend Eric played my guitar more than I did in 2018 and 2017 for that matter.
I felt incapable of playing good enough so I just stopped. The thing is though that is relly stupid. Who cares if I suck?! Who cares if I suck for the rest of ever?! It doesn’t actually matter if I suck or not if it is something I enjoy. And you know what? I do. I really enjoy it. Music is like oxygen to my soul. Creating and playing music gives me life. Playing my guitar alone in my room for the Lord was one of the first ways that I was able to deeply connect to God. That is something precious. That is not something to just throw by the wayside just because someone said that I technically suck.
The reality is I am not nor will I ever be an extraordinary musician or vocalist. I will not nor will I ever be an amazing artist but that doesn’t mean that I should stop creating. Creating is something that I am moved to do, it calls to me and is in me. I can’t stop playing musical instruments, drawing, painting, writing or singing any more than I can stop breathing.
The thing I have realized is that God is the only one who is capable of true perfection. That is part of His holiness. As for the rest us perfection is relative. That is right folks perfection is relative. I can strive for perfection but if I compare myself to someone else’s perfection than I will never get there and all I will ever do is cause myself to become insane. I can never really be perfect by your perspective but I can be perfect for me. I can find perfection that I am capable of. I can strive to improve my skills and be better than I was before. But I will never be better than you… well I mean I am sure I will be better than someone but that isn’t really my point.
My point is that I shouldn’t let someone else determine what I do with my own skills, or lack there of. I shouldn’t allow some eles’s opinion of my level of skill rob me of joy. I can’t allow anything to breach the conduits of my connection with the Lord. It doesn’t matter if I am “good enough” or if anyone else ever sees or hears what I do. It’s not about that. God put these things inside of me, and He wants me to let my light shine. The Bible doesn’t say make to make a perfect sound to the Lord it says to make a joyful one. God wants us to give Him our all, to bring Him the best of what we have with a joyful heart. Perfection is relative. My perfect offering will be different than yours and that is more than okay. It is enough. Your best is enough. My best is enough.
So if you like me have put your guitar, or whatever away because someone else caused you to feel like you don’t have what it takes shake that crap off! Who cares?! If it is how you connect with the Lord and it brings you joy do it anyway!
If you need me I will be playing my guitar (poorly) with a bunch of amazing tiny humans worshipping the Lord. We will be connecting with the Maker of all things having the time of our lives. ❤️
(C) Rachel Anne Redfield 2019