My friend Molly came back to town for Christmas this year and my heart exploded when we ran to each other in front of my favorite coffee shop and embraced. A long, tight, I’ve missed you so very much hug that Molly manages to do perfectly, each time that I see her. We caught up over tea and I got to hear about her new home and the new church that she has visited there. She told me that she didn’t like the church too much because they don’t have a lot of worship. She said they don’t sing loud and they don’t have a lot of fun during worship. She hopes that she can find a new church that does.
I wondered if she meant that when she’s in that church, it’s like standing next to a bunch of people like me, people who have become far to self-conscious about their voice to let themselves worship.
I use to sing really loud, despite the fact that I don’t have a great voice. I remember some friends here and there commenting on my freedom to worship, despite my horrible singing voice and it didn’t seem to stop me or even make me the slightest bit self-conscious about what I sounded like.
Then I moved to Nashville.
In the first month or so of living here, we went to a bowling alley that also happens to be a karaoke bar, with some friends. I was so excited for karaoke until we walked into the room and I was surrounded by musicians, professional ones. You know, the ones who get paid to sing on stages. They were all belting out their performances, but despite laughter, hilarious songs and impressions of other musicians, they still sounded amazing. I didn’t get up that night and do karaoke. In fact, I can’t say that I have done it since. I also discovered, that I sing a lot more quietly and pay far more attention to what I sound like, than I ever did before. Maybe it’s that I’m surrounded by professional musicians or maybe it’s that enough people have told me that I have a horrible voice, but either way, it’s changed me. And not for the better.
The night after Molly and I had tea together, we were at the same Christmas Eve service. I saw Molly’s heart during worship that night. At one point, when I looked over, she was playing the air drums to a song, while singing so loudly that I could hear her two sections over. During another song, she was dancing in the aisle, again I could hear her voice. And then, as the service ended, she showed our congregation, yet another way to let your heart enter into worship. Thankfully, a dear friend captured it on film.