The plastic chair trembles under me. I grip it with my little white knuckles. The teacher looks at me. She has a kind smile on her face as she patiently waits, but for some reason, I am unable to answer her. It’s a simple question. What color construction paper do you want? My mouth stays shut. I am frozen under her gaze. If I move my mouth and words come out, the earth will swallow me up.
I was an awkwardly shy child. Seriously. I hated being on the spot and hated talking to strangers. Being painfully shy is a hard thing. It’s hard to function through life when you feel too afraid to talk to anyone. It’s hard to communicate when you’re afraid to speak. I found that for most of my early life, I faded into the background of all the talkative people in the world. If someone was energetic and outgoing, my thoughts and feelings would not be heard because I didn’t have the strength or energy to fight for air.
Which is why music became so important for me. I stumbled into my voice in middle school, but it wasn’t until high school that I found the courage to perform a solo. Although I was the most nervous I’d ever been, the applause and affirmation I received were amazing. As I continued to perform, I found that singing was a way for me to have undivided attention for the three to four minutes of my song. I could communicate with no interruptions, and I could do it beautifully and poetically.
When I discovered worship music, it was a double bonus. I could communicate my thoughts on my greatest belief to those who listened, and I was able to praise God. It was perfect. I felt a great peace every time I sang, like confirmation that I was in God’s will. Singing made me happy, and from the feedback I got from my church congregation, I gathered that I was blessing people in the process. I made the decision that I wanted to devote my life to worship. I decided to major in church music.
So what do you do when the thing that you decided to devote your life to no longer makes sense; when the direction you wanted to take your life in is suddenly fuzzy? Singing still makes me happy, but worship music often leaves me feeling empty. I don’t connect with worship songs like I used to. When I sing them, my mouth is moving and going through the motions, but my heart is just not feeling it.
Where do I go from here?
Why is worship or music important to your life? Or why is it unimportant?