Serving in the shadows

Sometimes I resent being the one with the voice. If I’m with people who know I can sing, they always insist that I be the one to lead Happy Birthday. Like they’re not all going to drift into five different keys after I start. Or someone who finds out I’m a singer and then asks me to sing them something, on the spot. Like I should have a song and dance up my sleeve for just such an occasion. It makes me want to break into something like, “THIS IS THE SONG THAT DOESN’T END….”

When my husband and I decided to take a mission trip as newlyweds I was so excited I could barely stand it. I signed up for the Vacation Bible School portion of the trip while my husband chose the construction team (working with kids is not his forte and digging in the mud is not mine). We had other mission opportunities together later in the week, but for the first part we went our separate ways.

After spending three years with the African Children’s Choir, I envisioned teaching an amazing Bible lesson and converting hispanic children. Okay, maybe not. But I did think I’d be able to teach. I did spend three years coming up with kid-appropriate devotion lessons for African kiddos.

Did I teach? Nope.

I was assigned to singing. I got to be the opening act. In Spanish. I learned several obnoxious children’s worship songs in Spanish. And then stood up in front of about fifty Nicaraguan children and taught it to them. Yippee.

All together now! “Yo tengo gozo, gozo, gozo, gozo, en mi corazon….”

I can still hear it in my sleep sometimes.

It wasn’t all bad, and when I just rolled my eyes and threw everything I had into it, I actually had a little fun. The kids really enjoyed it too.

I love singing, but sometimes I like to serve my God in other ways. I actually enjoy some time out of the spotlight. Serving in the shadows often feels more worshipful than being on stage.

I enjoy being in the sound booth helping with the graphics and powerpoint. (I gained a whole new respect for sound and graphic peeps after that.) I also enjoy helping in the kitchen. Cooking for a couple hundred people is a great way to worship, fellowship, and serve. I spent a few hours one afternoon elbow deep in subs, scrubbing a few hundred potatoes. I loved it.

Is there a place you like to serve or worship in the shadows?

4 Replies to “Serving in the shadows”

  1. Great post. Being behind the scenes can be way more gratifying than being in the spotlight.

    Yesterday in church, standing with the congregation in low lighting and looking toward a bright stage, I found myself thinking, “Why am I trying to sing along with a full-blown concert? Why aren’t we singing accapella in somebody’s living room, or in a back room with one guitar and self conscious voices?”

    Thanks for continuing to put words to this struggle. I think my life needs more opportunities for suds and spuds. 🙂

  2. I enjoy serving in the shadows. I like the way you put that. I think it helps out sometimes to not tell them your talents so that don’t try to slot you someplace you don’t want to be. Sometimes it means asking your love ones to not mention I am good at…..

    sometimes your reply could be… what do you do for a living..oh you are an engineer… would you design my back porch for me while I sing to you!! I am not blasting engineers because before I went to VA Tech I could not spell ingineer… now I is one.

    1. It’s a fine line. I want to serve where my gifts are but I don’t want to be “overused.”

      Would you design my back porch while I sing to you… I sincerely hope this wasn’t a real request. That would probably be awkward.

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