The woman grasped the microphone with wavering hands. She had long feared this day and now it was here. After performing to an empty studio with padded walls, it was quite a change to have an audience and she wasn’t sure she would find her voice cooperated.
As a child the woman had been very musical, singing to herself as she did various activities. She seemed unusual to her family, who were not particularly musical. Her grandmother had once commented that she was a ‘bit different’ and that comment did a lot to shake her confidence. She didn’t want to be seen as different; she wanted to be just like her father. He was wise and thoughtful, and she idolized him.
In school she was noticed for her singing voice and wonderful range, and was honored to sing the national anthem many times. She enjoyed performing and tried to smile at the attention it brought her. She was very shy and didn’t really want people talking to her because she didn’t know what to say. As her body grew, she began to notice that she was becoming overweight and worried she would be teased for it. She wondered what might be said about her while performing at school and became so self-conscious that she declined to sing any more.
Her negative view of herself changed her from an active child who made up songs for every occasion, to a fearful child that tried to go unnoticed. She hated when she had all the answers right on a test because the teachers would focus on her. She decided to hide her abilities in school as well, and avoided having the highest score. As her weight increased she withdrew further, alienating all of her friends. Her parents were concerned, but were unable to find a solution to the problem. It wasn’t the weight; it was the loss of her identity that concerned them most.
She took to singing in the home again just to set her parents at ease and it worked. As long as there was a song, there were no more questions, even if the songs were dark and spoke of the pain inside. It became a habit to sing in private or familiar surroundings. She remembered how much she enjoyed it, even as her eating habits became worse. By the time she was an adult she had an eating disorder and very little self-confidence, except when she worked with her father. He had taken her as his assistant and taught her well.
As her career opened up, the woman found a satisfaction similar to singing and she buried herself in her work and often stayed late. Singing helped her process things better – until someone heard her singing a tune unconsciously to herself. Unfortunately the coworker would not let it go, and insisted she must be heard by others. After weeks of denial, she finally agreed to record a song and let her coworker post it on the internet. In a landslide of events, she found herself with a recording contract and her voice was regularly heard on the radio. Following a year of success, she finally consented to perform one song at an event for a cause she believed in.
Her moment had come and she felt terrified as the lights came up. When the applause died down she opened her mouth to sing but felt nothing. She was afraid her voice had have failed her. Just as her panic increased, her voice came through strong and clear, and her heart rose with it. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all, she thought to herself, and relaxed her grip on the mic just a little.
—————Thoughts that motivated this story—————
In this story I wanted to reflect on hiding a gift
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. - KJV
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. – ASV
In Matthew 5:14-15 Jesus tells the crowd of listeners they are the light of the world and not to hide that. He didn’t make this statement to his disciples, which might have made more sense. After all, the disciples had done more and followed Him longer and perhaps ‘earned’ a little more favor with Him one would think. We rarely see Jesus handing out compliments so maybe this is not one either. It sure sounds nice though, to be told you are the light of the world.
An Old Testament prophet talked about the Redeemer who would come and how the spirit of the Lord would remain on the people. The prophet then told the people with that spirit to arise for their light is come and the Lord’s glory will be seen on them. The promise had many active words for the Lord’s part but not much on what the recipient does. Their only action is to arise up to be seen. The rest of the action is God’s alone. It is possible to pretend you are full of God’s light but what does that really do? People may try all sorts of solutions, anything that involves their action. It is only in weakness, in letting the Lord fill us, that we radiate His glory. Some of those who listened to Jesus became that people, but I believe it was not a promise for just one time or place. It is happening even now.
In this story I dealt with a sad state that I’ve been in myself. I’ve hidden the spirit within and tried to cover it or keep it to myself to seem like everyone else. Jesus did not approve of that in his statement. It is a sad truth that we want to fit in just like the woman in this story. Many Christians are given labels and called judgmental hypocrites, and that’s not something I want to be seen as either. However, I am also not my own, just like a city on a hill or a light on a stand. If the Spirit is at work, we can’t keep the light to ourselves. I can’t hide that I was bought by a Redeemer in blood. Although I may be timid at times, as a Christian I cannot and will not stifle the glory God so rightfully deserves.