I was taken on a journey through Psalm 18 after writing the majority of this musing, and in the end, as I always find myself, in awe of the way God speaks to me. He used Psalm 18 to illuminate the emotions which have found their way through me over the past couple of months; illustrated here with hope that my journey may be like that of another. Someone who might find peace from what I’ve walked through and come to an understanding or at least rest in it.
I struggled to find a title for what you’ll read here but as I sat to type, it came. This happens a lot especially when I’ve resigned it to God and open my mind to what He wants to say or do. But this title “Repressed” is in past tense, not present, thanks to Him. God moves me around at his will such as a pawn on a chessboard. It’s not always easy or comfortable being so submissive…nor is it natural. Just necessary…at least I believe so.
“He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.” Psalm 18:16-20
Two times in less than a month, I have taken center stage: once as a soloist backed by a choir, then again acting in a short drama. I walked into each with differing feelings. Singing and acting on stage: both, I had tucked away somewhere deep inside my heart – in a safe place – prepared to hold them there for eternity if necessary. Both – things I had accepted, despite my passion for them – I may never be released to partake in again.
I last acted in two short films a couple of years ago. I enjoyed the experience and doing film has it merits (plus they were paid roles), but I do not prefer it, for film acting is less about the craft – the art – than being on stage…
After recommitting my life to Christ, I felt it necessary, and resigned myself to not performing any longer. The same reason I decided to do so, was basically the same reason, after dipping my toes into the world of “entertainment” years prior, I opted out: the world vs. the art. Basically, I didn’t like what I saw or what might have been expected of me, in order to make a career of it. I instead chose a different path, or at least I tried. Over time, I began to let go of the desire, performing only enough to quench the fire within.
Fast forward from 2009 to 2012: my entire life had been turned upside down, and inside out, through my relationship with Christ; one which required me to surrender myself and my old life, to God – including those things for which I was most passionate. Complete surrender!
After doing so, the Lord revealed times from the past, involving performing, where He was not present but the enemy was. This began in elementary school – hey, the competition was fierce even then! But it was no excuse for being deceptive to win a spot. As an adult, others encouraged me to use my appearance in the same manner and it sickened me! He recently took me on a tour of my life as a singer; he reminded me of the joy it brought and also where, when and how that joy transformed into fear.
Around the end of 2012 I felt safe enough in both my walk and my own skin to reemerge a bit. I found a choir with religious affiliations looking for singers and was invited to join. Upon hearing me sing, the director, immediately requested I take on a solo piece, of her choosing…Despite knowing I wasn’t really ready, topped with sensing “no thanks” was an option, I prepared for it. Was it ironic that the same thing happened to me, that had in my youth – I got sick. (Fear works itself out and the enemy can afflict you, in sneaky ways.) After all the preparation, all the fighting and pep talks with myself, the solo was cancelled. I’m pretty sure that was God pulling back the reigns.
Fast forward again to December 22, 2013: New choir, new director, same scenario. I was handed a solo and couldn’t really say no, despite my stating from the beginning that I wasn’t sure I wanted to take them on. Again, I got sick and was having constant allergy attacks which effected my voice, range and confidence I could pull it off. I kept thinking “why is God entrusting me with this?” Then I realized GOD IS ENTRUSTING ME WITH THIS!! In HIS house, in front of HIS children…so God must know something I don’t. All I knew was that it was now…or never! I would do this for the glory of my Lord!
I fought through illness, stress and a really bad rehearsal; one that left me in tears and in prayer the floor of a bathroom stall. But let me tell you what I received after that moment on the floor – strength and revelation. All those years of fear and the answer was finally clear, as to where it came from AND more importantly, how to overcome! And with my precious Lord by my side and in sight, I did overcome. The first time in front of the audience was a bit shaky (Dec. 22) but on December 24, 2013, I did something I hadn’t been able to do successfully, since probably 2000, I sang without fear. In fact, I flew away and stood on that stage lost in the sanctuary of my Lord’s love.
“I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised, so I shall be saved from mine enemies. The sorrow of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid…” Psalm 18:3-4
The following week I was asked to take a speaking role in a short drama to be performed during a Sunday service. That voice in my head started speaking, “Yikes…did I have the energy, time, blah, blah, blah?” Get behind thee, Satan…YOU are not ruining this! I stated inside myself, after realizing that this was another opportunity, another gift, from my precious Lord. My reward.
I allowed myself to get excited at the prospect. Obviously, if I was being given the opportunity to do this, then God trusted me in this area as well. We had a couple of weeks to prepare and during our first run-through, I felt something awaken inside – it was that old familiar feeling of standing on stage and being in love with what I was doing…it was foreign, yet familiar. Welcomed, yet surprising. I think I floated out of the church that afternoon, having recognized what had just occurred. Joy!
We performed the piece today…the usual pre-performance jitters, present. In the past, on opening night, I would get so nervous I’d have to take something to calm me down until I got started and in sync; however, today, when I stepped forward He was there with me again: All I knew was peace. All I heard were the right lines, spoken in the right timing, flowing from my mouth…Repression, being replaced with ignition.
The lesson taken from all of this has been God wants all of us; He wants to be our number one passion. I believe that when the old me finally died unto Him, he then knew He could trust me with my old passions, not to put them before Him, not to idolize them, not to abuse the gifts and talents He created me with; instead, using them for Him and to further the Kingdom. I feel privileged He trusts me to do it right this time, no matter how far I take it.
“For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I will run through a troop; and by my God I have leaped over a wall. As for God’s way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him…It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect…Thou has also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great…
…Thou has enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued my enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again until they were consumed…For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle…Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto they name.” (Psalm 18:28-30, 32, 35, 37, 39a, 49)