Growing up in a family of divorce, there was a lot of confusion and inconsistency. Religion was no exception. While my mother spoke of God, her actions didn’t inspire me to believe. When I was 10 years old, my father started taking me and my three siblings to church on Sundays. As a restless child I found a lot of it quite boring, but I always sat at attention during the hymns. I loved the singing, especially when it was a “folk mass” with guitars and clapping. From a young age, the music moved me. I sang as if I were auditioning for the Broadway production of Annie.
One day on the car ride home, my sister pleaded with me not to sing anymore. Apparently, my off-key attempts to join the choir of angels embarrassed her. The criticism was a crushing blow.
Here’s what my dad said to me that I want you to hear as well, “God doesn’t care how well you sing. He just loves that you do it. He listens. Keep singing.” So, I kept singing. My sister wasn’t wrong; I’ll never be Mariah Carey. Yet, I know I am heard. In continuing to find my voice, I am reaching something both deep within my soul and far beyond me.
It occurs to me that sometimes we let our figurative voice be silenced in the face of criticism or potential embarrassment. In truth, our self-judgement is the worst. We let our fear of not being “good enough” stop us from trying at all. We let the perfect get in the way of the good. We fear failure, even when the only way to truly fail is not to do the thing at all. So, we fulfill the promise of our fear. We prove the “not good enough” story we have about ourselves, over and over again.
Here’s the truth: You are good enough. Heck, even your smallest attempt to put yourself out there is 100% better than doing nothing. Think about that thing you’ve been “meaning to do.” Whether it’s a wonderful dream or a big stinky task, you need to start it. Yes, you may make a mistake. Find relief in knowing that there is no such thing as perfect. But guess what? You will also do things to amaze and surprise yourself. And when that happens, give yourself a pat on the back and a round of applause. Rewrite your story.
There’s also a reason that singing in church is more powerful than singing alone. The tune and lyrics don’t count as much as the energy and passion with which they are mutually shared. Surround yourself with people who support your voice. Raise the spirits of others and you’ll find yourself lifted as well. Believe in your voice and let it sing.